So, yesterday (Friday, 10 Jul 2020), during my Twitch stream (Saturday ~11:00am – 2:00pm CST) and once on my Facebook feed I had people bring up the the statistic that the black on black murder rate is higher than the white on white murder rate:
l think a major problem that goes under the rug is in 2019 235 black men were killed by cops . in 3 or 4 months max 235+ blacks die due to black on black crime and that is ignoredQuote from Twitch Stream
Yeah, because pointing out the fact that African Americans make up approximately 13% of the population, yet commit over 50% of violent crimes would be a racist thing to do because they are facts.Quote from Facebook Feed
Now, typically this sort of statistic is specifically brought up to support racism as in “See this cherry picked statistic? Black people bad! So, there! I am NOT a racist!” which makes me want to slap some bitches up! However, also each time I hear people talk about that statistic I have a high level of dissonance, because it does sound bad, and I did not have any idea how to understand or to deal with that.
The Twitch incident had come first in the day and I had effectively called my new chatter that brought this up (who wasn’t at all aggressive) a racist because of bringing that statistic up. The Facebook one came in the evening after I had figured it all out.
Now, in my limited defense, when people check my channel rules or pop into my stream’s chat they do receive a a chat message like this:
This channel is radical left political channel.My Twitch Channel Chat Rules
* We are LGGBDTTTIQQAAPP+ and feminist friendly.
* If you do NOT know what the above letter soup means then check here:
* Most people will disagree with me on many things, but we can disagree and be civil.
* We will NOT tolerate racism, sexism, or other such bigotries. Such things can get you banned.
* Rage spamming will NOT be tolerated. Such things can get you banned.
I like my ban hammer use to reflect my politics – so I use it liberally.
Also, every few weeks I usually have a racist ass-hat pop in and try to show how smart and woke they are by informing us all of how they intellectualized their bigotry so that they can sleep at night. They do get banned fairly quickly for I do have a low tolerance for such things. Albeit, because of all of this I am a bit sensitive to racism and other bigotries.
After the first incident I had the rest of the day to think about and to formulate a response which had me already starting feeling bad for calling him a racist which is why I am here – to record this response for me, him, and everyone else and so that we all have a chance to understand the significance of that statistic. =(
Also, keep in mind I have done NO research for this post like I would for most posts. I just wanted to get this thought out quickly so I can get into my stream today to apologize and to have this conversation.
To really have the background needed to understand what I am about to explain you will want to read the first two books of The 4 Books You NEED To Read from my policy site:
- The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger
- The Inner Level: How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone’s Well-Being
These two powerful books thoroughly explain the harms and predictability of inequality, and why it happens. Please, please take the time to read these. These will radically change and increase your understanding of the problems we have, why we have them, and how to fix them.
How to Understand that Statistic
I am going to try to keep this short and I am not going to go into great detail here because I do not have the time and have NOT done the research. I just wanted to make this a quick post to make the point for my benefit and everyone else’s and then move on, so, if you want hard data and a more thorough explanation, then you will have to do the research yourselves. Perhaps, in the future I will have more time to do the research and write up a full post on this.
Systemic and Structural Racism
The first thing you need to understand is that the entirety of the history of the United States is built up systemic and structural racism. It is apart of every single facet of the United States from its culture to its laws. I know most Americans are NOT going to like to hear this, but this is fundamentally true as I will try to show below.
Even prior the United States being a thing, the then British colonies in the New World had at least 100 years of slavery already under their belt as well as all of the laws, policies, and religious and social customs to support, promote, and reward this horrific practice. The colonists were already culturally desensitized to it because it was a fact of life in the colonies – slaves were were seen as less than human – barely animals, were bought and sold in full public eye in the markets. This slavery as a fact of life is what set the social, cultural, legal, and religious stage for the new country that will become the United States.
Let us also keep in mind that much of the industry, farming, and much of the construction that built the New World, especially in the South, was done on the bloodied and scarred backs of slaves. Quite a few of our Founding Fathers had slaves such as the revered George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. THE Jefferson who penned those famous words from the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.-United States’ Declaration of Independence
This was written in the time where this did NOT include people of color such as African slaves and the First Peoples either (because they were NOT seen as Human). It also basically ignored women (misogyny) and those men who were not land owners (classism).
After the American Revolution, and during the formation of the US Constitution and the first 10 Amendments slavery was a huge issue, which included such policy items as:
- the Electoral College
- the 3/5ths compromise
- the Second Amendment
Let us also not forget that during the formation of the British colonies in the New World and the evolution of what was to be the United States the colonist very purposefully engaged in genocide against the First Peoples. This is a bloody stain that we still see today in many, many ways. The dehumanization, exploitation, and genocide of peoples of color was as American a past time then as it is today.
