The Creation of ‘Black Crime’

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The news media has a funny way of covering crime … and an even more troubling way of covering “black” crime.  Tommy Raskin breaks down the clear political, racially-charged biases of the media and how it’s influencing the national understanding of race and crime.

The laziest pundits in this country would have us believe that there are two types of crime: crime and black crime. Odious media outlets’ coverage of the recent “knockout” phenomenon is evidence of this faulty distinction’s widespread promulgation.

Reporters have started covering the national string of random “knockout” attacks perpetrated against unsuspecting pedestrians. The quick and brutal attacks conclude with the offending bands of young rapscallions scurrying and laughing away. Any decent human being who sees video footage of these onslaughts is immediately appalled.

But Michael Savage and Bill O’Reilly and Bernard Goldberg  and Colin Flaherty and Thomas Sowell and American Thinker, here and here, and Richard Swier and a whole host of others insist that denouncing these crimes as “crimes” is insufficient. These black crimes committed against white people apparently require a special type of repudiation.

What’s the difference between a crime and a black crime? Simple. A crime reflects a moral failing of the individual who commits it, whereas a black crime (necessarily committed by a black person) reveals a moral failing of the entire black community.

Mainstream acceptance of this distinction means that more than 49,936 individual white people can commit murder between 2000 and 2010 in the United States without so much as a peep from pundits about “diabolical pathologies” in the white community. It means that white people, who are “almost six times more likely to be killed by another White person than by a Black person,” never hear about an “intra-racial” war being waged within the white community. It means that the Sandy Hook and Columbine and Aurora shooters are called “troubled kids” and not “troubled white kids,” that there isn’t a proselytization of the white community whenever a stupid person with white skin stabs someone vindictively, and that we mustn’t abide lectures about the white family’s “deterioration” every stinkin’ time some Timothy McVeigh-look-a-like decides to shoot up a public area.

Conversely, when a black crime is committed, Bill O’Reilly takes the opportunity to enumerate for black people all of the things they’re doing wrong. He contends that the “knockout” phenomenon “goes back to an alienation of young black men in this country for a number of reasons, but primarily they’re angry that they didn’t have a family and their father abandoned them” and that “they’re sold a bill of goods by the civil rights people—that white society is at fault—that because you’re unhappy, it’s the whites doing it to you.” Never mind that no more than 0.017% of black children in fatherless homes have participated in one of these knockout sessions and that only about 0.7% of African-Americans violently attack a white person each year. For some reason, pundits still warn us that “this thing could really get out of control” and that folks pushing for racial equality are actually provoking feral black-on-white hatred.

Because some Americans still haven’t connected the dots, I will, in the simplest of terms, explain what these gross media distortions demonstrate: these “journalists” have a political agenda. Nothing that they’re saying about the “knockout” phenomenon is an outright lie, but it certainly isn’t the whole truth. When a pundit like O’Reilly, with 2,831,000 viewers, spends more than 5 minutes on his show reviling “young black Americans” for “committing senseless crimes” against white people—without iterating how aberrant and antithetical such attacks are to the sensibilities of most black folks, without mentioning that less than 0.3% of white people are violently victimized by blacks every year, without stating that fewer than 1 in 250,000 white people is killed by a black person annually, without discussing the anti-crime initiatives of so-called “race-baiting” civil rights activists—he is pushing a paranoid racial agenda. No question.

To his credit, Bernard Goldberg recently told O’Reilly, “most black kids aren’t doing this,” but went on to say that “a disproportionate number are either doing that or are walking into stores and hauling entire racks of clothing out onto the street.” Goldberg loves to argue that if white people were committing the crimes that black people commit so frequently, “there would be an outcry among the media.” The fact that not every news outlet has picked up on this story indicates, in Goldberg’s view, that the mainstream media are antagonistic towards white people.

Does such a widespread anti-white bias really exist though? If it did, then every arrest of a young white male drunk driver would spark a national discussion about how “young white Americans” are being neglected by their parents and brainwashed by their leaders to disrespect the laws of our land. Such claims would be corroborated with real statistics proving that white adolescents are more likely to drive drunk than their black counterparts. For good measure, some pundits would probably mention the fact that “white students are more than twice as likely as non-white students to use illicit drugs including marijuana and ecstasy,” and for that reason, are in dire need of “better role models.”

We can start talking about a media bias against whites once major news outlets make a habit out of dissecting “white crime” in this fashion. Until then, let’s not lose sight of the real bias that abounds.

