Over the past decade, there has been a notion of a systemic targeting, incarceration and killing of young blacks in the United States. It can however be noted that a majority number of victims of homicide and violent crime in relation to the perpetrators are seen to be of the black community. Black on black murder, violence, and crime statistics is higher than the country’s national average (Russell-Brown). Some people argue that black on black murder is a politicized subject and mostly affected by socio-economic and racial biases (Russell-Brown). It would be unfair to dispute the fact that other underlying factors such as family break ups, out of wedlock children amongst others that have brought about the current problem of discussion and the right approaches and solutions.
A case in point is Chicago whereby 75% of homicide victims are blacks and 71% of the perpetrators being blacks themselves despite them comprising only 35% percent of the population in this city (Russell-Brown). The picture is even grimmer given that 97% of these murders were from handguns with the rest coming from stabbings and assaults. In addition, it can be seen that 77% of homicide offenders had previous record convictions (Russell-Brown). Looking at the national average, 37% of the crimes were committed by blacks despite them comprising only about 13% of the entire American population (Russell-Brown). Peering back into history, it is seen that this endemic problem was not so in the 1950,s and 60’s and came about later on when certain factors as socio economic structural oppression and segregation came into play and led this vicious cycle.
Around the 1950’s it can be noted that African Americans were living in middle class sections of the city like their white counterparts in addition to working in professional careers (Schildkraut and Donley 175-196). However, an economic disparity occurred whereby some working professionals that could afford to move to the suburbs did so. Those who could not saw their once thriving city settlements overrun with thugs, drug dealers and addicts, prostitutes amongst other criminal elements mostly comprising of the black community members. This brought about moral decay in these black communities of whose effects were family breakups, single and in some cases abusive parenting which culminated in the current state of cultural and economic disposition (Schildkraut and Donley 175-196).
These social dysfunctionalities and inequalities led to a numerous number of effects in relations to education, health, incarceration, and social capital. Studies have been conducted and it has been found that school going children experience rising anxiety levels and improper cognitive functions in the event of a violent crime occurring (Schildkraut and Donley 175-196). In addition, it can be noted that witnesses of a wave of violent crime usually exhibit a varied range of mental health issues from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, and depression to violent behavior, juvenile delinquency, and poor academic performance amongst others (Schildkraut and Donley 175-196). These effects heavily influence the young black male population of the United States of America.
Another highlighted and critical factor that comes to the fray that is a huge contributor to these huge numbers of homicides in comparison to other racial and ethnic groups is the issue of single parenthood (Schildkraut and Donley 175-196). The breakdown of the African American family in the United States is approximately three times more with birth rate of mothers getting children out of wedlock at an alarming 72% to 80% (Schildkraut and Donley 175-196). Furthermore, these mothers are usually in their teens and thus are not psychologically ready for parenthood. This groups of women usually experience adverse negative social implications as they usually do not earn or qualify to get a steady and sustainable income to assist them in care giving of their young offspring. Therefore, they are usually on the lower quantile of the economic ladder (Russell-Brown).
There is thus the evidence of a huge racial wage gap amongst the black population in America in comparison to their Hispanic and white counterparts. On average, the black working population comprising of both single women and single men are paid 64% and 67% respectively (Schildkraut and Donley 175-196). This is considerably less and in relation to their white counterparts. These underfunded and usually ignored communities therefore have a shortfall of an efficient qualified educational staff and structure. The sub-standard educational standards churn out people who lack the necessary skills to work at meaningful jobs that advance themselves as well as adding value to the communities. These disenfranchised groups of people are usually left with a slim number of options that lead to actions that are synonymous with impoverished and deprived communities (Schildkraut and Donley 175-196).
The element of crime is inculcated by social conditioning in a couple of ways namely via media conditioning and societal norms and values. Data statistics reveal that the black community is the most deprived group clearly lacking a male role model or male figurehead (Schildkraut and Donley 175-196). Illegitimacy in the black community plays a significant role in determining the criminality factor of any young male. This cuts across the board in relation to people in state reform. A recent survey found that 70% were raised in fatherless homes, same as 60% of rapists, 72% of adolescent murderers, and 70% of long-term inmates (Schildkraut and Donley 175-196).
However, there has been a misconception in the media’s portrayal of the blacks. This is done by misrepresenting data metrics without considering the underlying facts and elementary causes. Black people are said to commit more crime per capita in major cities in relation to their white counterparts. However, the F.B.I data findings reveal a completely different picture. A recent study shows that whites committed 59% of the most violent crimes while blacks committed 37% of the violent crimes (Russell-Brown). Moreover, research has shown that economical state is a more fundamental factor in the determination of crime perpetration rather than the race of a people. In a study conducted in Columbus Ohio neighborhoods, it was found that extremely disadvantaged settlements had the same rate of crime none withstanding the racial orientation (Russell-Brown).
It is clear that there is a great psychological and social economic disparity existing amongst the black community that was brought about by a flaw in the African American community, which has contributed deeply to black on black murder, violence, and criminal activities. However, it has to be resolved that a lot of other overlooked issues from economic segregation, social, and psychological elements have not been properly internalized and scrutinized in the formulation of the notions that society in America currently perceive (Schildkraut and Donley 175-196).
- Russell-Brown, Katheryn. The Color of Crime. New York: New York University Press, 2008. Print.
- Schildkraut, J., and A. M. Donley. “Murder in Black: A Media Distortion Analysis of Homicides in Baltimore in 2010”. Homicide Studies 16.2 (2012): 175-196. Web.