By now, we all know the names, faces, and biographies of the nine black individuals shot to death by that 21-year-old white racist whackjob terrorist hate criminal in South Carolina.
But who can name any of the dozens of American blacks murdered in the weeks leading up to the Charleston massacre? How much wall-to-wall media coverage, how many international headlines, and how many “marches for black lives” did these deaths occasion?
Sadly, unless a black murder victim has the “privilege” of having being terminated by a white person or a law enforcement officer, his or her likeness is unlikely to wind up on the evening news, and no large-scale demonstrations will be held in his or her memory.
A somber Jon Stewart delivered a Daily Show without jokes in honor of the Charleston church victims. Until now, his humor has not been known to desert him no matter how many blacks had been murdered the previous day. During a performance in Delaware, Paul McCartney dedicated a song to the nine. A beautiful gesture, no doubt, but how often does he dedicate songs to black victims of senseless crimes?
One black lady, speaking on CNN, declared that she and the black community at large felt “terrorized” by whites, citing the Charleston shooting and several recent incidents of white-on-black police violence. But how come she failed to add that her community also—and to a proportionately greater degree—felt terrorized by that segment of society that habitually perpetrates 90-plus percent of violence against blacks, namely young black men?
Why feel terrorized primarily, or even exclusively, by those who commit a comparatively small amount of carnage within one’s ranks?
At this point, you may interject that most crime is intra-racial, and accuse me “mixing statistics” and confusing the issues. The scourge of white supremacy, you may say, which has resulted in the Charleston church tragedy, has nothing to do with blacks killing other blacks. Apples and alligators. Totally separate topics.
But are they?
Because either a) blacks are inherently, or culturally, more violent such that black-on-black killings naturally outstrip white-on-white killings by a jawdropping margin, or b) it is indeed the lingering shroud of white supremacy and institutional white racism that produce the conditions for widespread poverty and desperation in so many black precincts, which, in turn, lead to the level of bloodshed in America’s inner cities we witness on an all-too-regular basis.
Assuming b) proves correct, then then a sizable percentage of blacks murdered by other blacks are very much victims of white racism—obliquely perhaps, but no less so than are the nine Bible study group members that perished at the hands of a flaming white supremacist directly.
If this is so, then the aforementioned lady on CNN is perfectly justified in feeling terrorized by white people more than by young black men, as it is the former, by way of either apathy or the harboring of overtly racist attitudes, that drive the latter into the kind of despondency that makes them kill other blacks.
And yet those other blacks—like the ones felled on an average weekend in Chicago—receive scant airtime and spark few national protests or national debates. Their names and faces rarely, if ever, rise to anywhere near the posthumous national, even international, recognition of a Freddie Gray or the nine Charleston church victims.
So either, the people that routinely take to the streets wielding “Black Lives Matter” signs in the wake of a black-on-white killing do not themselves subscribe to the thesis that black-on-black violence may be caused or facilitated by white racism to any degree whatsoever, or they prefer to sit it out whenever black kills black in light of the manifest difficulty of drawing individual attention to a victim of black-on-black violence without also drawing attention to the fact that the perpetrator is black as well, which might reinforce in the eyes of the public the stereotype of the black criminal; wherefore, in tacit collusion with the media, a strategy is adopted to play up and dwell upon instances of white-on-black violence and, at the same time, downplay all instances where the immediate offender is black, regardless of the color of his victim(s).
Understandable as this strategy may be, the unfortunate impression it creates is that some black lives matter and most don’t.