Please ignore the crime and violence.
If there was any mention of black mob violence or black on white crime, it was only in passing. Or only to represent the perpetrators as the real victims.
Teenagers, for example, who were kicked out of high school for violence and truancy, were said to be victims of uncaring counselors who threw them into a life of crime by suggesting they go to night school. There was a lot of that: More than 60 percent of black students in Wilmington, Delaware drop out of high school.
As for the real victims, black and white, of the school violence and behavior that disrupted their learning, there was not a word.
Nor did anyone mention how two of the panel members voted for a local city council resolution a few weeks before that declared Wilmington’s black criminals were the real victims: They were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by slavery.
Nor did anyone talk about how, just a few days before, a member of the Nation of Islam bearing a message from Louis Farrakhan, told a roomful of the top elected and political officials in the area, that anyone who talked about crime in Wilmington was doing the work of “the enemy.” And they were trying to discredit the re-election efforts of the city’s black mayor.
These meeting, like similar ones around the country -- cry out for a bit of balance. So let’s take a broader -- but more narrow -- look at some recent events connected to the crime and the jobs that are so popular at so many Black History Month gatherings around the country.
Carroll Jordan might be dead by the time you read this -- a victim of black mob violence.
Jordan is an 86-year-old white man who kept his door unlocked so that his neighbors could check in on him.
Monday a week ago, one of his neighbors -- a black woman -- was doing just that around noon: But when she knocked, an unfamiliar face answered the door. She pushed her way in.
“I walked in and saw Mr. Jordan laying on the other side of his chair,” said the neighbor, who did not want WKRG TV news to identify her. “He was bloody in his face and he was gasping for air. I turned around to the young man and asked him ‘What have you done?’"
They did not stick around to answer. And now police are looking for “three teenage suspects -- all black men around the ages of 18 and 19 years old,” said the WKRG TV news.
Black suspects are often not identified by race in local news reports -- although race is almost always listed in police reports. Many news directors say just naming the race of the suspects does not add much to the description. So using it can only inflame racial tensions.
But in this case, the TV reporter identified the race of the suspects. And today, three of the alleged assailants are in custody. Turns out, race was the only part of the description that was completely accurate: They were not all teenagers. And not all guys. But they were all back.
Police say Jordan was stabbed five or six times in the back. His face was swollen and cut as well from an extensive beating about the head. He is on and off a ventilator and WKRG say his family and friends are “hoping for the best but prepared for the worst.”
A few days later in Minneapolis -- one day before the beginning of Black History Month -- a 20-year-old black man was charged with the home invasion robbery and murder of a 69-year-old grandfather. The alleged assailant’s girlfriend may have been outside. But she has not been charged.
“Sonnenberg, a 69-year-old retired technician known as a Good Samaritan on his block, stepped outside, looked around and ushered the man inside, then was careful to lock the deadbolt.”
“At the stranger’s behest, he called 911. Moments later, Sonnenberg lay on the floor, with a bullet to the head, and the man he had sought to shelter from harm was attacking Sonnenberg’s 68-year-old wife.”
“Police arrived in time to interrupt the midday Friday assault in the small house in the 3700 block of Aldrich Avenue N., but they could do nothing for Sonnenberg, who died of the gunshot wound.”
Minneapolis is a center of frequent and intense black mob violence and black on white crime. Much of it documented in White Girl Bleed a Lot: The Return of Racial Violence and How the Media Ignore It.
The violence is often centered downtown, but sometimes can be found at the nearby Mall of America and campus of the University of Minnesota. Often on video.
In the fall semester of 2013, crime on campus was so bad that thousands of students signed a petition asking for more police protection. One month later in December, six groups of black students and faculty demanded that the University police stop identifying the race of the suspects in these crimes -- which included robberies, assaults, and attempted kidnapping.
Virtually all the suspects in the crimes are black.
The black groups say identifying the race of the perpetrators is racist and makes the black students feel poorly about themselves. And that is more important than reducing crime. They really said that.
The University of Minnesota is a center of teaching of Critical Race Theory: White racism is everywhere. White racism is permanent. A staple of the philosophy is that white people and black people commit crime in the same amount, but because of racism, black people are arrested more often.
But if white people are committing crimes in and around the University of Minnesota campus, so far campus police are keeping it under wraps. And the six different groups of black people have yet to document it.
Omar Neal, the former mayor of Tuskegee, Ala., says black crime and violence will exist as long as leaders ignore the real cause: “The displaced anger" of black males who have been relegated to the margins of society. That is what he told the Ledger-Inquirer, anyway.
In the end, the university did not comply with the groups’ request. But university officials assure everyone that the school is fully committed to diversity. And, uh, whatever.
