It may not come as a surprise, but one of the topics we get asked about most frequently is intracommunal violence. That's right, this week we're actually going to talk about "Black on Black crime." But don't worry, it's still #Fuck12Friday
Since the recent uprisings began, it seems like there are more people than ever before who want to talk about violence in Black communities when we bring up #defundthepolice. #Fuck12Friday
There are usually two types of people who ask us about violence within the Black community. The first are the people who use "black on black violence" to divert attention away from protesting police brutality. #Fuck12Friday
But let's back up a bit, and talk about what "Black on Black violence" really means. That phrase itself surfaced in the second half of the 20th century, but the racist idea that Black people are violence-prone has been around since Europeans were justifying slavery. #Fuck12Friday
In 1896, the U.S's first nationwide compilation of racial crime data was published as "The Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro” #Fuck12Friday
In it, pseudoscience was used to argue that Black people had a “greater tendency to crime and pauperism than the whites.” The text explicitely states that the "Aryan" race is superior. #Fuck12Friday
Skip forward. After decades of redlining, segregation, and white flight, Black people were purposefully concentrated in urban communities rife with poverty and lack of resources. It's then, in the 1980s, that "Black on Black crime" becomes a buzzword. #Fuck12Friday
Intracommunal violence in the Black community was quickly used to justify a new emphasis on militarized policing in American cities, and the expansion of the carceral state from Reagan to Clinton's 1994 Crime Bill. #Fuck12Friday
"Black on Black crime" as justification for increased policing was extremely popular at the time. But even then, folks like Bernard D. Headley wrote about how it was being used to distract from systemic injustices that needed to be addressed. #Fuck12Friday
Instead of addressing these systemic injustices head on, still to this day many politicians, commentators and police chiefs routinely use the myth of "black on black crime" to imply the false inherent criminaity of black people. #Fuck12Friday
For example, after the unjust murder of Mike Brown, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani said “The white police officers wouldn’t be there if you [Black people] weren’t killing each other.” #Fuck12Friday
But here's the thing: the term Black on Black crime perpetuates a dangerous myth. Statistically, most murders are carried out by people who know and/or live near the victim. Most crime happens within (segregated) communities. #Fuck12Friday
Because of the purposefully segregated nature of Chicago, we see communities that are nearly all Black. 89% of murders of Black people are intracommunal. But 81% of murders of white people are also intracommunal, and yet we don't hear about "white on white crime." #Fuck12Friday
This doesn't mean that gun violence in Black neighborhoods is something to be overlooked. On the contrary, it's alarming and deeply saddening that we are losing young Black people to violence in our streets. #Fuck12Friday
However, there are several community groups, programs, rallies and marches aimed at curbing this violence; groups like @GKMC18, @mbmhmc and @BYP100 #Fuck12Friday
That brings us to the second type of person who asks us about intracommunal violence: people who are genuinely worried, or grieving, or who don't feel safe in their own communities. These voices matter. #Fuck12Friday
We know that "Black on Black crime" is a fallacy, but we also know that poverty is an incredible risk factor. The Dept of Justice found in 2014 that Black and white folks living at the same level of poverty were similarly likely to be the victim of a crime. #Fuck12Friday
Chicago's Black communities have been purposefully disinvested in for generations. Today, the median household income in Lincoln Park is over $75,000. In the Austin neighborhood, it's $31,000. In Englewood, $27,000. #Fuck12Friday
Chicago's public schools in Black neighborhoods are chronically underfunded. The city provides little to no mental health and addiction resources for residents without insurance. These are safety issues. #Fuck12Friday
Chicago laid off 286 teachers in June after laying off 220 last year. The schools on the South and West side were already chronically understaffed. How is this going to impact violence in these neighborhoods? Does Chicago care? Does Lori Lightfoot? #Fuck12Friday
How do you keep kids in schools that don't have teachers? How do you convince someone that there are things more important than making money by any means necessary when they are hungry? #Fuck12Friday
This is where “defund the police” comes from. It comes out of knowledge that there is a pervasive need for investmment in Black and brown communities in order to address intracommunal violence and the systemic issues that cause it. #Fuck12Friday
Police don't stop intracommunal violence, they don't address the issues that cause it, they come after and perpertrate more harm in the aftermath. #Fuck12Friday
Just this summer, we saw a Black community member send a tip to CPD about a possible shooting at a funeral. CPD did nothing, and the mass shooting happened anyway. #Fuck12Friday
When intracommunal violence does happen in Black neighborhoods, police rarely help people seeking justice. Only 22% of homicides were solved by CPD in 2018 when the victim was Black. By contrast, when the victim was white they solved the case 47% of the time. #Fuck12Friday
A 2015 study found no correlation between the level of violent crime in an area and that area’s police killing rates. Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white men. Police don't prevent violence in Black communities, they perpetrate it. #Fuck12Friday
We should be deeply concerned about the safety of our communities, while also understanding that bringing up intracommunal violence during a conversation about police brutality is deflection. Instead of deflecting, let's connect these conversations. #Fuck12Friday
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