As I write this I assume all of you have been present and updated on the current tensions between the African American Community and our local law enforcement authorities. Basically, unless you have been living under a rock you have seen or heard about the battle for justice within black communities; which has been a basic plead to respect the right for us to live in a country where officials wont feel so threatened by the color of our skin that they immediately reach for a weapon in defense. This conversation, this prayer, this plea has been answered with the irrelevant statement that “ black on black crime is more prevalent in African American communities than police homicide” which is an untrue biased and skewed statistics that holds no reasonable value in the scope of this conversation.
Aaron Bandler, writer for the Daily Wire reported a few statistics for us in July. He writes “ Data shows that 93 percent of black homicide victims are killed by other blacks” … he also offers the rebuttal that “84% of white homicide victims are killed by other whites” (Bandler,2016). Now when these statistics were raised I have to ask myself were all the variables considered. One in particular being the fact that African American’s historically are fearful of a government that have been oppressive and feel uncomfortable seeking justice through the United States judicial system. This is because African Americans are constantly targeted for mundane law infractions, we are subject to a police force whom will conduct a traffic stop under the ruse of a “ broken tail light” and then proceed to murder you in front of your wife and daughter. This is what happened to Philando Castille of Minnesota on July 6th, as he sat passenger in the vehicle with his family and was fully cooperating within the strictures of the law. I cite this event to say if local law enforcements were actually using their power of authority to “protect and serve” individuals of African American national would not answer their natural instinct to provide justice for themselves, or as Connor Friedersdorf states in the Atlantic “Wouldn’t better behaved, more accountable, less abusive police departments make people in poor black communities marginally more inclined to involve law enforcement in disputes before they turn deadly, to cooperate more during homicide investigations, and to collaborate with the cops in making their blocks safer?” To that my response is: Yes, Connor I believe so.
Further more African Americans have made efforts to decrease the amount of black on black crime within african american communities.Over the course of several decades individuals and institutions within African American communities have provided safe havens for young teens to channel their energy into activities that could have a more positive impact on their lives and the individuals around them. I am referencing the efforts made by local churches , the boy and girls club of america, the efforts made by the black panther party calling for unity and community, and efforts made by the NAACP in order to provide other options and avenues for african americans, not to mention the ongoing efforts made by collective communities on a local level. So in short citing an issue such as black on black crime and offering it as a rebuttal against our insistence for justice from local authorities is negating the issue. African Americans are not unaware of black on black crime and have and will continue to work diligently to reduce its prevalence in our communities, however this is an all together separate issue than police brutalization. “Agents of the state who abuse that awesome responsibility constitute a real threat to democratic values. There’s a great deal more at stake here than the personal safety of an individual. This is about an abuse of power. And the lack of accountability for agents of the state who abuse power in this way creates a circumstance in which people are basically terrorized. They may fear victimization by their neighbor, and the fear may be quite real. That’s one thing. But victimization by the people whose salaries you pay with your tax money and who are supposedly there to serve and protect you, agents of the state, the fear of victimization by them is quite another thing altogether.” (John McWhorter, a linguistics scholar at Columbia University.).
Lastly, the statistic claiming that only “12% of white… homicide deaths were due to police officers, while only 4% of black homicide deaths were the result of police officers.” (McDonald,) is a completely skewed number. I assert this claim because of the specific use of the word ‘homicide’, many of the deaths that African Americans have protested and debated have not even been classified as a “homicide”, which is defined as the “deliberate and unlawful killing of one person by another; murder.”. Because many of these killings of one person by another, aka murder has been defended by grand jurys , law enforcement officials, and judges alike we have had them reduced to manslaughter, self defense, and a slew of other euphemisms that allow the guilty party walk away freely because they happened to be touting a brass badge. So to cite this statistic as a defense of the horrors and traumatizations black people are experiencing is only a further insult to an already injured person.
All in all , the humane and morale response to police brutality should be and only be a change in the policy and procedures for the police department. If you truly seek to change the relationship between African Americans and the police we must look solely at the relationship that they share rather than muddy the waters with irrelevant and redundant arguments such as black on black crime which offers no solution to the topic of police brutality. .