Black on Black Violence Continues to Be Ignored

Black on Black Violence Continues to Be Ignored


By Larry Miller for the Philadelphia Tribune

The acquittal of George Zimmerman incited a growing number of protests across the nation as legions of angry people raised their collective voice in a cry of “Justice for Trayvon.”

But while the demonstrations are justified and have been mostly peaceful, some community leaders and social experts are concerned that the emotional response to Zimmerman’s acquittal is overshadowing a problem as deep, if not deeper than the perceived racial hatred that murdered Trayvon Martin.

That problem is the never ending violence that young Black males inflict against each other virtually every day across America. From coast to coast, in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Detroit and Chicago, Black America is murdering itself over drug turf, bruised egos, minor altercations and petty insults.

Over the July 4 weekend in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods, 72 people were shot, 12 of them fatally. In Philadelphia from July 12 to July 15, 10 people were murdered and in almost all cases, in both cities, the victims were Black and Hispanic males, many of them between the ages of 17 and 34.

It’s an ongoing urban war of senseless violence that plays itself out in every major city in America and one that, experts agree, outdistances even the racial violence the Ku Klux Klan committed against Black Americans at its height.

But the answer to the question of where is the outrage over Black on Black violence may be as simple as the fact that the national media is ignoring it.

“I think we really have to understand exactly what it is we’re talking about here,” said Chad Dion Lassiter, president and co-founder of Black Men at Penn. “I think that there has been a lot of outrage over the senseless violence, otherwise you wouldn’t have groups like the Father’s Day Rally Committee or Men United for a Better Philadelphia, or Mothers in Charge or Black Men at Penn, or any number of anti-violence organizations. The media just prefers not to touch it. The demonstrations over the Zimmerman verdict are sexy and have all the trappings of a good story. There’s a lot of emotion there and the media elites promote the narrative. People are outraged, it’s just not being covered — certainly not on the national level.”

The statistics of the high homicide rates in Black communities are well-publicized and it’s well known that Black males, specifically young Black males, are at a high risk of dying by gun violence. According to two reports produced by the Violence Policy Center, in 2009 and 2010 Pennsylvania was third and second in the nation respectively in the number of African Americans murdered.

In 2009, 388 Blacks were murdered in Pennsylvania — 302 of them in Philadelphia. In 2010, 419 Blacks were murdered in Pennsylvania — 306 in Philadelphia.

“When it comes to Black and Latino males gunning each other down, I can tell you that both Republicans and Democrats are mostly silent on the issue,” said Bilal Qayyum, executive director of the Father’s Day Rally Committee. “When it comes down to it, it is an American problem, not a Black American problem. I’d bet that if you took a national poll and asked the average American what were their two biggest concerns, the first would be jobs and the second would be crime.”

A statistical analysis by the Philadelphia Police Department for the years 2007 to 2010 showed that the majority of murder victims in 2010 were African Americans at 79.1 percent while white victims were just 19.6 percent. The report goes on to state that African American represent the overwhelming majority of the 1,332 murder victims in Philadelphia during the four years analyzed. African American males constituted the majority of the murder victims — 945 or 70.9 percent for the four years analyzed and 743 or 55.8 percent were between the ages of 18 to 34.

The self-inflicted genocide taking place in the African-American communities didn’t happen overnight, social experts say, and many of the factors contributing to it weren’t spawned in the Black community. Systemic racism, government apathy, the poor quality of education in many predominantly Black public schools and the loss of living wage jobs have all played a part in creating the ongoing bloodshed.

“I’m not surprised there’s no real discussion on the issue of Black and Latino males murdering each other, because we’re talking about a segment of the population that’s not part of the landscape,” Lassiter said. “These young men are seen as a permanent underclass, as sub-human and ostracized from society. To raise these issues means you have to talk about institutional racism and the white supremacy that spawned it, the high incarceration and drop-out rates. When it comes to this kind of violence there isn’t a real effort on the part of the power elite to address it. Poverty is a ‘no-no’ and Black male violence is a ‘no-no.’ I want to have the conversation about Black on Black violence, but we can’t have it without also addressing the white supremacy that created the conditions that cause it. It’s set up for you to hate yourself and to kill yourself.”

Author Elijah Anderson, the William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Sociology at Yale University, draws a finer distinction in terms of what drives the violence in Black communities and also the subconscious perceptions that led to Trayvon Martin’s death.

In his latest book, “The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life,” Anderson talks about what he terms as the “iconic ghetto” and the media perception that Trayvon Martin is the new Emmett Till. Anderson said that the virulent ideology of white racial superiority was the cause behind the murder of Emmett Till. A different kind of racism was the perception that ultimately led to Trayvon Martin’s murder.

Both perceptions, he said, are born of America’s painful legacy of slavery and segregation and reflects the urban iconography of today’s racial inequality, namely the Black ghetto, a uniquely urban American creation.

