George E. Curry
I have written about Bill O’Reilly, a/k/a “Bill O’Racist,” in the past and his proclivity to distort the facts when discussing African Americans. Well, he’s at it again.
On one of his recent shows on Fox News, he asked, “Don’t you think most African-Americans know there are super predators among their ethnic group? Don’t they know it?”
Earlier in the year, he said, “Well, Sanders says he is a straight talker but not, not on this issue. Here’s the truth. African-Americans make up 13 percent of the total population in the U.S.A. but commit 37 percent of all murders. And 90 percent of black murder victims are killed by other blacks. You will never ever hear either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton say that. Republican candidates will not likely point it out either because it’s politically incorrect. It’s much easier to decry racism than actually address the root causes of violent crime which are a corrosive culture and collapse of the traditional family.”
For the record, every racial and ethnic group has predators among its ranks, just as they have members who are positive forces.
In his rush to blame everything on “corrosive culture” and “collapse of the traditional family”among African Americans, Bill O’Racist conveniently ignores some basic facts.
He should have learned last November from Donald Trump’s re-tweeting an erroneous post that claimed that 81 percent of Whites are killed by Blacks. Not only was that fiction, the supposedly source for the figure —“Crime Statistics Bureau – San Francisco” – did not exist.
As fact checkers pointed out at the time, only 15 percent of Whites are killed by Blacks.
“Trump cast blacks as the primary killers of whites, but the exact opposite is true. By overwhelming percentages, whites tend to kill other whites. Similarly, blacks tend to kill other blacks. These trends have been observed for decades,” Politifact observed.
Indeed, FBI stats show that few homicides are committed outside an assailant’s race. In fact, 8 percent of Blacks are killed by Whites and 90 percent of African Americans are killed by other African Americans. According to the FBI, 82 percent of Whites are killed by other Whites.
Clearly, there is no “corrosive culture” factor among African Americans at play here.
A report titled, “Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2013 Homicide Data” by the Washington, D.C.-based Violence Policy Center, provides further insight into Black homicides.
The typical Black homicide victim was 31 years old; 7 percent were younger than 18 years old and 2 percent were 65 years old or older. Most – 87 percent – were male and 13 percent were female.
The report notes that 84 percent of all Black victims (4,960 out of 5,891) were killed with guns. Of those, 73 percent were killed with handguns.
Significantly, 72 percent (2,002 out of 2,766) of Black victims were killed by someone they knew. Only 764 were killed by strangers.
Moreover, 51 percent of the homicides grew out of an argument between the victim and the assailant. Approximately 15 percent were reported to be gang-related.
Instead of dwelling on Bill O’Reilly’s ignorant diatribe, the stats should point us in a different direction if we want to reduce homicides in Black America. First there is the larger issue of gun control.
“Blacks in the United States are disproportionately affected by homicide. For the year 2013, blacks represented 13 percent of the nation’s population, yet accounted for 50 percent of all homicidevictims,” the Violence Policy Center report stated. “… For black victims of homicide, like all victims of homicide, guns – usually handguns – are far and away the number-one murder tool. Successful efforts to reduce America’s black homicide toll, like America’s homicide toll as a whole, must put a focus on reducing access and exposure to firearms.”
Equally important, we most focus on young Black males. That’s not to say we should ignore Black females – we shouldn’t – but 87 percent of Black homicide victims are male. No other group is close.
“The homicide rate for black male victims was 30.59 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall rate for male homicide victims was 6.87 per 100,000. For white male homicide victims it was 3.71 per 100,000. The homicide rate for female black victims was 4.36 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall rate for female homicide victims was 1.72 per 100,000. For white female homicide victims it was 1.39 per 100,000,” according to the report.
Finally, we must discard the stereotype that most homicides are a result of random violence. As the figures show, 72 percent of Black victims were killed by someone they knew. And just more than half of those deaths began with an argument. With 15 percent of the deaths attributed to gangs, they also cannot be ignored.
Teaching Black men to successfully resolve conflict nonviolently has to be a top priority, if we are going to be successful. And this must start early in the life of boys.
There are many reasons to be concerned about homicide in Black America. But Bill O’Racist and other right-wing nuts totally miss the point.
George E. Curry is President and CEO of George Curry Media, LLC. He is the former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA). He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. Curry can be reached through his Web site, georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at twitter.com/currygeorge, George E. Curry Fan Page on Facebook, and Periscope. See previous columns at http://www.georgecurry.com/columns.