Listening to the audio book of Fire on the

Listening to the audio book of Fire on the Prairie, which is an excellent book read by a terrible narrator.  Get it in print.

Anyway, I wanted to find a cite for a statistic that’s mentioned in it, because it startled me in one of those this-shouldn’t-startle-you-Nick sort of ways.  One of those moments where one realizes ones own subtle racism.

Anyway, found a reference here which had a slightly different number but is close enough:

The term “black on black” crime is a destructive, racialized colloquialism that perpetuates an idea that blacks are somehow more prone to violence. This is untrue and fully verifiable by FBI, DOJ and census(pdf) data. Yet the fallacy is so fixed that even African Americans have come to believe it.

What Will, Steele and O’Reilly failed to mention is the exacting truth that white Americans are just as likely to be killed by other whites. According to Justice Department statistics (pdf), 84 percent of white people killed every year are killed by other whites.

Look, I try, but I had no idea how staggeringly more likely it was for a white person to be victimized by another white person.  Despite it being obvious with a moment’s thought.  Despite the only time I’ve ever been a victim of a real crime, it having been perpetrated by a guy who looked like me (eerily so, down to the goatee and windbreaker at the time). I’d just never checked.

Every time I find another one of these, it’s a shock.  There must be a million more in there, little toxic pods leaching poison in my mind. That part of my brain that throws up a black face when the word “thug” is uttered.  The part that’s relieved when I walk into a Mexican restaurant and there’s at least one other non-Hispanic white person. The bit that thinks “black on black crime” is an understandable result of economic conditions but never gets around to asking whether it’s actually a thing at all in comparison to anyone else.

There is ugliness in me. I’ll never be done digging it out.


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