Earlier this week I had a conversation with a friend, a very conservative Republican, about the Stop and Frisk ruling. His comment to me was "I can't understand how you and other liberals can applaud the ruling. Don't you realize that you have condemned the youth you supposedly support to an uncertain future? Don't you realize how many African American and Latino youth are going to be killed because this ruling handcuffs the police and does not allow them to do their job?"
I've known this person for years and would be one of the first to say that he doesn't have racist bone in his body. That being said it goes to show how misinformed many people are and how little they know about what it really means to be an African American. His comments to me sounded like something I could have heard by watching FOX News.
So now all of a sudden there's a concern about the lives of African American youth? Is that really the case? I don't need to share the statistics. It's a well known fact that Stop and Frisk did not yield the results that it's proponents touted. When looking at the broader picture Stop and Frisk did accomplish something, it instilled fear. The same fear that the overseer used to control the master's slaves. The fear of control. The fear among many youths that they better stay in line or else they'll end up becoming part of the system.
Further into our discussion my friend said that it's not racial profiling because of the high percentage crime in the communities in question. He went on to say that Black on Black crime is a major issue and I should be happy the NYPD is trying to do something to reduce it. My response was "well thank you for caring but you're way off the mark".
While we're on the subject let's have an honest discussion about Black on Black crime. If you listen to the media you would think that there's no other crime going on. Jamelle Boule's writes in his article in The Daily Beast:
"But there’s a huge problem with attempt to shift the conversation: There’s no such thing as “black-on-black” crime. Yes, from 1976 to 2005, 94 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders, but that racial exclusivity was also true for white victims of violent crime—86 percent were killed by white offenders. Indeed, for the large majority of crimes, you’ll find that victims and offenders share a racial identity, or have some prior relationship to each other".
These statistics are from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports
The media portrayal of Black on Black crime only fuels the misconception that there is a pandemic in the African American community. This misconception is at the least the basis behind Stop and Frisk. We allow these perceptions to grow when we do not challenge the concept of Black on Black crime.
It's time for us to stop talking about Black on Black crime and start talking about crime period. While we're at it let's talk about all of the socio-economic conditions that put our youths at risk also.
It starts now, let's get this thing done....
Ernest R. Heyward is the Founder and President of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility Inc.