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Black Criminals Fit the Racial Profile
7/17/2013 1:52:15 PM

By Barney Blakeney 

Reading a recent news story about comments made by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg regarding racial profiling by the city’s police officers brings out a point I think Black folks would be wise to pursue - a lot of the focus Blacks attract from police comes because Blacks commit a lot of crime. 

That’s not to say that other folks don’t commit crimes, they do. But when it comes to street crimes that most adversely impact Black communities, we’re our own worse enemies. 

During a weekly radio program addressing the controversy in his city over the disproportionate number of stops police make involving Blacks and Hispanics as compared to those involving whites, Bloomberg said New York cops don’t stop Blacks enough if you consider statistics that show how many crimes are committed by Blacks. 

As an example, Bloomberg cited that 90 percent of the city’s homicides are committed by Black perpetrators. Of course, Bloomberg is being roundly criticized for the remarks.
His critics say the mayor is insensitive because Blacks and Hispanics comprise 87 percent of those stopped by police when they only comprise 54 percent of the city’s population. 

Closer to home some folks have raised similar arguments about police stops and their outcomes. 

Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote a story about the disproportionate number of Blacks arrested for marijuana possession because of police racial profiling. And of course, any time you talk to Charleston and North Charleston NAACP officials, police racial profiling is a consistent complaint. 

I wrote a story about a year ago showing that North Charleston police indeed do stop Black motorists at a disproportionate rate compared to white motorists. 

Don’t get me wrong, police racial profiling is a problem that adversely impacts Blacks. But as the Black community argues that issue, we should not forget a more overwhelming issue - that crime in Black communities is at unacceptable levels. 

Every year when I do homicide wrap-ups for the Charleston County, I find that 80 percent of the murders committed involve Black victims killed by Black suspects. In big cities like Chicago, Ill. and Washington, D.C., the number of Black on Black homicides is astronomical. 

And what are Black folks worried about? How many Black folks get stopped by the police.
Again, police racial profiling is a problem, but Black folks must begin to more seriously address the crime in our communities.

Black crime has become so prevalent, as during slavery, we’re adapting to the social dysfunction. 

Right now, I can think of a bunch of Black families that have lost a Black male member to Black on Black homicide. In some families, two or more Black male siblings have fallen victim to homicide. And it’s common for Black families to have at least one male member incarcerated. 

We have adapted. I remember one mother saying she was unmoved by her son’s incarceration. “At least now I know where he is,” she said. “And he’s getting three hots and a cot.” 

I don’t think that Black people choose to live in an atmosphere of crime. Our society is designed to produce certain results, criminal activity in the Black community is one of them. Our systems of education and employment are designed to produce the dynamics we see every day in Black communities. 

But Black folks don’t have to allow ourselves to be victimized. Black churches, Black businesses, Black educators and others in the Black community must begin to take action to redirect the energies that have pushed two generations of Black males into lives of crime. 

I am appalled that companies are springing up to manage jails and prisons, some stipulating that they will take local government contracts to operate their jails with the guarantee that those facilities would be fully occupied. 

In short, while Black folks are focused on how many Blacks police stop, others have created an industry based on our criminality. Police racial profiling pays because the cops know that nine times out of 10, if they stop a young Black person - male or female - they’re going to get a charge out of it. 

Our community has to begin to develop strategies to counteract the strategy that only begins with police racial profiling. 

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