Politics & Policy

Young Black Men in the Crosshairs

Protesters in Ferguson, August 12, 2014 (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
And it’s mostly other young black men who are targeting them.

I don’t know what happened in Ferguson, Mo., between the cop and the kid. And neither do you. When I covered hard news, I saw cops who crossed the line and I saw kids who started trouble. So let’s not jump to conclusions.

But what do you think the reaction in Ferguson would have been if the kid who got shot had been black and so was the cop? Or if the kid was white and the cop was black — or white? Do you think there would have been demonstrations and riots and an onslaught of national media?

In a column I recently wrote about the trouble in Gaza, I quoted Victor Davis Hanson (from a piece on NRO) on how the sophisticates in Europe and America wail when Israelis kill Arabs who wage war on them, but are silent when Arabs kill Arabs: “Apparently the West, in racist fashion, assumes that killing one another is what Arabs do best. But when Israelis kill those who wish to kill them, outrage follows.”

It’s pretty much the same when blacks kill blacks, isn’t it? It happens all the time in big cities such as Chicago. No one riots when a black kid kills a black kid. National news organizations don’t show up to do live shots day and night. It’s as if we’re saying: “Blacks killing one another is what blacks do best.” How’s that for racism? Not the old-fashioned KKK kind. No, this is elite-liberal racism, the supposedly softer variety.

And Al Sharpton doesn’t jump on a plane to show up when a black thug kills a white victim. He’s not in business to protest that kind of crime. Some people just can’t get past the bad old days. They need to feel that America is still a country simmering with racist sentiment. They need to feel that black kids are being hunted down like rabid dogs by modern-day Bull Connors. In a perverse way, it makes them feel good — maybe “relevant” is a better word — to think that nothing has changed in America since the March on Selma.

But they are partly right, those who think young black men are in the crosshairs. According to the Justice Department’s latest statistics (2005), although African Americans make up 13 percent of the population, they represent 49 percent of the nation’s homicide victims — and 93 percent of those black victims were killed by other blacks.

That doesn’t mean that all white cops are angels who don’t harbor any racial animus. But when it comes to crime, nasty white cops aren’t what’s plaguing black America.

I’m pretty sure that if George Zimmerman had been black, we’d never know the name Trayvon Martin. And if 18-year-old Michael Brown had been white, we probably wouldn’t know his name, either . . . and neither national news reporters nor the civil-rights establishment would even know what state Ferguson is in.

Members of the African-American elite, along with many white liberals, have said we don’t put enough value on the lives of young black men. They certainly don’t. Or they would have a lot more to say when a black kid gets shot in the street — by another kid who is black.

— Bernard Goldberg is a news and media analyst for Fox News and the author of Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News. His website is BernardGoldberg.com.


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