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March 28, 2012

The Important Point About Murdered Black Youth

Juan Williams wrote a brilliant column today about what gets overlooked in all the outrage over the Trayvon Martin incident. In particular, he highlights some statistics about the murder of African-Americans.

The most recent comprehensive study on black-on-black crime from the Justice Department should have been a clarion call for the black community to take action. There is no reason to believe that the trends it reported have decreased since 2005, the year for which the data were reported.

Almost one half of the nation's murder victims that year were black and a majority of them were between the ages of 17 and 29. Black people accounted for 13% of the total U.S. population in 2005. Yet they were the victims of 49% of all the nation's murders. And 93% of black murder victims were killed by other black people, according to the same report.

Is there a war on young black men that is leaving a trail of dead bodies? Yes there is – but it is accompanied by a war on young black women, and older African-Americans as well. And the perpetrators of the violence are not KKK sheetheads and neo-Nazi pansies, nor are they Tea Party members or registered Republicans. The killers are other blacks – generally young and male, members of that same 17 to 29 age group that are so often the victim of the violence. The reality of the shooting of Trayvon Martin is that his death by violence at a young age is surprisingly common – the unusual part is that the person who killed him did not look like him. Can’t we as a society – and the African-American community in particular – get all excited about the barrels of black blood spilled by other African-Americans? Or, in the words of Atty. General Holder in a very different context, do we lack the courage to have this frank conversation about race?





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