Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Media and Black Homicide Victims

From Heather Mac Donald, at National Review:
We know the names of virtually every unarmed black civilian shot by the New York Police Department in recent years — Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Sean Bell — as well we should. To the extent that botched police tactics or training contributed to these tragic killings, the incidents are rightly publicized so that they can be prevented from reoccurring. Here’s the difference between these killings — they are a tiny handful — and the routine black-on-black killings that occur by the dozen every day across the country. The officers who mistakenly shot their victims thinking they were facing a deadly threat set out that morning to protect people, often in minority neighborhoods, not to injure anyone. A significant number of black-on-black shootings, however, like many shootings among all races, are done in cold blood.

Here’s another difference between police killings of blacks, white-on-black killings, and black-on-black killings: Sheer numbers. There were nine civilian victims of police gunfire last year in New York City; there were several hundred black homicide victims in the city, almost all shot by other blacks or Hispanics, none of them given substantial press coverage. Nationwide, in 2005, there were 2,646 black victims of other blacks, compared to 349 black victims of whites or Hispanics. The relative rates of interracial killings are wildly skewed towards black on white killings: There were two and a half times as many white and Hispanic victims of civilian black killers in 2009 as there were black victims of civilian white and Hispanic killers, even though the black population is one-sixth that of whites and Hispanics combined. Yet to read columnists such as the Times’s Charles Blow or to listen to the professional racial extortionists, it is the police and whites who are the biggest threat to blacks, not other blacks.

A further prudential reason why the routine black gangbanger victim gets so little coverage: He is not particularly appealing. Though he had the misfortune of being the victim that day, he could just as easily have been the perpetrator the next day. That is true of many white-on-white homicides as well.