Wayne Bennett, a black blogger in the City of Brotherly Love, The Field Negro, used to have a sidebar section called Killadelphia, noting all of the murders in his fair city. He has dropped that now, perhaps because it got just too depressing for him, but perhaps — and I admit that this is speculation here — because so many of the victims, and their murderers, were black. While I don’t have the racial statistics for this year, in 2019 85% of homicide victims were black, in a city in which only 41.5% of the population are black.
Well, Philly passed yet another milestone yesterday: with 363 homicide victims as of 11:59 PM EDT on Monday, October 5th, the city blew past it’s homicide total for all of last year. On the Philadelphia Police Department’s crime stats page,¹ those 363 killings exceed every year’s total from 2008 through 2019.
With 363 homicides thus far this year, the numbers have exceeded the same day statistic last year by over 100 killings. Philly is now seeing a murder rate of 1.30 killings per day. If that number persists through the rest of the year, there will be 113 more murders in the city, bringing the total to 476, the highest since 1990 and the third highest on record.
But, nobody really cares. I noted previously that, unless the victim is someone of note, or a cute little white girl, there are no stories, other, perhaps, than a one paragraph blurb on page B-7 of The Philadelphia Inquirer, that someone else was killed on the city’s streets. A check of the Inquirer’s website at 10:16 AM showed no articles at all noting the passing of this murderous milestone. Checking the paper’s twitter feed, at 10:18 AM, showed only one tweet, about a shooting in a Lowe’s parking lot in South Philadelphia in which nine bullets were pumped into someone outside, and I had to wonder: would this story have made the news if it had happened in Strawberry Mansion?² Killings in South Philadelphia aren’t that common.
Mr Bennett wrote, on Saturday, June 20th:
From a marketing standpoint Black Lives Matter Too probably would have made more sense. Of course, when you are busy struggling for equal justice and fighting for your civil rights, you don’t think about the marketing aspect of your rallying cry too much .
Many of the folks in the majority population view the phrase black lives matter as declaring that ONLY black lives matter. They believe that somehow when you say that black lives matter you are saying that other lives don’t matter as well. Of course nothing could be further from the truth.
All lives matter has become a counter to the phrase, black lives matter, and it’s a huge straw man. Of course all lives do matter, it’s just that given what has been happening to black lives of late, we have to remind America that black lives matter as well. It seems like such a low bar. All we are saying is that black lives matter, that’s it. Not that black lives are somehow superior to white (or any other) lives.
Looking at the statistics in Philadelphia, I cannot see any evidence that #BlackLivesMatter in that city. Mr Bennett has been quite vociferous in his condemnations of the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, because they could be blamed on white police officers, but where are his words about young black men killing other young black men out on the streets, something happening every single day in his home town?`
Young black men in Philadelphia aren’t going to listen to me; I’m just an old, retired white guy living in eastern Kentucky. But they might listen to Mr Bennett, an attorney, a black man who has made his way in the white world in Philly, telling them, teaching them, showing them the way to real success in the world outside of North Philly, showing them that the future doesn’t have to be riddled with bullets.
According to Mr Bennett’s sidebar, Richard Fausset of the Los Angeles Times wrote of him:
To white people, Bennett’s musings are like kitchen-table talk from a kitchen they may otherwise never set foot in. To African Americans, he is part of a growing army of black Internet amateurs who have taken up the work once reserved for ministers and professional activists: the work of setting a black agenda, shaping black opinion and calling attention to the state of the nation’s racial affairs.
I would think that a lot of the kitchen-table talk in those kitchens into which I might otherwise never set foot would be about the funeral coming up for George, and how sad it was that James was going to go to prison for killing him. How many families in the black neighborhoods in Philadelphia have been torn apart by people being shot, and others going to prison, perhaps for the rest of their lives?
The first thing that should be part of the “black agenda” should be for black Americans to stop killing each other. What could warm the cockles of a white supremacist’s heart more than young black men killing other young black men, and young black women having an abortion rate five times that of white women?
The culture of black Americans in our major cities is a slow motion genocide. If the value of a culture is how it helps the people within it survive and prosper, then the culture in Philly’s black neighborhoods is a miserable failure. It will take people like Mr Bennett to change that, but the first thing they have to do is try.
¹ – The statistics on this page are updated five days a week, and are given accurately on this site as of 10:02 AM EDT on October 6, 2020.
² – That story, which I read yesterday, was very brief, and did not give the name or race of the victim, or any description of the shooter.
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