Photo credit to Time Magazine
A young black man goes into a convenience store.
He purchases some candy and a beverage.
He heads home wanted for no crime, yet is confronted by a civilian and killed.
A young black man and his friend go into a convenience store.
He steals some cigars and when he’s confronted by the shopkeeper, he physically accosts him and threatens more violence until the shopkeeper backs down.
In the street after just committing a robbery, he has a confrontation with a police officer and is killed.
These two young men are not equal in anything other than skin color.
That fact however, has not stopped one of their deaths from being the catalyst to violent outrage.
Now, if you’re using deductive reasoning, you’d probably assume that it’s the first young man’s death that was the catalyst to riots and looting.
But you would be wrong.
For some inexplicable reason it’s the second young man, Michael Brown, that people felt was worth destroying the city of Ferguson, MO for. Ignoring all the evidence that was captured on video surveillance, and the eye witness account that corroborates Officer Wilson’s account of the shooting, which was provided by a few unknowing men as they filmed Brown’s body laying in the street, residents have taken to the all so productive measures of violence and destruction to avenge the death of one of their own.
I have learned something through watching this situation play out in the media and on social networks.
What I learned is that most people are incredibly disingenuous asses when it comes to arguing for what they want to believe.
Originally, Brown was just a harmless young man who was shot for jaywalking while black, according to many.
That was the narrative.
But when security camera footage showed him getting physical with a shopkeeper who was trying to stop him from robbing him, they were forced to change their tune.
They quickly and spiritedly regrouped to redefine what Brown could clearly be seen doing as ‘shoplifting’.
You see, they needed Brown to still be a gentle giant…in order to be right… so they were willing to suspend all logic and re-title a robbery and physical altercation to something more warm and fuzzy.
They then claimed that even if Brown had robbed that store and gotten physical with the shopkeeper that it had NO bearing on what happened between him and officer Wilson.
That’s interesting isn’t it?
Actually SEEING an indicator of an individual’s propensity for violent behavior now has no bearing on what an individual might have done, when the claims are that it was his violent behavior that laid the foundation for his demise.
Strangely, these same people wanted to cite George Zimmerman’s arrest history from years prior when it came to whether or not he could have been aggressive with Trayvon Martin.
I should know. I am one of them.
And just like with Zimmerman, I know that when a person has a proclivity for violent behavior to resolve issues, it usually stays with them throughout their life.
But let’s look at this further…
The very people who felt that Zimmerman’s behavior years prior to the death of Trayvon was a crucial component of the cocktail for disaster that occurred that fateful February night in 2012, now simply could not see how Brown’s behavior just moments before he was killed during a confrontation with a police officer, indicated whether or not he had the ability to act out violently, and more importantly whether there could be any credibility to the Officer Wilson’s account of events.
If that isn’t a steaming pile of dishonest bullshit, I don’t know what is.
Other people want to simply focus on the problem with police using excessive force.
But more specifically, they want to focus on excessive force being used against blacks.
Now, I’m all for taking a hard look at police abusing their power across America because this IS a problem.
I would however suggest that racism doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with it, and that it certainly didn’t in Brown’s case.
But if you believe otherwise, if you want to talk honestly about who it’s happening to and why…then let’s talk honestly.
I mean, isn’t that what everyone’s been saying? That it’s time for ‘real talk’?
So let’s have some ‘real talk’, shall we?
In 2005 ‘The Color Of Crime’ was published. This gives a statistical breakdown of crime as it’s committed by each race.
There are those that argue the numbers in the piece, but I haven’t seen a really compelling refutation of them so we’re going to look at them anyway, but if you want to, pretend they’re only half accurate.
According to the study, blacks commit murder at a rate of seven times more than people of other races.
Blacks commit robbery at a rate of eight times more than people of other races.
Blacks are also 15 times more likely to be affiliated with a gang than whites, and Latinos exceed both in this category.
Blacks are 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to rob a white person than vice versa.
All this, while blacks account for about 13% of the population of the United States.
Yet all of these numbers are to be ignored when asking white people why they might fear blacks, however.
It doesn’t matter that statistically, we have a MUCH greater probability of being the victim of a crime perpetrated by a black man than a black man does us, we need to solely focus on and be ashamed of the times when a white man does something awful to a black man.
Meanwhile, the black community needn’t be ashamed of anything about those numbers up above, because we aren’t allowed to talk about them while we’re having ‘real talk’.
Because if you cite any of these numbers, or anything that sounds like this kind of dialogue as a white person, you are a racist.
Oh, it’s true! In fact, despite the multitude of times that I’ve been called a ‘white apologist’ by other white people for condemning real racism, I guarantee I’ll be a racist according to someone, after this blog entry!
You see, we can only have ‘real talk’, when real talk consists of “BAD WHITEY!”.
Unfortunately, data isn’t racist.
Numbers aren’t racist.
But what’s more important than the somewhat large disparity between the amount of crimes committed by blacks vs. whites, is that it makes blacks that many more times likely to be shot and killed during a confrontation with police.
That doesn’t make it racist, it makes statistically more probable.
More involvement with police means a greater possibility of an unfortunate outcome.
A seven year study was released in 2012 that showed that of the number of people killed by police officers in that seven year timeline who were under 21, 18% were black as opposed to 8.7 percent white. That’s roughly a 10% difference.
Now go back and compare again the amount of times blacks are committing crimes versus whites.
Tell me again how blacks are being killed at a much higher rate than whites?
Let’s do it this way…
If one soldier serves a tour of duty in a violent region of the Middle East, and another soldier serves 3 tours of duty in that same region, it is statistically more probable for the second soldier to be injured or die in the line of duty than the first.
