Tag Archives: black-on-black crime

Commentary: The Ray Lewis Video

5 (01)I carefully pondered whether I should offer my Thought Provoking Perspective on the Ray Lewis sermon for several days. It is very true that anyone can say anything they want to say and, of course, they have the right to do so. However, that does not mean the statements they might make are correct or that I have to agree with the messenger or his/her words. I thought about the near infamous Ray Lewis’ video presentation on Black Lives Matters.

Let me say at the outset that he made some very good points, although, in my view, he was a bit misguided in saying or inferring that black people are not concerned or focused on Black on Black crime. I am going to say this a few times because there is no such thing as Black on Black crime, which is important to note. To me, his presentation in his preacher-like style sounded as if he was pandering to a white audience, and possibly even scripted by someone white.

I say this because a lot of what he said sounded like something you would hear on Fox News or maybe something a Stacey Dash would recite. For example, the popular narrative, alluring to the completely mythical theme that surface every time an unarmed black person is killed by police, or if there is a spike in murders in poverty-stricken urban areas – or both. It goes something like this: “If Black Lives Matter, then how come they don’t matter when it comes to black-on-black crime?” This is white speak because there is no such thing as black on black crime. For example, you never hear the phrase White on White Crime and we know they commit crimes against each other.

In the same sense, the organization chose the name Black Lives Matter because of the weekly killings of unarmed black men, women, and children. Somehow; “they” began to say All Lives Matter! Let’s be clear, if a white person gets killed anywhere on earth “they” will call out the army; all the Black Lives Matter movement is saying, what about black lives – don’t they matter.

There is always a famous face to push the theme the Fox News types want, which is to change the narrative. Lewis’ video in which he states this myth in, basically, a sermon that decries the surge in murders in Chicago this year while managing to lay the blame on the Black Lives Matter movement inferring they doesn’t care about such things. Until the Black Lives Movement came to be the many killings by police was hardly mentioned in the news. This is important and needed because now some attempt to address police misconduct. Is one more right than the other, of course not but we pay the police.

Let’s be clear, Ray Lewis is an athlete, albeit a good one, he is a football player and must appeal to white folk to continue to obtain marketing and other opportunities. I did not hear his voice concerning the uprising during the Freddy Gray police action in the city where he lives, which is also one of the most crime-ridden cities thrown into turmoil by a death of a man in police custody. I do appreciate his passionate, intense feelings and maybe his sincere approach but in my view – he was a bit misinformed.

Lewis angrily is walking down a dangerous, counterproductive path, or I should say a slippery slope. He’s leading a lot of people down there with him because of his star appeal. They follow him and heed his every word because he carries that much cachet in the city and beyond. Frankly, what got to me was the ironic timing of his video; just weeks before the anniversary of the unrest in Baltimore surrounding the death of Freddie Gray. I say this is a white folk move to divert the attention from that fact.

If Lewis really thinks “nobody” is trying to stop crime in cities like Baltimore and Chicago, somebody has been lying to him. That narrative is simply not true! It’s also not true about activists who are fighting police brutality and misconduct, which was the motivation behind the formation of the Black Lives Matter Movement. We must remember there were those who disagreed with both Martin and Malcolm on issues and their approach. Of course, we can agree to disagree, but we should be honest in the approach to the topic.

If he had thought about his attempt to bring forth this issue of Black on Black crime; he would have discovered that the very term “black on black crime,” is a myth! Further, the time and place the phrase is often used is an old, not-very-original tactic to change the subject away from the abuse of vulnerable populations by people who are sworn to protect and serve them.

Make no mistake; I applaud Ray for his success and his concern for black people but if he chooses to have some input on the subject of the organization maybe he should try sending one based on facts, not fiction. Still we can agree to disagree concerning his message, and frankly I disagree with him on this rant. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Right-Wing Talking Points On Police Brutality

007_1000The definition of insanity is to “continue to do the same thing and expect a different result”. This is how I view the pro law enforcement crowd who are trotted out after each incident where a cop kills an unarmed black man. They all over the media to express a false narrative that it was the victims fault that he “got killed” and all the policeman was only doing his job.

