January 5, 2005

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There is a strange confluence of conclusions among supposedly opposed political forces, on the subject of Black-on-Black crime. Why is it that most crimes committed by Blacks are committed against other Blacks? You will hear that question asked at gatherings of the most racist white reactionaries, and at great and grand convocations of African Americans of all political persuasions. In a perverse convergence of nonsensicality, very similar conclusions are usually drawn: Black culture, it is said, has somehow been fatally undermined, and that is the root of such high levels of Black-on-Black crime.

White racists actually believe that Blacks are simply prone to criminality, and must be held in check through rigorous surveillance and the iron hand of a vast incarceration system. However, they rarely voice these base opinions so baldly, but instead blame welfare dependency and chinks in the armor of the criminal justice system as the culprit. These reactionaries are not really upset by the gruesome statistics of Black-on-Black crime, but rather, they celebrate them, as proof of white superiority.

Blacks tend to moan and groan about ignorance and - above all - racial self-hatred, as the root cause of fratricide among African Americans. Blacks hate their condition and hate each other for being in it, the theory goes, and therefore lash out, brother against brother, and brother against sister, and so on.

It's all nonsense. Black people don't hate themselves, or each other. We are all we've got, and in highly segregated communities, all we know. If African Americans committed crimes based on hate, we know who the victims would be: white people. But there is a great price to be paid for crimes against whites in this society. All the statistics show that the risks are extremely high, especially for acts of violence by Blacks against whites. For the career or novice Black criminal, the choices are clear: confine your crimes to your own community, and you will stand a chance of beating the system. Go outside, and the full weight of the state will come down on your head.

American society devalues Black life, and every Black child knows it. Criminals operate within the parameters of the society in which they live, just like everybody else. They weigh their chances as they roll the dice. Every African American citizen in the nation understands that the dice are loaded mightily against them if they are convicted of a crime against a white person. It is only logical that the criminal-minded would choose Black targets of opportunity. After all, that's what white criminals did during Jim Crow. They were confident of impunity, when committing outrages against Black men and women. Why should Black criminals act any differently?

Black-on-Black crime is a product of white racism, which sees African Americans as less than full human beings. The Black criminal takes advantage of that fact. From his point of view, it is quite a logical choice. For Radio BC, I'm Glen Ford.

You can visit the Radio BC page to listen to any of our audio commentaries voiced by BC Co-Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Glen Ford. We publish the text of the radio commentary each week along with the audio program.


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