FACTS MATTER !
The Black Lives Matter movement (BLM), as propagated by many Black leaders but also by such mainstream publications as the New York Times, is grossly misleading. For each case that BLM protests there are, as I shall show, 1127 cases that it will have us ignore.
BLM protests the death of 25 black people between June 16, 2010 and July 15, 2015, or about five per year. The cases all involve fatalities of black individuals, mostly at the hands of white police officers. In at least one case, that of Eric Garner on Staten Island on July 17, 2014, some of the police officers were black. More to the point, several hundred black and white people die every year during interaction with the police, a fact not mentioned by the BLM movement.
The 25 cases urged upon us by BLM all involve some ambiguity concerning culpability of officers and victims. I do not doubt that in many of these cases there was substantial negligence and perhaps racial bias on the part of the police. But in no instance is there a convincing case for premeditated murder.
On the other hand, there is no doubt whatever that black people are much more frequently the victims of murder than white people. In 2013, 6261 black people were murdered in the US, compared to 5537 white people. These raw figures are more bleak than they appear when you consider that only 13% of the total population is black and 78% white. In other words, the white victimization rate for murder is 22.5 per million, that of the black population is 149 per million. Black people are almost seven times more often victims, proportionately, than white people. But BLM, wholly preoccupied with 25 cases in five years, does not seem to concern itself, at all, with the over 6000 black people killed annually. (All my figures are derived from the FBI’s Crime in the United States.)
But while black people are much more frequently the victims of homicide, they are also much more often perpetrators. In 2013, again, we had 4396 white murderers, or 17.9 per million of the white population, compared to 5375 black murderers, or a rate of 128 per million of the black population. The black/white murder ratio, viz. 7.15, has been stable for many decades.
When it comes to the question of which race kills which, our data are restricted to cases in which there was but a single victim and a single offender. In these cases there were 3005 white victims, whose killers were white 83% of the time and black 14%. These data also show 2491 black victims of these one-on-one crimes, with white offenders accounting for 7.5% and black offenders for 90%. So, if the one-on-one incidents are typical of homicide, we can conclude that fully 90% of black victims are victims of black-on-black crime. In other words, there would seem to be, roughly, 5600 black-on-black victims, annually. That is a figure one thousand one hundred and twenty-seven times higher than that of the five cases, annually, that BLM has us grieve.
Do facts matter ? No, apparently not to Black Lives Matter.
In a future blog I will discuss two recent books on the BLM topic, “Between The World and Me,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and “The Cultural Matrix,” by Orlando Patterson, et al.