I like Ray Lewis. I respect him. But I think he’s wrong when he says the Black Lives Matter movement should direct more of its attention to black-on-black crime and less on cop-on-black crime.
First, the idea that the BLM leadership doesn’t care about black-on-black crime is just not true. An even casual reading of posted material on the internet will prove this point, so let’s move on t0 issue two.
The suggestion that as long as blacks are killing each other they need not be concerned about police killing blacks is flat-out dangerous.
To fail to address police brutality systemically perpetrated on blacks is to incubate an environment where it becomes acceptable– again. Moving from shooting down unarmed black men and women without justification to lynching them doesn’t require that much of a stretch. The method of killing is usually secondary to its motivation.
I wholeheartedly agree that violence in the black community is much too high. The fact that blacks kill other blacks is disconcerting, to be sure. And yet the fact of the matter is that blacks kill blacks, whites kill whites, Hispanics kill Hispanics, Asians kill Asians. This is such an obvious truth that when people kill across racial lines, we immediately wonder if a “hate crime” has occurred.
In 2011, 3,172 whites were murdered. 2,630 were murdered by other whites; 448 were murdered by a black offender (about 14 percent). For the same year, 2,695 blacks were murdered– 2,447 by other blacks, and 193 by whites (roughly 7 percent). [Source: https://www.fbi.gov]. Ninety-three percent of blacks killed are killed by blacks, and eighty-four percent of whites killed are killed by whites. This is a difference of only 9 percentage points, so why is it that only the black-on-black numbers are dragged out when it’s time to talk about what’s wrong with American society? And why invoke black-on-black crime in the first place, when the issue is not black-on-black vs white-on-white.
The core issue in this discussion is police brutality– the excessive force used by police in apprehending or simply encountering “suspects” of all races. black lives. There may be racial overtones inside this conversation, but I would submit that the parents of Sandra Bland or Michael would be just as upset if the officers had been black. The problem is a system that continues to permit, sanction and condone the indiscriminate killing of black men and women by people in authority. (Dozens of killings by police in the US are being ruled justified without the public even being notified.) Black Lives Matter is a response to America’s historical disregard for black life.
So the conversation that attempts to pull our attention away from police intentionally killing unarmed men and women is nothing more than a istraction.
Ray means well I am sure, but like so many others who demand that blacks turn a blind eye to the institutional murder of black men and women, he misses the real issue: black people have a right to be outraged over being mistreated at the hands of those who are employed to protect and serve every citizen in every community of our country– both black and white.