In America Only “White on Black” Violence Resonates One Black teenager was killed by a White policeman in Ferguson, Mo. In Chicago hundreds of Blacks are victims of "Black on Black" violence

WASHINGTON – In Ferguson, Missouri, a White policeman, (part of a mostly White police force in a mostly Black town), killed Michael Brown, un unarmed Black 18-year-old who (allegedly) had his arms up in the air, in a clear gesture of surrender.

White policeman killed young Black

According to eye witnesses and local Black leaders, Michael Brown did not represent any threat, but he was killed anyway. And so, (even though the facts related to this case have yet to be established by an ongoing investigation), we have a national media circus examining again the old issues of racism, discrimination, bias, profiling, and more. This is what a single instance of allegedly racially motivated police violence has generated.

500 killings in Chicago

But now, look at this. In 2012 Chicago had more than 500 people murdered. In 2013 things improved, sort of. Chicago registered “only” 415 killings, 88 fewer than in 2013 and 20 fewer than in 2012, as the Huffington Post reported.

These are staggering figures.

We all know that most of these murders are “Black on Black” killings. A lot of them occur in the course of battles among rival street gangs.

But none of this makes national news and/or spirited debates among experts about how to end this madness. True, occasionally we hear some cries of despair and demands that the authorities will “do something” to stop this carnage.

No outcry

But, there is no “campaign”, no sustained media focus on this perennial violence. May be this is because when you start looking into the dominant culture of violence and its components you find a toxic mixture of alienation, ignorance, poverty and illiteracy, all of them laced with the drugs trade and guns. Looking at this massive socio-economic problem, affecting so many people, you really feel hopeless. Therefore, most people prefer to look the other way. After all, the White elites do not live in Black neighborhoods. Their children are not targeted. “Not my problem”, they cynically conclude.

Black leaders mostly silent

And what about Black leaders? Do you hear any meaningful advice, let alone condemnation of all this seemingly endless Black on Black violence? Anything about improving the conditions in which children are raised, (70% of them born out-of-wedlock)? Anything about improving schools? Anything about offering viable alternatives to gangs, drugs and violence?

Not the official narrative

Well, not much. In large part this is an implicit admission of impotence. And in part this is because the sad spectacle of young Blacks killings other Blacks, all of them involved in criminal activities, does not fit the “official”, if stale and now mostly untrue, narrative of Blacks as perennial victims of White racism. And therefore, believe it or not, these massive killings are mostly ignored.

However, when we have just one single case that looks like “White on Black” gratuitous violence, like the recent killing by a police officer in Ferguson, we see how the  whole enterprise led by aged and shop-worn civil rights leaders is once again mobilized. And this is exactly what happened when a White policeman killed Michael Brown.

America is still a racist country 

The sad episode, (the actual facts, by the way, are still under investigation and have not been established), is cited as just one more piece of conclusive evidence that confirms what we all should know: “Blacks are the perennial victims of White viciousness”. “Once again a White police officer killed, apparently for no reason whatsoever, an innocent teenager, guilty only of “being Black”.

Leaving aside that peaceful demonstrations about this killing easily turned into riots, with destruction of property and looting of stores, America is reminded once more that at its core it is still fundamentally a racist society.

Is this is the truth? Well, there is no doubt that there is still racist bias in America. There is no doubt that perfectly honest, law-abiding Black people are often targets of unjustified racial profiling and/or other forms of discrimination, illegal as they may be. All this is true. And it should not be tolerated.

Racism does not explain large-scale Black marginalization

However, White racism cannot explain the hundreds of Black on Black killings that occur in Chicago and in other American cities. And racial bias alone certainly cannot explain the disproportionate numbers of young Blacks in jail. And it is not as a result of a White conspiracy that most Black teenagers have no fathers, while they do very poorly in school, with a very high drop out rate.

But, while we can spend days looking at the killing of one Black teen-ager, we do not have the courage to look into why so many (in some communities most) Blacks are now part of a perpetually poor, alienated and marginalized under class.

, , , ,
One comment to “In America Only “White on Black” Violence Resonates One Black teenager was killed by a White policeman in Ferguson, Mo. In Chicago hundreds of Blacks are victims of "Black on Black" violence
  1. Paolo, I read your commentary every day and, whilst I live in Australia, much of what happens in the US has ramifications both here and worldwide.

    This story however is sad, and we should all mourn not just this young boy.

    But……I really have a strong feeling that Obama’s response is more than just compassion. After all, he is a Politician, albeit not a good one in my view, and most actions of a politician ultimately have an ulterior motive.

    After all, there is a mid-term election on the horizon.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *