With an uptick in protests and the Black Lives Matter movement this summer, some continue to ask the question, “What about Black-on-Black crime? Why is that not being protested instead?”
The idea that “Black-on-Black crime” is not being addressed is a myth. Furthermore, the idea that Black communities kill each other more than any other racial group is false. The Black-on-Black crime myth is another tool used to push the agenda of white supremacism on the American people.
For years, the Black community has fought to end violence at the hands of law enforcement, but also in our own neighborhoods. The Black community does this through many methods, including movies, songs, community protests, and mediations between neighborhoods.
Using the phrase Black-on-Black crime reduces Black people to criminals, making it seem that they are more likely than a white person to commit a crime. On the other side of things, white people are mainly killed by white people. Have you ever heard the phrase “white-on-white crime?”
People are also more likely to commit a crime based on their level of poverty than their race. Because of systemic racism in America, poverty is twice as high among Black Americans than white Americans. This predisposition puts Black Americans in neighborhoods where crime is higher, which many people do not account for when looking at crime rates.
The phrase Black-on-Black crime also prevents us from focusing on what’s important to Black Americans right now — police brutality. A Black American is two and a half times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than a white person. This is horrendous and needs to be put to a stop. How many more Tamir Rices? Philando Castiles? Breonna Taylors? Why don’t their lives matter?
It’s time to push back on the myth of Black-on-Black crime. It is nothing more than a racist dog whistle spread in order to cover up police brutality and push the white supremacist agenda.
Rather than more policing and more prisons, it is imperative that we focus on the root causes of the disproportionate crime rates towards Black people. As Angela Davis once said, the prison system simply “relieves us of the responsibility of seriously engaging with the problems of our society, especially those produced by racism.” The way we address so-called “Black-on-Black crime” is by dismantling the racist systems that subject Black Americans to violence.
Neighborhood FORWARD believes it is beyond time to make real and lasting change to our policing systems and address the factors that put Black Americans in harm’s way. Are you with us?