It is always the same script from some benevolent brotherhood organization supporting the terrorist. Also, a “GoFundIt” page is quickly created to solicit funds for the cop’s defense. More shameful, however, was a statement made by a former mayor publicly stating that the killer of Michael Brown should get a medal.

In some recent cases of police officers killing black men, any uncertainty about the events preceding the fatal altercation has provided fodder for debates about what exactly led to their deaths, and whether the killing was justified. Of course, the killing is always justified. Not so in the case of Walter Scott. A video makes it perfectly clear that victim was fleeing the when North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slanger shot his “pray” six times in the back after a traffic stop, and then lied about what happened. Naturally, as is always the case, the officer’s word was taken as gospel and that he was in fear for his life.

Then a hero who took a video of the event came forward, and nothing in the officers report or that of any of the officers present matched what the video shows. In this case, there’s not much room for speculation about things like hand positioning or who was the initial aggressor. Nonetheless, the media ran with the officer’s story and investigated the victim’s background to smear his character. Predictably, the media and the public focus on everything but the police officer who killed an unarmed black man.

Then comes the predictable reaction, which is right from their playbook about police violence: we/you should be talking about black on black crime. Media Matters reported in August 2014 some of the right-wing efforts to focus on black-on-black crime to deflect from the national conversation sparked by Michael Brown’s death at the hands of white police officer Darren Wilson. For examples:

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley on Meet the Press: “Let’s not pretend that our morgues and cemeteries are full of young black men because cops are shooting them. The reality is that it’s because other black people are shooting them.”

Rush Limbaugh asserts that black homicide in Chicago isn’t a topic of national concern because it’s not “mixed race.”

Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum asking: “What about the children who are being killed in the streets in Chicago? What about black-on-black violence? Where is Al Sharpton on that? Where is the president on that?”

More recently, Rudy Giuliani told a New York radio station in March that he blamed President Obama for the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson, accusing him of “enormous amounts of crime” committed by African Americans. Saying he should focus more on a topic like Bill Cosby.

The fact that their response is so predictable it strikes most as an obvious, desperate attempt to focus on anything but the issue. Rather than the issue of systemic racism in the criminal justice system is the source of a lot of frustration for a sane and reasonable mind.

As Lauren Williams wrote in Vox, “it’s an easily anticipated source of preemptive eye-rolls among people who follow and participate in social media conversations about race and justice.” In fact, she says the absurdity of bringing up black-on-black crime in response to unrelated issues has inspired a popular punch line. Adding, that there are many layers of logical and moral reasoning that explains why focusing on black-on-black crime in response to criticism of law enforcement’s treatment of black Americans misses the point.

I agree with her that one of the primary problems with this argument is that “race-on-race” crime is not unique to black Americans. White people kill each other too. Jamelle Bouie debunked this myth in the Daily Beast, and so did Matt Yglesias recently exposed the scourge of white-on-white murder. Plus, Williams explains the underlying sentiment that “nobody pays attention when black people kill each other is simply not based in reality.

Personally, I find the term “black-on-black crime” is insulting and in fact misleading, which is why they trumpet their so-called stats or facts they create whenever tough questions about systemic racism come up. Yet, they never state the obvious that the so-called violence in black communities is being largely ignored. Focusing on black-on-black crime distracts from the current news about a rouge police that should be worthy of discussion and analysis. Worse, they zoom in on the talking point while ignoring the issues that go hand in hand with it. And that’s a lot to ignore.

Everybody in America knows the policy of America has always been rooted and based on the principle of white supremacy. So people, who are put off by discussions of police officers killing unarmed black men, are more than entitled to their position. However, the bigots who do really need to find a more convincing way to change the subject and in fact another argument. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

This article was inspired by Lauren Williams of Vox

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