The Elephant in the Room
I put a meme up about a 15-year-old black boy, Demetrius Griffin, Jr., who was burnt to death in 2016 by gang members in Chicago because he refused to join their gang. The ending stated, “There was no march or protest for me. But when you’re black and murdered by other blacks, your life doesn’t matter.”
I was then informed by a white (either liberal or liberal-influenced) person that it was “racist” to do so. How does that work? If I show a picture of the four young girls who died in the famous bombing of the Birmingham, Alabama church in September 1963, that’s civil rights and fine (because white racists committed the evil act). I can show victims of the Holocaust, too. All of that is given the Imprimatur by our sanctimonious white liberal overlords. But if I show this poor boy’s picture, somehow I am racist against black people?
All I can guess is that it’s some sort of prohibition against ever commenting on black-on-black crime, as if doing so deflects from the “main” problem: whitey and white supremacy and supposed “systemic” racism. Therefore (if I am correct in this), to do so is a naughty no-no. It goes against the “plan.” It ain’t “woke” or “PC.” This act can’t be racist by definition because that can only be white against black (not even black against white).
I would say that it was not racism at all (that such a diversion entirely misses the point); it was an evil act, pure and simple, which I will oppose, condemn, and speak out against regardless of skin color.
And I would go on to observe (as a sociology major) that the bottom-line root cause of Chicago violence and particularly black-on-black crime is broken homes, which is an even more prevalent indicator of a likely dysfunctional, tragic life than than either poverty or racism (“systemic” or otherwise). A white atheist friend of mine asked me to opine as to the causes of the ongoing Chicago tragedy, and this is what I told him. I asked him (twice) what his explanation was, and I got stony silence and crickets back.
But no one wants to talk about that. Broken homes, of course, have the potential of adversely affecting any and all children. It’s not a race issue at all. It’s a dysfunctional family issue, that can — not always, of course, but far too often — cause serious problems. It just happens that black illegitimacy rates are now at about 77%, for various reasons (LBJ’s Great Society being a big one): compared to 30% for whites. And that goes back to the rejection of Christian family and sexual values and morality.
The great African-American economist and social theorist Thomas Sowell observed that the black family survived slavery, but it couldn’t survive the Great Society welfare scheme.
In any event, any truly serious concern for black lives clearly must take into consideration the huge factor of black-on-black crime. According to Barry Latzer, emeritus professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, and author of the 2017 book, The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America:
He [Thomas Abt] points out that homicide-victimization rates for black men were 3.9 times the national average and that 52 percent of all known homicide victims were black (2017 data). He might have added that the perpetrators of these crimes were overwhelmingly African Americans. In 2018, where the homicide victim was black, the suspected killer also was 88 percent of the time. And this is not an exceptional situation. From 1976 to 2005, 94 percent of black victims were killed by other African Americans. In fact, as I will demonstrate, high rates of black-on-black killing have been the norm for well over a century. (“The Need to Discuss Black-on-Black Crime,” National Review, 5 December 2019)
Denzel Washington, the great actor (and my own favorite) agrees with the gravity and centrality of this alarming and overwhelming sociological evidence:
It starts in the home. If the father is not in the home, the boy will find a father in the streets. I saw it in my generation and every generation before me – and every one since. . . . I can’t blame the system. It’s unfortunate that we make such easy work for them. . . . If the streets raise you, then the judge becomes your mother and prison becomes your home.
Conservative writer Ben Shapiro adds:
Why, in fact, do only some Black lives matter, rather than all?
That’s not merely a question asked by conservatives or contrarians. It’s being asked all over the United States by Black Americans being left to the predations of criminals, in large part thanks to the woke virtue signaling of many Black Lives Matter leaders and media allies.
In Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser emblazoned the enormous yellow words “BLACK LIVES MATTER” on 16th Street. Protesters quickly added “DEFUND THE POLICE.” One month later, 11-year-old Davon McNeal was shot in the head while heading to a family cookout on July 4. His grandfather, John Ayala, lamented: “We’re protesting for months, for weeks, saying, ‘Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter.’ Black lives matter it seems like, only when a police officer shoots a Black person. What about all the black-on-black crime that’s happening in the community?” (“Not all Black lives matter to Black Lives Matter,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7-11-20)
Indeed, what about it?
As a compassionate Christian, I cannot not be concerned about such ongoing slaughter, as part and parcel of the love I have for all human beings, and desire for their well-being (not to mention, salvation, as I am also an apologist and evangelist). The Bible states:
Proverbs 24:11 (RSV) Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
If I feel that I am able to offer any kind of solution to these tragic occurrences and heartrending human suffering, in this instance, through my writing, I am duty-bound to do so, and I believe I do have some insights to offer, in order to solve the problem: a return to Christian family and sexual values: which has been, until very recently, certainly an overwhelmingly strong factor in African-American communities. It’s obviously a long-term solution, but it is a real solution and it does get down to the root causes of what we see taking place in America’s inner cities, where these harmful trends are most apparent.
Lastly, of course, racism still exists and corrupt cops exist. No one denies that. The question is the extent and nature of these problems and how to go about resolving them. As a political junkie myself, who constantly keeps up with the current news, I have never seen a single person of any political persuasion not utterly denounce what was done to George Floyd (if anyone has seen such a person, please let me know), and I have said that I myself would peacefully march in a protest against that abominable outrage.
That said, it doesn’t exclude the causes and factors that I am highlighting in this article. Any compassionate person (whether Christian or not), who cares about the well-being of all people, must be concerned about this.
Demetrius Griffin, Jr. and Davon McNeal: I do care about your lives, very much, and pray for you, and I care about all other black lives (and lives of any color) that have also been needlessly taken in unspeakably evil acts of murder, and about preventing as many such tragedies in the future as is possible, by trying to identify the underlying, deep-rooted causes and seeking to do something about it.
I’m not claiming to have all the answers about this, but at least I offer some proposed, plausible solution to the problem (backed-up by much secular sociological data) besides the never-ending mantras of “take away guns!” and “racism / Trump explains every social problem in America!” Anyone else is welcome to offer additional or alternative ones in this combox. Just keep it civil and on-topic. And if you call me a racist (or conservatives as a whole, racist), you’ll be immediately banned. That is a ludicrous, lying insult that I will not take from anyone, and I have zero tolerance for it.
Dialogue: Racism, Republicans, Logic, and Liberals (vs. Deacon Steven D. Greydanus) [5-16-19]
Photo credit: Facebook photo of Demetrius Griffin, Jr. [CBSN Chicago]