Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin
White on White Crime
I get so tired of hearing all this garbage about “Black-on-Black crime” that the media created to hypocritically denounce internal crimes and contradictions in our communities, and justify police control of the community. I can prove it’s propaganda.
Recently, as part of a discussion of the school recent shootings by white students at Columbine (in Colorado) and a number of other schools around the USA, one of the Black participants stated that he would not excuse white killings of Blacks, but also referred to the Black homocide rate as evidence that “we kill more of our own than the white people do”. I have also had white racists recently write me talking about the “high Black crime rate”, including homocides implying that we are a “uncivilized people”, and don’t deserve reparations, equal justice in the courts, or anything else. As usual, this type of conservative argument is meant to deflect the argument away from condemnations against white racist violence by cops, racist vigilantes or the government.
First, let me say that most “hate crimes” are directed against Black people and other peoples of color, and prepetrated by white racists or cops. These crimes are not prepetrated by Black people against whites, as the conservatives like to put forward, and Blacks commit a smaller number of crimes against whites than we do against each other, but then so does every other group. So the conservative arguments are false. Yes, figures don’t lie, but liars sure do use figures. Nor does the fact of Black homocides mean what they want us to read from them. The main thing is that we should not look to the cops or the government to “save” us from ourselves.
Now, I will say upfront that I am not a crimnologist, medical doctor, sociologist, psychologist, statistician, or other expert in these matters, but I fundamentally disagree with these statements about homocides in the Black community, and want to make the common sense argument. Listen, racial killing by whites, especially those in law enforcement (reportedly 500–1,000 per year) which are protected by the white government generally, or racist vigilante violence, are totally different from the conditions in the Black community which produce homocides.
First, these statistics are not necessarily “racial” at all, because the USA population generally leads the world in the number of domestic homicides. To extrapolate some racial “diagnosis” that Black people are more prone to violence than anyone else in American society is nonsense and shows how we can easily internalize racist propaganda. Even if it were true there are some deep social causes that would make it happen, which are not only out of our control, but of which we are victims. But let me point out that whites commit fundamentally more crimes in American society, including homicides, [against other whites] than the Black population group, even with all the “ghetto” homocides included.
There should no mystery that whites are the majority of crime perpetrators, and I believe it’s merely because they are the largest population base generally in the USA. A grade school child can figure this out. What should we surmise about white people as a result of such information? That they are a race of criminals, a natural criminal class?
Well, in a racist media, it could easily be argued: “White on White crime is destroying the nation, and producing a class of violent criminals (white elementary students and street corner juveniles), which must be incarcerated at an early age to protect society.” Now this is a spoof, just a way to show that the white racist government has been manipulating crime data, to justify all manner of repressive police measure against the poor and the working class Black communities, by putting white folks in our place as the victims of such racialized crime reporting. Do you see this now and understand why the so-called crime “statistics” from the government are not believable? It’s all a political ploy, don’t believe the hype!
I don’t put forth the opinion of a natural criminal class among white youth, and certainly don’t accept it about Black people, Latinos, Asians or others. I also don’t believe in superstition, notions of White or Black supremacy, a “race of devils” or super-men, and I know for a fact that all this is racist propaganda. Racism has a material foundation: capitalism and the profit system, and it must be fought, not justified. Certainly, Black people should not swallow and regurgitate such garbage, and it really bothers me when I hear black conservatives on TV or the internet doing just that. It seems that the Black upper class, Republican conservatives and some reactionary race nationalists are the ones to fall for this, and spread it as gospel.
But the conditions that working class Black people live under clealy have to be considered in talking about frequency of homocides. People who exist as a despised racial minority, who have internalized self-hatred, the internal violence of the oppressor, and extreme frustration at their condition are most likely to explode, either in an act of internecine violence towards other Black people, [who are in closer proximity and whom they know that the government regards their lives in lower esteem so there will not likely be harsh punishment], or against the government itself in a so-called “riot” or social rebellion against the conditions of oppression. Read “The Wretched of the Earth” and other work by Franz Fanon, material by Albert Memmi and others about the “colonized mind” and internalized violence.
Because I know beforehand that I will be attacked about it, let me say that I do not apologize for individual acts of violence in our community. But I also recognize that it is the white capitalist government which condones and promotes violence as a way of solving all social problems: between different racial groups, between women and men, between men generally, between families, and other elements in the community internally, and between nation-states internationally in the form of war and military aggression.
This government creates the conditions of oppression and violence, and then effectively allows a ton of guns on the street to carry out these homocides. Let’s get real here, and not be suckered in by the right-wing white conservatives and their arguments of more cops and more prisons as the “solution”. Look, Black people don’t have to help George W. Bush, that racist Attorney General, and the reactionary right-wing, destroy the poor in the inner city and overturn civil rights, they can do alright on their own. In fact, we have to fight for all of our people, and against Bush’s anti-people agenda generally.
So here’s what I’m saying in my conclusion: a crumbling empire and morally bankrupt nation is dying and manifesting every form of deviance. Yes, this society has created sick, violent individuals, after all it is the most violent society on earth. But at this stage the answer is to try to understand why all this violence is really happening, and then fight to eradicate the conditions that produce crime and violence. We must build a new society, not protect this racist system.