Crime in Black and White
In a white supremacist nation such as the United States crime has become heavily racialized, or colorized rather. For many years, public and private institutions have successfully painted crime with a dark colored brush, and it was so powerful that people bought into it. The stigma that black (and brown) men are genetically more prone to criminal activity is so strong and so pervasive that it can mold the very people it’s referencing into criminals. It is the program that is installed within this nation’s political, economic, and judicial systems, and it is virtually inescapable if you’re living in such a nation.
Case in point, the recent case of Trayvon Martin’s murder unlocked the beast of color aroused hatred among many whites and some blacks. Whites, including those who claim they don’t have a racist bone in their bodies, did not want to accept that the young boy’s murder was racially motivated. Some were going out of their way to convince others that George Zimmerman, the murderer, was innocent. They believed that he was just trying to protect his neighborhood even if it means he has to stand his ground.
Then, you have those that are willing to believe “news” reports that question Martin’s background. Several websites have gone through great lengths to portray Trayvon Martin as a typical black male thug who started fighting Zimmerman. Therefore, he deserved to die.
Some even tried to state that Zimmerman was part Hispanic. Meaning that he’s not “white” by some kind of nonsensical standards which translate that Hispanic is a race different from white American. However, one can assume that Martin would still get shot if he too was a Hispanic like Zimmerman.
In any case it never registered that to smear the life of a young person after their death is beyond deplorable. Maybe, they don’t consider Martin’s life to be respected because he’s just another dead black male. It didn’t matter if his parents are suffering more because of their campaign. It didn’t matter if this was a case of a deranged vigilante who took the life of someone’s child. In their minds Trayvon was clearly a threat, and Zimmerman was the hero standing up for himself.
These and other valuable examples illustrate how much this society views certain people when it comes to crime, violence and murder.
Black and brown men, sometimes women, are seen as natural born criminals who are always up to no good. If they are spotted in any given area, especially in a predominantly white neighborhood, they are instantly feared. The people, mostly white, would call the cops on them in no time. A fleet of patrol cars would surround them with guns drawn. And they are taken to jail.
No one would suspect groups of white men having no business converging anywhere at anytime. No one would go bat-shit and call the cops to have them arrested. Unless, they were wearing white sheets and sporting Nazi paraphernalia, white men have an unhindered privilege of going anywhere they want without citing fear.
However, that privilege is blinding.
White-on-Black crime vs. Black-on-Black, Black-on-White and White-on-White.
For example, after the social media galvanized the outcry over Travon’s murder and the Sanford police’s mockery of justice, people argued that black people only care about their own victims of the criminal was white. Apparently, black people don’t care about the so-called black-on-black crime that’s happening in our communities. In other words we only get angry if Trevor, not Kareem, kills Deshawn.
There are four problems with that argument aside from the fact that it’s just plain absurd:
One, the black community has not only been dealing with crime and violence in their communities, but have countless organizations to prevent it from continuing. There have been movements ever since “black-on-Black crime” became a popular term for intraracial crime in black communities during the early 1980′s.
It doesn’t matter who the perpetrators or suspects are. Most black people care about violence and crime against them no matter where it comes from and who is behind it. Unlike, much of American society, there are many blacks who care about black lives.
Second, the term ‘black-on-black crime’ is itself a racialized term. It suggests that only black people commit crimes against their own, and that it’s dangerously running rampant all over the nation. It’s so centralized that you never hear other similar terms like ‘white-on-white, Asian-on-Asian’, or even ‘Native-American-on-Native American crime’.
It’s common sense that crime and violence occurs everywhere. No one group is predisposed to violence or crime, especially since crime itself is defined by the judicial system of a particular society and is not universally categorized. Yet, in a white supremacist society, crime is seen as a characteristic of a particular group based on color alone.
Third, bringing up black-on-black crime during a racial crisis where the people responsible is white is more hurtful than helpful. It is meant to derail from the situation to avoid the fact that white people were the problem. Again, black people are more than aware of the crime and violence in their communities, but they are mostly and mainly the only ones who are concerned about it every day. Usually, those who use that argument are the ones who do nothing about it. In other words they judge on an issue they know little about or have done little to try and fix it.
Fourth, as long as society sees crime as a “black problem”, they will not focus on crimes within other communities, particularly white, and will not acknowledge the misdeeds caused by those in power that will ultimately lead screw those at the bottom and will likely be the cause of crime at the lower levels of society.
Many whites are more concerned with crime occurring in black communities than in their own unless it actually happens. As such there are no movements or organizations to prevent crime and violence in their communities unless it was committed by a person of color, namely black and brown. That’s when it becomes a matter of grave concern as their fears of blacks and browns intensify with the wrongful acts of one or a few. That ‘few’ is then morphed into ‘most’ or ‘all’ of the black and brown population.
It is no longer a secret that the recent economic crisis was caused by total mishandling and shady deals committed by corrupt and greedy businessmen. Almost all of them were white males. However, their debauchery never stuck on to the entire group of white men.
This is not to say that white males are natural born incompetent businessmen, but this is to say that the mistakes of whites are the exception to the rule. Historically speaking, white men have been responsible for great destruction and misery around the world. The financial crisis of today was but another example. Yet, white men are hardly seen as “the problem”, not to mention that to say so is to be considered racist. They are rather seen as the more qualified and the most virtuous due to the white racial frame. In contrast that same framing makes it more acceptable to consider black men (and women) as society’s source of troubles.
Racism Review wrote an excellent piece on this white racial mindset and how it constitutes as part of the problem within the recession.
This same mindset fuels the argument that blacks commit more crimes than whites, and that most crime is committed by blacks. The assumption that black people are somehow “wired” to be more impulsive and violent is what most white people believe. Crimes against whites committed by blacks is the perfect proof they need to justify their fears and hatred even though interracial crimes of that nature are extremely rare.
It is out of the question to bring up the unflattering truth of the white race’s violence against blacks in the past. Somehow that is irrelevant and has absolutely nothing to do with the present. What does matter is that an innocent white person was a victim of a vicious ‘black attack’. This is a testament that blacks hate whites for apparently no solid reason. This is a matter of urgency that blacks need to be heavily watched, suspected, incarcerated, and even put to sleep like dogs.
However, if the perpetrator of the crime was another white person, the mentality changes. Only that person is responsible. Only that person should be thrown in prison. The criminal is not a representative of an entire race, rather he or she is the exception to the rule. Besides, they are believed to be only a few of the general white population whereas the opposite is seen with blacks.
No matter how you see it, there is a dichotomous view of society when it comes to crime and violence and it’s mainly based on color. A white supremacist society like America sees black people as the cause of most crime and violence while it sees white people as the group hardly capable or even the preventers of crime and violence. It was true in the past. It’s a lie the media is obsessed with. It’s the subject politicians use that is hidden within their speeches and policies. And it the “reason” why the nation is in the worst economic situation since the Great Depression.
The bottom line is that unless this society sees crime without a colorized attachment to it, it will never truly heal. If it doesn’t own up to its pathologies, it will not last much longer. To deny up and down that this is a serious problem is in itself, a horrible crime.