Photo: DonkeyHotey/flickr

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About Tommy Raskin

Tommy is a frequent contributor to The Nation online and a co-host of The Angle on WAMH 89.3 FM.  He tweets @TommyRaskin and blogs at tommyraskin.org.

Comments

  1. I dont think much of the way crime is reported in this country either but I noted- you arent doing any comparatives. Try a simple table with 2 columns Counts and % to compare crime by ethnicity. All the data is there. Do a 4 block analysis with killer white / black on one axis and victim white / black on the other. why selectively pick statistics?

    If you’re going to call out race baiters you’d have more credibility if you called them out on both sides. The stupid emotional outcry from the right over “knock out” is a stupid emotional response to the stupid emotional outcry of the left in response to Trayvon Martin, Duke Lacrosse etc…

    We all need to stop trying to ignore or rationalize our “team’s” bad behavior and deal with these problems. There are some uncomfortable truths- the right doesnt want to talk about how the majority of mass shooters are white. The left doesnt want to honestly consider the fact that blacks are 8x more likely to commit murder than whites. George Zimmerman isn’t a “hero.” A black man commiting violent crime isnt a “victim” of society.

  2. I think you missed the blizzard of articles from the left leaning press about George Zimmerman being a WHITE hispanic as well as the near constant refrain of “whats wrong with WHITE men?” regarding Aurora and Sandy Hook.

    • Tom Brechlin says:

      I can always count on CW….. Thanks man.

    • Oh please. Do you REALLY think that the “what’s wrong with WHITE men” mantra is as prevalent as the “what’s wrong with BLACK men” mantra? When Aurora and Sandy Hook happened, we talked about MENTAL HEALTH and GUN LAWS. When a black person shoots someone, we talk about the so-called “crumbling of the black community.” Sheesh. Try opening up your mind and actually learning something from authors like this one.

      • Tom Brechlin says:

        October 2013, 41 homicides in Chicago. The majority were black males. This is just ONE month in the city. As CW said, and I quoted him, “We all need to stop trying to ignore or rationalize our “team’s” bad behavior and deal with these problems.” People run around and critique commentators but when it comes down to the real deal, neither side is stepping up to the plate. Plenty of finger pointing but where is the plan?

        The question is real .., What’s going on with black men that this is happening. Same goes for Mexican men. What’s wrong with the mental health system that these white guys with diagnosed mental illnesses or in some cases diagnosed mental illnesses that they are committing such crimes?

        And yes,the white mans mantra is more prevalent in that it’s front page across the country where as the black man mantra is ignored. I’ve been screaming about this for years and still, it’s swept under the carpet only to be pulled out when it’s a high viability case. Cases where the so called “caring” pull out all the stops to be front and center for the cameras.

        350 homicides in Chicago …. Most of them black men. And that’s just Chicago. I’ve worked with inner city kids for many years now and I can tell you, these so called community leader aren’t doing jack.

        So Cam, what do you suggest?

    • Afterthoth says:

      Are you oblivious to the fact that White people have advantages that Black people don’t, and that criticism regarding cases like Trayvon Martin are indictment of the institution of Whiteness and the privileges it extends at the expense of people of color, not just pointing the finger at White individuals?

      • Are you talking to me or Cam? Because Cam would likely agree with you. Me? not so much. I find nonactionable analysis (i.e. so amazingly non quantifiable that you cant DO anything with it to solve a quantifiable and practical problem) to be kind of useless.

        You can study the “institution of whiteness” until the cows come home and it won’t stop a single murder.

  3. Tom Brechlin says:

    “We all need to stop trying to ignore or rationalize our “team’s” bad behavior and deal with these problems. ” sums it up.

  4. Tom Brechlin says:

    And to Tommy Raskin, you have an audience … what do you suggest? Other then increasing your ratings and listener base, what have you heard EITHER side suggest as a plan? Who have you talked to that’s actually implemented a plane to get this insanity under control? You’re a celebrity, I’m sure you have sources ….. why aren’t you asking THEM why they’re not doing something?

  5. Uzi Peretz says:

    Agree with Tom.

    Let’s put a stop the nonsensical arguments about which type of irrational behavior and thought processes are acceptable because none of them are.

    WE are the human race and therefore hurting another human should not be tolerated under ANY circumstances. I’d vote for one appeal maximum on a guilty charge of rape, murder or any other type of violent act regardless of age. Kill ‘em all and let that fake, bearded white guy in the sky sort ‘em out.

    Every day I grow closer to crawling back under the happy rock from which I came

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