African-Americans comprise almost half of U.S. murder victims, 9 of 10 blacks killed by blacks

The Washington Post published an article in their August 10th edition that paints a disturbing picture of black on black crime.  The story written by Dan Eggan details the justice departments findings that nearly half the people murdered in the United States each year are African-American.

See the Washington Post article here .

See the Justice Department study here

Here are a few quotes from the article:

The study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics also found that from 2001 to 2005, more than nine out of 10 black murder victims were killed by other blacks, and three out of four were slain with a gun.

"Black victimization is a real problem, and it's often black on black," said David A. Harris, a law professor at the University of Toledo who studies crime trends. "That aspect has to be brought into any attempt to address the crime problem, and the community itself must be called into the process."

There was at least one piece of relative good news in the review: Black victimization rates dropped at about the same pace as white victimization rates from 1993 to 2001 as part of a historic decline in crime.

Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu asks some pertinent questions on this subject of homicide in his book Adam! Where are you? 

Why do African-American men kill African-American men?  Why is homicide second only to AIDS in killing African-American males?  Was Tupac acting in the movie Juice?  Will a metal detector remove self-hatred? How could African-American males attack the queen of the Civil Rights movement Rosa Park?

We have to eventually wake up to the truth.  What's been referred to for so long as genocide against black males is quickly becoming the suicide of black males.  Black men don't respect black men.  We don't respect ourselves if we feel like it's O.K. to go outside with our drawers showing, so we obviously don't have respect for those around us.

Community activism and advocacy is a wonderful thing.  I was all for getting Don Imus off the air and Michael Richards had to get his for what he said on stage about black folks.  But how are community advocates and activists dealing with the violence that plagues us?  Are we, the advocates and activists, afraid of young black men?  The despair that is felt by many young black men combined with the anger exuded by others make for a scary proposition. 

The book Reconnecting Disadvantaged Young Men, written by Edleman, Holzer, and Offner, paints a striking picture of the men who are both perpetrating and victims of this type of violence.  Some of the facts that the authors present early in the book include:

*  as few as 20% of black teens are employed at any time;

*  among young black men age 16-24 who are not enrolled in school, only about half are working.

*  roughly 1/3 of all young black men are involved with the criminal justice system at any time (awaiting trail, in prison or jail, or on probation or parole). 

What do these brothers have to lose?  I have seen it in my family plenty of times.  For those who don't work there are generally two outcomes: prison or death, with plenty of baby making along the way to both.  But we're here to talk about the murder rates.

We, as a people, have got to look in the mirror and try to put the brakes on this murder train that's bearing down on us.  The police can't stop a person who is intent on killing.  The hatred and anger that black men are exuding must be addressed at the source.  We typically thing of gang violence while neglecting to acknowledge the spike in domestic violence and even the instances of murder-suicides.  

I have some questions of my own: when do black boys lose respect for the lives of other black boys?  How and when do young black males learn that killing a dog will bring more heat than killing a brother?  When will we, pastor, leaders, politicians, advocates, activists, put the energy into stemming the tide of black on black crime that we put into asking racist bigots for crumbs?

Individually as African-Americans we are most likely to be discriminated against by whites, racially profiled by whites, fired unjustly by whites, but killed by a black male.  For decades we have fought for justice and our jobs, now it's time to fight for our lives.

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