Anderson said that the physical Black ghetto and its iconography is what whites and others often associate Black individuals with; burdening them with a deficit of credibility that on occasion manifests in acts of acute disrespect reminiscent of America’s racial past.

“The demonstrations are, of course, the product of decades of tremendous frustration and anger and certainly the death of Trayvon Martin is a water-shed moment. But I think a lot of people are missing the point,” Anderson said. “The Black ghetto has become a major icon in American society and culture, and as such, it serves as an important source of stereotype, prejudice, and discrimination. Because of this, Blacks operate under a deficit of credibility. The media is also caught up in this Black deficit of credibility. For example, let’s say a young white woman is being followed by an unknown Black man. There’s a confrontation and she’s getting the better of him and he pulls out a gun and shoots and kills her. No matter what he says or the witness saw, you can be certain he’s going to prison no matter the justification. George Zimmerman had what I call a ‘n——- moment’ a moment of acute disrespect. He saw a young Black man, wearing a hoodie who, in his perception, didn’t belong in his community. Trayvon was under the deficit of credibility. White racism killed Emmett Till, whereas the iconic ghetto killed Trayvon.”


  1. Blacks murder each other at horrific rates and it’s Whitey’s fault?

    Personal responsibility solves the entire issue. But it’s always easy in life to point a finger. Unbelievable.

    I don’t know a single successful person of any race or sex who spent their life blaming someone one else for any bump along the road. Some have overcome tremendous odds … but all have the same thing in common. They kept going, even when a mountain was placed in front of them.

    If Black leaders continue to blame, continue to practice the soft racsim of lowered expectations? You’ll be talking about this problem 100 years from now.

    • Every single black person I know personally is embarrassed for the black people who scream racism and blame white people for their problems. The difference between them is that the former are living respectful lives while the latter refuse to. In addition, my black friends don’t want their kids being around other black kids who are being raised in a thug culture. Why do you think they embrace our white family and want their kids to hang out with my kids? Because my kid isn’t “street.” One mom told me that she deliberately moved away from an environment that was predominantly black because she was terrified her son was going to follow in the footsteps of so many urban youth. Now, her kids closest friends are white and he hasn’t been in trouble with the police; his grades have improved in school; he is HAPPY; and, he is unafraid. Her son and my son have great futures ahead of them because we are both mothers who have taken responsibility for our kids futures. Now, had she continued to allow her son to continue associating with people who hate white people and blame them for all of life’s ills, he would most likely be looking at a much graver future.

  2. I’m impressed, finally your admitting there is a black problem. However trying to say its Repub, demos, or whatever is still leading me to think your trying to lat blam elsewhere…?

    • Any Black person that stands up, and openly proclaims that Black people aren’t the source, and continue to be the source of violence in their own communities are simply either “stuck on stupid”, or as usual stuck in complete, and utter DENIAL! It’s so easy to get all upset when unfortunately a black gets killed by white police. But, pray tell where are those very same black people when yet another black is killed…at the hands of yet another Black? That mindset is clear that Black people can’t, and don’t themselves consider their own people’s lives as important…or as they say “black lives do matter”! When? Only when a black is killed by a white policeman? As, a black man I tell you I just can’t tell you how sickening this pathetic behavior iis all about in the Black community! Just, look at the national stats, and it’s “clear as mud” as to who’s really the problem! Black people are! And, why aren’t these so-called fake Black leaders even addressing it? All, the y do is march, and make their ususal empty speeches. But, Black people continue to only follow just as if they are sheep going to the slaughter!

  3. Quote: “For example, let’s say a young white woman is being followed by an unknown Black man. There’s a confrontation and she’s getting the better of him and he pulls out a gun and shoots and kills her. No matter what he says or the witness saw, you can be certain he’s going to prison no matter the justification.”
    Wait, let me get this right….A white woman is being followed by an unknown black man, and there’s a confrontation. Why is he following her?! Why is there a confrontation? No matter how you try and spin this ridiculous scenario, if ANY woman is being followed by ANY man and a confrontation ensues, the chances of her “getting the better of him” are next to zero. Besides, what you are describing is a woman being stalked fighting for her life., and then being shot by her attacker for resisting. And we are supposed to wonder who’s fault it is that she got shot?! Are you out of your mind? To even suggest her killer was justified in killing her is disgusting and wholly disingenuous.
    Black men: Be careful out there. Remember, if you stalk then shoot a white woman you are going to prison. I know, I know, you chose the wrong woman to attack and she MADE you kill her, but the racist criminal justice system won’t see it that way. No, those racist people will blame YOU. So unfair!
    Seriously, you wouldn’t even suggest justification for him killing her if their races were reversed. What is wrong with you?

  4. Hey Mary cut the white female hysterical phobic rant we all know that the man would most likely get the better you missed the point calm down are you kidding me! calm down you can not be ——– fill in what you wan;t ,it could be anyone man woman couple of men boys all white of course. Get it got it good for you and your other friends who will never understand……..because———- —– ——–, fill in the blanks

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