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The End Of Black on Black Crime

The reign of Black-On-Black crime is over, but first an update:


It seems that George Zimmerman's lawyers have quit because they cannot contact their client. Simultaneously, Zimmerman has set up a website requesting contributions  for his legal defense. Zimmerman defied his lawyer's advice and personally called the Special Attorney. The ex-lawyers believed that Zimmerman spoke to Sean Hannity of Fox News. Hannity confirmed the conversation with Zimmerman on his radio show. Hannity, at least, for now, refuses to state what he was told by Zimmerman. Reuters is reporting that the State's Attorney is holding a press conference within 72 hours.

Wonder who gets the money from the website? Wonder if the money will used to support a lifestyle in exile?

Now to the discussion at hand

Zimmerman's defenders have used the diversion of black-on-black crime in an attempt to stem criticism of the admitted murderer. The question goes up how can blacks focus on Zimmerman when Trayvon Martins are killed across the county everyday by blacks. Black on Black crime negates any murder of a black youth by anyone from another ethnic group.

The bogeyman of black on black crime as been used as a meme for so long that it has become as accepted a gravity. In an excellent article on "The Root" website, Edward Wyckoff Williams, lays the lie to the meme black as predators against other blacks.

Bill O'Reilley used an op-ed written in the NYT by Shelby Steele, an African-American Conservative as reinforcement of the fact the black on black crime is where the focus should be rather than on Trayvon Martin. Tucker Carlson said that Blacks who questioned why an arrest had not been made were "race-baiters". George Will echoed the same sentiment on ABC's "This Week". Van Jones was on the panel, but offered no rebuttal. Like the rest of us the ability of Jones to counter an accepted truth like black-on-black crime is difficult.

According to the DOJ, 93% of Black homicides were committed by Blacks. 84% of White homicides were committed by Whites. Most homicides are intra-racial homicides. We should call Black-on-Black homicide a homicide, just as we do will Whites. The Guardian in the UK has established a rule that Black-on-Black homicides are called "homicides". The rationale being that the racial labeling demonizes Blacks despite the fact that Whites also kill Whites at high percentages. Homicides are homicides. Males kill other males for the most part. Instead of focusing on race, focus on educational deficits and socioeconomic issues. The race label does more harm then good.

Black-on-Black allows blacks to be considered as threats. Rather than focusing on the loss of manufacturing jobs as a source of poverty leading to crime, we just focus on black-on-black. Instead of focusing on high drop-out rates.we focus on black on black.

Black-on-black makes law-abiding blacks threats to police departments and allows them to be treated as second class citizens by law enforcement. It is time to bury the term.

(Edited to add a link to the Williams article at "The Root")



Zimmerman's jumped the shark - my guess is he's listening to some right-wing media manipulators - the flag on his page is a tipoff.

Nevertheless, if you're going to start putting percentages up, there are some important ones you neglect in the effort at relativism - while most homicide is intra-racial, the black per capita rate is 7 times higher for both intra- and inter-racial homicide. (With African-American population only 12.5%, a 1-to-1 comparison of raw numbers is misleading)

*According to the latest report from the Violence Policy Center, the homicide rate for Blacks in America stands at 20.86 persons per 100,000 – nearly seven times the rate for whites which stands at 3.11 per 100,000 persons.

The numbers are based on an analysis of unpublished FBI data from 2007 – the latest year for which complete figures are available.

This marks the fourth year that the Violence Policy Center, has issued the study Black Homicide Victimization in the United States.

It shows that the most dangerous state for African Americans is Pennsylvania with a murder rate of 36.36 per 100,000 Blacks. The keystone state is followed by Missouri (34.82), Indiana (30.89) and Nevada and Wisconsin tied with a homicide rate of 29.83 per 100,000.

As indicated by other studies, Blacks are most likely to be killed by other Blacks. Indeed, 72 percent of Black homicide victims were killed by someone they knew. The weapon of choice is a gun.

Specifically, 82 percent of the Blacks killed in 2007 fell victim to a gun – usually a handgun.

None of this excuses Zimmerman if he acted stupidly with a gun or put himself in a situation likely to escalate.

And there's a big difference between East St. Louis and Compton, vs. a cozy Orlando community for threat of gun and gang violence.

But glossing over the high black murder rate and ignoring the high rate of black concealed gun carry to focus on one white (Hispanic) does miss forest for trees.

Expecting Van Jones to counter an obvious fact of black-on-blac murder is an expectation too far.

Poverty leads to a higher murder rate. The Black-On-Black label makes it easier for police to ignore a crime. The supposed focus is non-existent. The label makes all Blacks criminals. The police Commissioner in NYC credits stop and frisk of Black and Hispanic youths as deterring crime. The crime rate in NYC has decreased, but so has the murder rate in  cities without stop and frisk. The label has created even more animosity between Black and Latino youth and police in NYC it is a worthless term.

Black-on Black crime labeling has done nothing to address a high dropout rate that leads to crime. Black-on-Black has done nothing to address loss of job opportunities in poor neighborhoods. Black-on-black makes a Black person driving a nice car a suspect. 

Call it poverty on poverty crime. Call it drug deals gone bad. Get rid of the racist term. Black-on-black slanders law-abiding Blacks.

Bangladesh, Nigeria and Bulgaria are poorer, with less murder, even with Nigeria being a world drug smuggling center.

Black-on-black murder in Tanzania is even much lower than the US (total murder rate just higher than ours)

Need a new excuse.


Wow. I'm not certain how accurate crime reporting would be in those countries. How about focusing on the Unites States? If the argument is that Black-On-Black is appropriate so that we focus on the high murder rates., what is being done to address root causes of crime? Law enforcement is obviously important, but shouldn't  we also get at socioeconomic factors?

90% of Black homicides are Black-On-Black. 85% of White homicides are White-On-White. The homicide rate in the United States was at it's lowest level since 1964 according to 2009 data. Let's stop pretending that there has been an escalation in deaths by using Black-On-Black. The term only serves to demonize Black citizens. 

Homicide rates are down. Black-on-black was a construct created for the crack wars of the 1980's it is no longer useful, if it ever was. Stand Your Ground might have made more since in the 1960's.

The response was simply to counter "poverty = high murder rate"

The reason for using "black-on-black" is that black-on-black homicide PER CAPITA is 7 times white-on-white PER CAPITA. If we're going to focus on socioeconomic factors, focusing on white people's will help 1/7th as focusing on black people's. Murder rate in 2009 was half that in 1992 - a great improvement but not low.

The economy in the 90's helped, as did greater hiring attitude towards blacks and easier mortgages (later turned into a bad thing under Bush).

Welfare reform in the 90's didn't actually seem to hurt, but Bush's changes of welfare reform around 2002 made it much worse.

"3 strikes" helped in the sense that it dragnetted a lot of people, some who might have been murderers, but hardly an ideal solution.

The end of much of the crack use/gang war attitudes are tied in with the above, although some will say it had to do with lead paint from 20 years before.

Stand Your Ground seems a retro law inspired by Bernhard Goetz in 1984, played on TV by someone like Bruce Willis - yippie kay-yay.

It should be remembered that when Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Arizona, a gun-toting observer almost shot the guy who wrestled the gun out of the killer's hands. There seem to be very few private citizen shootings that go well or stop crime - most seem to be criminal or stupid acts, though I don't have the figures to prove it.


In a 2007 survey, Bangladesh had 0.5 firearms per 100 people; Tanzania had 1.4 per 100; Nigeria had 1.5 per 100; Bulgaria had 6.2 per 100; while the US had 88.8 firearms per 100 people. Yemen was second at 54.8, Switzerland and Finland each had about 45.

The comment was "poverty leads to a high murder rate".

Poverty + guns is a worse combination for murder than poverty + no guns.

Guns + drinking is a worse combination than guns + no drinking.


Yemen had 2/3 the murder rate to the US despite having 1/20th our GDP, and their murder rate didn't change as their GDP went up heavily the last 10 years.

Poverty does lead to a high murder rate—in the US, where there are available guns and a racially heterogenous population and so many other differences that your comparison was specious at best. Yemen is in a civil war; we're not there just yet.

I think it's as much (if not more) about income inequality than about poverty per se. In Yemen, it's "mainstream" to be poor, but that's not true here. Thus, there's far more anger about it. At the risk of comparing people to animals, an analogy might be made to a dog with learned helplessness versus a dog who is randomly abused.

Somehow I think this is just finger in the wind, or Calvinball.

Is there high income inequality in Congo or Sierra Leone?

Was Cambodia's income inequality worse than America's?

Why has the murder rate in South Africa come down drastically since 1994 as income inequality has gotten much worse?

Oh, it's definitely ad hoc, but so is the black-on-black "explanation". Plus, it has the advantage of not assuming racial inferiority.

Aaarggh, more Calvinball.

What's ad hoc about black-on-black violence, which "explanation" are you referring to and why is that "ad hoc", and who assumed "racial inferiority" in what way?

If girl scouts killed other girl scouts by 7x the national average, would you say it's "ad hoc"?

Homicide is the #4 killer of black males. It's not in the top 10 causes of death for white males. It's not in the top 10 causes of death for females of any persuasuion.  More "ad hoc"?

Strokes hit women the same, but almost twice as many black women die of diabetes as white women do. Is that "ad hoc"?

Are we allowed to look at statistics and probability?

What's ad hoc about black-on-black violence? The same thing that's ad hoc about separating by income level, except that it uses a racial explanation. Why divide by color and not income level? Answer me that.

Are we allowed to look at statistics and probability?

Yes, but let's look at all of the statistics and probabilities and not just the easy ones that lack explanatory power, OK?

You're the one that accused me of being ad hoc first, so how is suggesting that income level is more predictive than race (within the United States, which is where the race statistics are also being used) a problem with you?

You just don't realize how hypocritical your ad hoc assertion is, do you?

There's nothing ad hoc about income level (assuming it's not $26k vs. $25K) - it just doesn't explain that much. You switch from black ethnicity to Hispanic, with the same income level, and the homicide rate goes down.

So what are you going to do? Ipso facto, handwaving Q.E.D., let's forget about it and go have a beer?

In South Africa, it was likely Mandela's election and less burning tires around people's necks.  Let's stay in the US in discussing the decreasing homicide here.

The fact remains that the term Black-On-Black is serving no useful function

I can't believe that adults speak and think this way in public.  The logic of this argument is insane.

"I just shot a black man."

"Don't worry about it, black people shoot each other all of the time."


Thanks, you clarified what I was attempting to point out. All homicide is ad. Black-On Black has outlived it's usefulness and become a diversion. The term diverted attention from socioeconomic causes for crime rather than making us focus on prevention.

Criminals of all colors need to be prosecuted. Socioeconomic issues should be dealt with to divert possible future offenders who see no other option apart from crime.

I think the bottom line is that Black-On-Black has become a. Term that serves no purpose. Homicide statistics will continue to show an unacceptable level of homicides in the Black community. If we ask the education level and socioeconomic class , we are forced to focus on associated variables. The folks on Fox harping about Black-On-Black as an excuse to ignore a murder like the one in Sanford, Fla make us realize that we have lost focus. 

Whites in poverty who experience high crime rates are also I'll-served by the term. By ignoring poverty and lack of education, we ignore them as well. All Black-On-Black has done is make any Black youth a criminal.

We need to abandon the term. We need to address root causes of  homicides. In the US,, poverty will be a major factor.

Wishing it don't make it so.

If there are studies showing similar homicide rates in poor white, Irish, Italian, Indian, Vietnamese, Ethiopian or Hispanic ethnicities, please show them.

Year 2007 homicide rate per 100,000:

Whites 4, African American 41, Native American 12, Asian 3.5, Hispanic 12.5

Were Hispanics so much wealthier than blacks? How about barrios with a lot of poor illegals? Native Americans?

Poverty is almost certainly a factor in some way, but I'm pretty annoyed with an assumption that poverty is an excuse for murder. "Give us money or otherwise we don't know not to kill - we can't help it"?

Don't conflate excuse with explanation. How about "I'm gonna kill someone because I'm black." Is that any better?

We throw money at the problem with incarceration. Incarceration may be more expensive than a college education. Is that where we should place our efforts?  Shouldn't we look to other solutions.?

An argument could be made that because we racialize crime, it gets less attention. How many in-depth stories do we see that humanizes the victims of "Black on Black" crime? Virtually zero. Black-on-black labeling has changed nothing. We are still pretending that nothing is happening, except hassling law-abiding Blacks.

If you spend the money on school to prison, you are going to remain annoyed about how money is being spent. There are dynamics in schools that lead to Black students receiving suspensions for incidents that others get lesser forms of punishment. Stop and Frisk creates more animosity than criminal captures.

The money is going to be spent either way. Incarcerated criminals create a new generation of incarcerated criminals.

What benefits have come from Black-on-Black crime labeling?

Somehow I don't think you're going to have your wish until there are fewer segregated poor neighborhoods in this country Because the theory/science of police work and crime reporting is on a trajectory of neighborhood (or regional) focus for the foreseeable future, and the stats are going to be there, and people are going to find them and point it out. And one can counter with white on white crime, looking at poor rural whites, or stats about safe black neighborhoods, or similar, but you won't stop people making the generalizations about neighborhoods.

One way to avoid that is if the Census Bureau stopped recording race, then people would probably talk more "poor on poor crime," like they did in the 19th and early 20th century, when blacks got other bad attributes assigned to them instead.

Yeah, let's just stop recording it, and then it doesn't exist.

Problem solved.

Can you break down crime based on income level? If not, why not?

What is more likely to be predictive (in the United States), income level or race? Which statistic is analyzed? Which one isn't?

Give me a break - poverty level is analyzed, effect of poverty on crime rates is analyzed, studies are done.

Enough, this has gotten juvenile.

I didn't mean to imply that could happen at this point in our history, silly, I meant to imply that that's what it would really require, unless you're going to make crime stats into state secrets. Or, as I said, fewer poor neighborhoods stay racially segregated (I think that might have a more realistic chance of happening sooner than people think, as real estate and jobs situation change, but not like tomorrow.)

It is going to happen eventually, though, as mixed race citizens become more and more common. There's only so many categories you can make until it defeats the purpose. (What is the purpose anyways?) 

Unless we all end up having bar codes with our DNA inscribed, that is.

One reason for dropping the term is that it gives an easy diversionary term to people like O'Reilly to explain why we shouldn't focus on a black death not caused by another Black. Absent the term, he would gave to say out loud words to the effect that Trayvon's death is an unimportant anomaly since he didn't die at the hands of a Black male.

I realize that this is just a thought experiment rather than anything that will really take legs. However, many Blacks are fed up with the disrespect that comes from some in law enforcement.

I found a few links to studies that try to put the differential in murder rates in context:

Homicide in Black and White PDF

We argue here that this extraordinary concentration of homicides in the black community cannot be fully understood without recognizing that murder is a crime for which there is a powerful preemptive motive: people sometimes kill simply to avoid being killed. This is the case in war, and is also the case in some urban war zones. Ordinary people in ordinary circumstances have little or nothing to gain from killing other people, and high murder rates can generally be sustained only if some people kill for self-protection.

Marvin Wolfgang’s Subculture of Violence Theory

Dr. Marvin Wolfgang’s black subculture of violence theory has been the most cited explanation of violence among African-Americans in criminological literature. It has also been among the most controversial.

Black Males and Violence PDF

White, Black, and Latino Homicide Rates: Why the Difference. PDF

I scanned a lot of this and it looks more worthwhile than simply throwing out a statistic like it proves something.


From the first link, a 2011 paper by two Columbia economists:
In rural areas, there is no racial disparity in murder. ...
Like murders, aggravated assaults are violent attacks; by definition, the assailants use weapons or the victims sustain serious injuries, or both. Like murders, they are primarily intraracial (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009, table 42). A subculture of violence theory would predict that the racial disparity in aggravated assault should resemble the racial disparity in murder. But it does not. In the 2004 National Criminal Victimization Survey blacks were only about 1.7 times as likely as whites to [be] aggravated assault victims. Nor is the racial disparity greatest among the demographic groups among whom aggravated assault is most prevalent. Indeed, among 20-24 year old men, whites were more likely than blacks to be aggravated assault victims in both 2003 and 2004 (table 10). Aggravated assault was over 65 times as common as murder in 2004. Blacks, especially young men, are not a lot more violent than whites.

When you actually look at the income gap between Latino and Black famines described as poor, A higher percentage of Black are poorer than poverty stricken Latinos. Poverty does remain a high correlate with crime. You just have to ask how poor are they?


Please - a link, a statistic, something? I guess you kinda did, but 53% poverty black to 44% poverty Hispanic isn't significant. However, only 18% of poor blacks in married households vs. over 50% in Hispanic homes is likely a big deal - which is why poor Hispanic households have 50% greater wealth than poor black households.



So poverty IS an issue?

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