Do blacks care about black on black crime?

Often when a cop comes under scrutiny for shooting a young black man, I hear some version of the following argument, "Blacks are only angry when a cop kills one of there own. But they don't care about black on black crime, which is way more common."

With all due respect to commenter IrishPirate, I knew it was only a matter of time before such an argument was made:

...as to the comment about this not being the first black man killed in Oakland by Police recently I believe that. I also wonder what the ratio is of police shooting black men in Oakland to black men shooting black men in Oakland.

My guess it's fewer than 1 police shooting to 100 other shootings. Assuming Oakland is anything like Chicago.

It always amazes me how much anger there is in the black community regarding police involved shootings. You can get a dozen reverends and "community leaders" to show up to protest ANY police involved shooting. Whether it is justified or clearly unjustified as this Oakland shooting is.

Yet hold a protest for some dead innocent kid killed by a gangbanger and few show up. Partly it's because other types of shootings are so common I guess. Partly it's because it's easier to focus on the police as being the main problem in the black community and not the fucked up standards that exist among elements in the black community.

I recall Michelle Obama being asked if she feared for Barack's safety. She said something to the effect of "he's a black man, he might get shot at the gas station".

Now there was a comment that everyone hates police worldwide. I agree. There's a reason for that. Human nature. Yet who do folks call when they are in trouble? Who runs to the sound of gunfire while others flee?

It's interesting to me how Irish interprets that Obama's comment. I heard that comment and assumed she was talking about getting shot by someone trying to rob him. But be that as it may, the sentiment that black people are unconcerned about black on black crime is simply wrong.

Anyone who lives in any hood, of any sort, has been treated to one of those "Increase The Peace" marches. I date back to "Self-Destruction" and "We're All In the Same Gang
--released at the height of hip-hop's black nationalist phase--concerned, not with cops, but with black people killing black people. I spent most of last year following Bill Cosby around to standing room only rallies in Detroit, Birmingham and Baltimore, talking to people who were pissed off by a variety of social maladies. Number one amongst them all--the murder rate among black men. That year, black men in Philly came up with a plan for the community to patrol the corners.

It is true that a police killing will draw more headlines--but that has more to do with the MSM considers a story, and what it doesnt, than with what black people care about. The fact that people are pissed that a cop shot a man face down on the pavement, doesn't mean that they also aren't pissed about shit like this. I'm black, and I know I am. Walk and chew gum, people. That's the motto this year.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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