The stories of a pair of 17-year-old black men tells us that we are badly off track in dealing with racial issues.
One is Shawn Tyson, convicted three weeks ago of murdering two British tourists last year who had wandered into his Newtown neighborhood in the early morning hours. The second is Trayvon Martin, who was killed by a Hispanic man in Sanford for apparently looking suspicious. In neither case are we sure of the motives.
Both are tragedies. But hardly alone. In fact, they are not drops in the murder tsunami in this country, in which blacks are the primary victims and the primary perpetrators.
In Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day, 10 blacks were killed — one a 6-year-old girl sitting on her porch. But there was no outrage. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton did not take their traveling grievance circus to town. It seems safe to say that if Trayvon Martin would have looked like one of my sons, President Barack Obama never would have noticed the crime, let alone insert himself into it.
The obvious lesson seems to be that interracial crime is a more grievous act than intraracial crime — even when intent and racism is not clear. But that is nonsense, the antithesis of what Martin Luther King Jr. dreamt of on the Washington Mall.
Indeed, it is more dangerous than nonsense. It is keeping race relations from improving. It is feeding the racial tensions that linger much longer than they should because there are those whose power and wealth feed off it. Jackson, Sharpton, the NAACP, etc. would need to get actual jobs if race relations settled into a calm peacefulness that would be good for everyone. So they stoke them. I hate to sound so morbid about people’s intentions, but it is hard to read it any other way.
Read Thomas Sowell, senior fellow at the Hoover Institute in Stanford, Calif., who is also black:
“Playing with racial polarization is playing with fire,” Sowell wrote recently. “Race hustlers who hype paranoia and belligerence are doing no favor to minority youngsters. There is no way to know how many of these youngsters’ confrontations with the police or others in authority have been needlessly aggravated by the steady drumbeat of racial hype they have been bombarded with by race hustlers.”
The New Black Panthers, who offered a dead-or-alive bounty for Trayvon’s shooter and who shockingly are protected by Attorney General Eric Holder, plus the Jacksons and Sharptons, seem to want to return to Jim Crow, but just flip whose in charge. So a case of a white (sort of) killing an unarmed black is ratcheted up to a national fever, with charges that it is “open season” on whites killing blacks.
But that is 100% wrong.
The danger to black males is from other black males, according to FBI stats. Young blacks are seven times more likely to die of homicide than young whites and Hispanics. And young blacks kill at 10 times the rate of young whites and Hispanics. There are about two-and-a-half times as many white and Hispanic victims of black killers as there were black victims of white and Hispanic killers.
But the problem is not really racial anymore, or largely not. And this is where some people will flip out.
It is moral.
More than 73% of black children are born out of wedlock. The black family is on life support. The black churches are not vibrant like they used to be. The black father raising his children with the mother of all of them is an endangered species and almost nowhere to be found in the Newtowns of our country.
Yet the stats are roughly the same for poor white women, who have children out of wedlock at about 70% and whose sons commit violent crimes at much higher rates than sons born to married couples.
Want to save young black men from getting killed or becoming killers? Tell them and their girlfriends not to have sex until married and to get back in church. Education, jobs, stability, obeying laws, moving up in the world.
It’s all there waiting.
Rod Thomson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.