As time goes on we had the following historical items based on the systemic and structural racism in the US:
- political, social, cultural, and media support for racism
- slave patrols (militias) which then formed the beginnings of the police as we know it today
- The Underground Railroad
- The Civil War
- The Civil Rights Movement
- police brutality
- Brown vs Board of Education
- The murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- Jim Crow Laws
- Riots all throughout the Long Hot Summer of 1967
- Riots of Tulsa
- Riots of Rosewood
- Race Riots All throughout history
- white supremacy and neo-nazis movement infecting our law enforcement and political structures
- The cold-blooded murder of George Floyd by 4 police officers here in 2020, as well as all of the murders of other people of color that preceded it.
There are sooo many more examples of this all throughout our horrific racist history in America, but this is all that I can quickly list off the top of my head.
But wait! There’s more! =(
Now, as deplorable as all of that is, there is still so much more that is going on within our contemporary history and laws all of which are a direct result of our barbarous and inhumane history of abusing, exploiting, and actively casting people of color down making every day a struggle just to walk or drive without being murdered, or just trying to get out of the poverty which our systemic and structural racism has cast them down into.
Please listen to this powerful and raw 6 minute speech titled “How can we win?” by activist and author Kimberly Jones. My link has a transcript of the speech or you can listen to it below:
Harms of Inequality
The Poverty of Racism
OK, so I covered a quick history lesson on how horrible and racist our country is which will set the stage for this section – the Poverty of Racism.
In addition to the systemic and structural racism that is a visceral part of our country, society, and laws which inflicts social and psychological harms upon people of color in their everyday lives, people of color also have do deal with being cast down into poverty which is very, very hard to get out of. Because of this they also have to struggle against inferior access to:
- upward mobility
- and so much more
We must also understand that poverty is an intergenerational disease too, which means if you are born into poverty that you will most likely not be able to escape it, which condemns most people of color to a miserable existence, and this is a direct result of our social and political actions to sure that this is a thing. In other words racism creates and exacerbates the already great harms of inequality which is very, very difficult to transcend.
More importantly, people of color are disproportionately cast into poverty as compared to European Americans (white people). This fact here is what really matters.
I have a huge post with links and notes about poverty if you want to learn about the harms of poverty.
Inequality’s Power of Predictability
Remember, the two books above that I said you should read? This is where they come in. We have established that the US is systemically and structural racist and, because of that, people of color are disproportionately cast into poverty and suffer greatly from it. This will be the baseline to remember in order to frame the ideas for this section.
In a nut shell this is what those 2 required reading books talk about:
If we know a given a country, state, county, or city’s level of income inequality, then it can be used as a fairly accurate predictor for many, many things from:
- teenage pregnancy
- rates of incarceration
- depression and suicides rates
- average lifespans
- social trust
- and so much, much more.
Now, an important part of this discussion is how inequality relates to the bad things which is can be simply stated:
- The lower inequality is, then the better life is for everyone – lower crime and depression rates, etc.
- Conversely, the higher the level of inequality then the worse things are for everyone.
And, by virtue, this all creates predictable results that are easy to follow.
Now, lets slap that concept over the United States which has the highest level of inequality in the developed world! Yea! We are number one!! =( Prior to CoVID19, overall we had something like a 14% poverty rate and a 22% childhood poverty rate. For black people, being a racial minority in the United States and suffering powerfully from systemic and structural racism, this means that their poverty rate and other numbers are going to be higher, so they are disproportionately suffering. And now we know that with increased inequality and suffering this means that rates of crime and incarceration, as well as teenage pregnancy rates go up; and literacy and life span numbers go down, and so on for people of color in the United States.
What the Black on Black Murder Rate Really Means
I know am speeding through this, but I hope you were able to to keep up with the chain of logic I am following here. I will try to summarize it below and then explain how all of this ties together so we can have a better understanding of what that statistic really represents.
- Racism is a systemic and structural part of the very core identity of the United States.
- Racism casts black people (and all people of color to an extent) down into poverty which can be very difficult to escape from.
- Black people are disproportionately cast down into poverty as compared to European Americans.
- Therefore, this results in higher levels of poverty and other stresses within those demographics as well as all the horrors that go with it such as higher rates of crime, depression, suicide, and incarceration, etc.
The The Kerner Commission Report (Feb 1968) talks about these facts statistics too.
Is the black on black murder rate higher than it is for white on white crime? Honestly, I have no idea because I have not done the research, but let’s assume that it is. If so, then that means that this statistic is merely a reflection of the socioeconomic disparities between the two demographics (white vs black). Higher levels of stress and poverty in an already highly unequal society, especially with racism exacerbating everything, means higher murder rates. Or, in other words, that statistic is a direct reflection of how the US socially, economically, and politically has completely and totally failed people of color through being a systemically and structurally racist country. It is a direct reflection of the levels of inequality inflicted upon them.
We created this higher murder rate by ensuring that people of color have a more difficult life through systemic racism and being cast into poverty. Poverty is a political choice that politicians choose to allow and to inflict for fun and profit. This can be ended or greatly limited. There is NO reason we cannot. We, as a society, just have to stop being a bunch of racist assholes and we have to stop electing racist assholes into office too. This is something for both parties to listen to, because both are horrifically guilty of racist policies.