It doesn’t mean that the enemy saw the second soldier as someone they wanted to kill more because of his skin color, it just meant they were engaged with the second soldier more frequently and his chances of a bad outcome increased dramatically as a result.
By the laws of numbers, this is most likely what accounts for the amount of deaths of young black men in police confrontations.
Not in all cases…but probably in most.
But this is ignored in favor of yelling “RACISM!”.
This needs to stop.
There’s a repugnant level of dishonesty going on when discussing these issues.
Here’s two facts.
1.) There are white people who blame blacks for everything wrong that goes on.
2.) There are black people who blame whites for everything wrong that goes on.
Here’s another fact…both of those groups are partially correct.
White people don’t like to own up to their responsibility in the racial problems in America, and neither do black people.
They BOTH share the blame.
If you listen to some white people, “All those people do is cry racism, when everything that’s wrong for them is their own fault!”.
If you listen to some black people, “All whites do is act like they aren’t racist, when all they do is oppress us!”
Sorry white people, but a lot of you are racist.
Sorry black people, but a lot of your problems aren’t whitey’s fault.
But since this is the hot topic at the moment, let’s go back to the numbers I cited above.
When these kinds of statistics are reality, black people, how can you with a straight face ask the question “Why do white people assume all black people are criminals?”
Again, this has nothing to do with the color of your skin, it has to do with statistics.
Let’s do it this way…
If there were two beaches, and you wanted to enjoy them and their oceans, and you ask the question “Which one of these beaches has had more shark attacks?” and you were told that one beach had 7 times more shark attacks than the other, you would be a bit apprehensive if you had to get into the water there, right? It wouldn’t mean that you’re absolutely going to be attacked, but you might think you could be, and as a result, be on guard.
Again, this is statistics and nothing more, but you certainly wouldn’t assume you were completely safe in those waters.
But this caution is often suggested as something that is wrong and ‘racist’ about white people.
If the numbers were reversed…if white people were committing violent crimes at an average of 7 times more than blacks, and if whites were robbing blacks at an average of 136 times more than the reverse, guess who would be the ones assumed to be criminals on sight? Immediately their white skin would afford them nothing in the way of ‘nobility’ and ‘prestige’, because it’s about the statistics not the skin color.
And if when one of those violent white people was caught on camera getting physical with a shopkeeper while robbing his store, was then killed after a confrontation with a police officer, and then the white community started burning buildings, looting stores, and rioting for that dead criminal…would that make you think they share the same value system and moral code as you?
Would you feel like their neighborhood was a place you wanted to be?
Or would it more or less reinforce your negative beliefs about the white community?
This, is the crux of the issue for those of us in between.
Moving forward doesn’t mean embracing ANY black man simply because he’s black. It doesn’t mean ignoring obvious problems.
It means judging a man by the content of his character, and we can SEE that the content of Michael Brown’s character was flawed.
Just like with George Zimmerman, there is enough information to know that there are glaring problems being overlooked.
Everything we see regarding what kind of person Michael Brown was and what happened that day, is being ignored for the sake of yelling ‘racism’.
This is all counterproductive to a uniform society.
The greatest problem with treating the Brown death the same way as the Martin death, is that it diminishes the death of every black man who DID die unjustly at the hands of police or someone who deemed themself an authority figure . It means to equate Trayvon Martin to Michael Brown when nothing in their behaviors in their last hours of life are identical.
Furthermore, if we are equating Martin to Brown, then it lends credence to the propaganda that was spread about Martin being a criminal thug, and more importantly suggests that black America feels that it doesn’t matter if a black person is a criminal, they should be able to attack whomever they want without repercussion, or else they’ll burn the city down. This feeds back into the statistics, which feed into fear, which breeds racism, and so forth and so on.
Is that the message America should be receiving, while it simultaneously shouldn’t look cautiously at blacks?
For those of us who just want to move forward, this simply can not, and should not, be the message.
I would hope that we can all agree that when you rob places of business, you are not a decent member of the community.
I would hope that we can all agree that when you physically accost someone, you are not a decent member of the community.
I would hope that we can all agree that when you attack a police officer, you are not a decent member of the community
If we can’t…if we can’t agree on societal guidelines as simple as these, then how can we ever see eye to eye?
How can the black community expect the white community to see it as anything other than a danger?
Michael Brown ideally didn’t have to die, but Michael Brown made decisions that were conducive to a life that would end in tragedy. If not a police officer killing him, it could have just as easily been the shopkeeper who pulled a pistol when he grabbed him.
He was not Trayvon.
And burning down a city in ‘honor’ of someone like him is morally reprehensible.
There is REAL racism out there….that’s the real battle.
You know, in the autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm discusses white people who wanted to help in the civil rights movement.
He spoke of a particular white girl who asked him “What can a sincere white person do?”, and that he replied “Nothing.”
Malcolm said that he regretted answering her that way, and that white people could help. They could help by fighting the wrongs they saw amongst their own people. That only they could try to correct what was wrong with whites, because whites wouldn’t listen to a black man.
That was in 1965, just shy of 50 years ago.
Today, that situation has reversed itself, and a white man cannot honestly address the black community. The black community certainly at the least won’t listen, and at worst will call any attempt at addressing issues as racism.
So it’s only for a black man to correct what’s wrong in the black community.
Too often I watch black people use the copout “Well you have white privilege…you can’t speak on black issues with white America!” when confronted with information they can’t work around any other way.
Well, that works both ways. As a black person, you have no greater understanding of what’s it’s like to be white, then we do what it’s like to be black.
This is just one white person’s attempt to shed some light.