NAACP president Benjamin Jealous said that the verdict in the George Zimmerman case is a sign that African-Americans face “times of great peril.” However, if there is a peril, Mr. Jealous should look to his own community for the cause. Most of the time when a murder victim is black, the perpetrator is not a “creepy ass cracker.”
Mr. Jealous wants people to believe that the isolated incident in Sanford, Florida proves there is an epidemic of white (or white-Hispanic) -on-black violence. He said blacks “feel it every time we see one of our young sons … walk out the door and pull his hoodie up.” But black parents should not primarily be worried about white people gunning down their kids. According to the most recent (2011) FBI statistics, of the 2,695 murders in which the victim was black, 91% were committed by people of the same race. Whites and white-Hispanics were the perpetrator in only 193 (7%) cases. Odds are if the victim was wearing a hoodie, the perp was too.
The same pattern of intra-racial violence holds for whites. Eighty-three percent of white murders in 2011 were within-race killings, and only 14% were black on white. These data tell us that murder in America is decidedly not a matter of racial hatred.
Explicitly racially motivated murders can and do occur. SiriusXM radio host Joe Madison called the killing of Trayvon Martin “nothing more than a modern day lynching.” But racial hate killings are exceedingly rare in this country. According to FBI hate crime statistics, there was only one murder or negligent manslaughter in 2011 that could be traced to anti-black sentiment. Just one. This is not exactly the wave of racial animus some commentators and social activists have warned us about.
But these same activists are spurring a wave of racially-charged violence, justifying it by the Zimmerman verdict. Blacks beat an innocent Hispanic man in Balitmore saying it is “for Trayvon.” Protestors in Los Angeles and Oakland blocked major thoroughfares. Twitter has been buzzing for weeks with people threatening to start riots over the verdict if it didn’t go the way they wanted. If Americans are in great peril it will be because of these hooligans, and the irresponsible race-baiters who cheer them on.
James S. Robbins is Deputy Editor of Rare and author of Native Americans: Patriotism, Exceptionalism, and the New American Identity. Follow him on Twitter @James_Robbins