Black on Black Crimes

By Chelsea Davis-Bibb, M. Ed.

“I just wish all these young Black kids would realize how significant it is to stop acting a fool out there, killing each other, not getting their education.  You know, people have died to put us in a situation to be successful.”-Charles Barkley

It is disturbing that there is so much violence in the world, especially when innocent lives are taken.  When these incidents occur, the African American community is so quick to ask for justice and begin protesting especially when the incident seems to be racially motivated.  Consider the recent violent act which sadly took the life of seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes, who was recently murdered.

Many people were under the impression that the suspect was White.  Some time later, the public was informed that he was Black.  Prior to the new information, there was much discussion about racism and how this incident occurred because it was a Black family.  

Do I think that there are some cases which are racially motivated?  Absolutely!  But my question to you is, what is the African American community doing about Black on Black crimes?

It seems as if the African American community goes to war when a White person has killed a Black person. However, it doesn’t seem as if there is much conversation, protests, or any serious concern when a Black person kills another Black person.  Why is this?

Further, how can the Black communities tackle the injustice and racial issues in the world when we can’t even address the killings occurring in our own communities?  I have always heard the saying “Take care of home first.”  I don’t think the Black communities have done that. 

 What we have done is simply point the blame at other races and not ourselves.  I am not condoning anything that has happened against the Black communities, but I am saying, it’s hard to crucify others, when there isn’t much being done about the violence in the Black communities.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, from 2012 to 2015, “Victims and offenders were of the same race or of Hispanic origin in half of violent crimes.”  In addition, “Among black victims, 63 percent of violent victimizations were committed by black offenders, 11 percent by white offenders and 7 percent by Hispanic offenders.” 

 Furthermore, during 2012-15, the rate of White-on-White violent crime (12.0 per 1, 000) was about four times higher than Black-on-White violent crime (3.1 per 1,000).  The rate of Black-on-Black crime (16.5 per 1,000) was more than five times higher than White-on-Black violent crime (2.8 per 1,000).  The rate of Hispanic-on-Hispanic crime (8.3 per 1,000) was about double the rate of White-on-Hispanic (4.1 per 1,000) and Black-on-Hispanic (4.2 per 1,000) violent crime.”

These numbers are based on BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey, which acquires data from victims who have shared their experiences.  I think about the crimes that haven’t been reported.  These numbers would probably be higher.  So, how can we reduce crime in the world and in our own communities? 

I am not sure if that will ever happen, but something has to be done in order to improve our society. For one, we can start by respecting each other and embracing cultural differences.  

We don’t take time to try and understand one another’s culture, but we do need a willingness to start. It won’t happen overnight, but not at all if we don’t start somewhere.  Let’s begin to make this a better society.

The late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best when he expressed, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”