Awhile ago, I wrote a piece discussing the misconception that black Americans do not care about “black on black crime.” It’s a belief that is pervasive on the right and has been promoted by a number of conservative pundits. Now, in the aftermath of the shootings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, Conservative Inc. is circulating that lie once again.
You know how it goes. A black person like Arbery or Taylor is killed by a white person or the police. Then the corporate media uses the incident to pretend everyone’s racist and left-leaning pundits and politicians try to use it to attack Trump.
But, predictably, many on the right focus more on smearing the victim of the shooting than on the shooting itself. Others rail about “black on black crime” to distract from the incident at hand, ostensibly to counter the race-baiting narrative of the left. It is in these moments that right-leaning pundits will repeat an all-too-common trope: Black folks don’t care about black homicide victims unless they are killed by white people or the police.
These two shootings are no different.
Some high-profile black conservatives are once again repeating this lie. They have even been using the deaths of people like Tyshawn Lee, a 6-year-old black boy who was murdered by gang members, to make their point.
It is important to note that some are not actually using this tactic. They are rightly criticizing the media’s handling of these types of stories, not arguing that black Americans don’t care about “black on black crime.”
Their ire is directed at the establishment media, which pays little to no attention to crime in urban areas. These folks are correct – the corporate press doesn’t care about murders in predominantly minority neighborhoods.
However, others are claiming that black Americans turned a blind eye and shrug their shoulders when a black person becomes a victim of gang violence. This is simply not true. I made a video recently repudiate the notion that black Americans are not concerned with black homicide victims.
The reality is that there are a large number of organizations in U.S. cities that are dedicated to curbing gang activity. These groups, some of which I discuss in my video, are led by black Americans who wish to clean up their communities.
These individuals have chosen to become part of the solution, rather than just relying on the government. Nonprofit organizations like Original Gangsters United was founded by two former gang members, provide mentoring, job training, and other resources to keep young black kids from joining gangs.
Some of the most dangerous cities have seen a decrease in homicides – especially gang-related shootings. Los Angeles’ rate of gang violence has been on a downward trend. New Orleans has seen a sharp decline in homicides for three years in a row. Chicago has seen similar results. Despite an uptick in 2019, Detroit’s homicide rates have fallen over the past ten years.
Several factors are contributing to the drop in homicide rates, and these organizations play a crucial part in the process. Everyone knows that the media is not focused on the people who are trying to transform their cities, which is one of the reasons why many might be easily fooled into believing that black Americans do not care about crime in their communities.
However, if the conservative movement is going to broaden its tent, it needs to understand the people whose support they desire. Relying on easily disproven stereotypes such as this will not help our cause. Moreover, promoting this falsehood is like spitting in the face of the Americans who are working every day to save black kids from this deadly lifestyle. This is yet another area where truth must win out over narrative.
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