In San Antonio, the night before the Minneapolis home invasion, Cory Robinson woke up with a fractured skull after a black mob beat him and yelled, “get the white boy” and “knockout.”
He will live. Police are still looking for the 6 to 10 black people responsible.
In Baltimore, just a few hours after Cory Robinson was almost killed by a black mob and still one day away from the official start of Black History Month, two black teenagers were arrested in the stabbing and beating death and home invasion robbery of Kimberly Leto, a white Baltimore restaurant worker.
They are 14 and 16 years old.
This was the second uber-violent crime in that neighborhood in a week: Shortly before murder of Leto, an editor at the Baltimore Sun John Fogg, was attacked when he was getting out of his car and heading for his house just a few blocks away.
His skull is fractured in six places. He lost 10 teeth. The black suspect, in custody, was recently arrested for two other assaults, but charges were dropped before the case came to trial.
The big break in the Leto murder came after finding a fingerprint from Alonzo Gorham-Ramos, the 16-year-old who was arrested for a burglary at the same house six months ago.
At his pre-trial hearing, Gorham-Ramos asked to be released without bail so that he could spend time with his daughter.
It is not as far-fetched of a request as it may seem. Last year, during a spike in black mob violence in Baltimore, the Governor suggested the Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake start increasing police patrols. Rawlings-Blake curtly told the governor -- who himself is a former mayor of Baltimore -- that mass incarceration was not an effective crime fighting strategy.
That is why arrests in Baltimore have gone from 100,000 per year to 50,000, she said.
David Simon, liberal icon and creator of the Baltimore-based TV show The Wire, said last year in his book that black juries in Baltimore and elsewhere are reluctant to convict black criminals. They call it racial jury nullification and it happens all over the country.
So while Mayor Rawlings-Blake and others say black people are victims of an unfair criminal justice system that has led to such a disproportionate number of black people behind bars, others point to the advantages black criminals are carrying into Black History Month 2014:
1) Black people in black neighborhoods are reluctant to report crime. Some out of fear of retaliation. Others, like MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, out of fear of the real criminals: the police.
“We have an under-reporting of rape and domestic violence in African American communities,” she said on her show, “because we know the violence enacted on black men by police, so we often don’t call. Right?”
2) Now cities like Baltimore and New York have made it a policy to arrest fewer people.
3) And if someone does call, and if someone is arrested, black juries are more reluctant to convict.
In the first week of Black History Month, Tracey Helvorsen set Baltimore abuzz with an article about crime, and how people in her white neighborhood live in constant fear. Critics at dozens of news sites around the town excoriated her article as an example of white privilege: Only white people think they are entitled to live in a safe neighborhood.
Indianapolis started Black History Month with large-scale black mob violence downtown during the first two weekends of the month. In the latest episode, hundreds of people were fighting and three officers were injured.
Indianapolis – especially downtown – is the scene of frequent and intense black mob violence – including dozens of episodes from the annual Black Expo, the largest gathering of its kind in America.
There are examples from Austin, Norfolk, College Park (Pennsylvania), and other spots. But let’s get to the one area that many people still say is causing this violence and mayhem: Jobs.
If there is one thing that solves crime -- everyone at the Black History Forum agreed -- it is jobs.
So you might think that many people in Wilmington -- a predominantly black city of 70,000 that is regularly mentioned as one of the most dangerous in America -- would welcome a new company that wanted to spend $250 million to privatize the Port of Wilmington.
Not so. Black city officials and black labor union leaders killed the deal last year after convincing people that the plans for a new port would somehow jeopardize jobs. There was not a word about that from the podium.
But they were in unanimous agreement that the government did need to offer more programs and more free stuff.
Also on the job front, in Portland, Oregon, they kicked off their celebration of Black History Month by kicking a major grocery store chain out of a black neighborhood this week.
City officials had been working with Trader Joe’s for more than a year to convince the grocery store to invest $8 million in a “historically African-American neighborhood.” A high crime neighborhood. The kind of place that First Lady Michelle Obama calls a “food desert” because large grocery stories will not open there.
But Trader Joe’s pulled out, said the Associated Press, after the Portland African American Leadership Forum said it would "Remain opposed to any development in N/NE Portland that does not primarily benefit the Black community." It said the grocery-store development would "increase the desirability of the neighborhood," for "non-oppressed populations."
Translation: White women love Trader Joe’s.
Members of the black group said they would rather have other kinds of free stuff. And whoever builds whatever goes in the former Trader Joe’s site should be forced to sign a contract making sure black people get preferential treatment for the building and operating of it.
This is hardly unique to Portland. The San Francisco Chronicle recently published the news about troublesome white people in Oakland who wanted to move into a black neighborhood and start a business or fix up a house or even plant a garden.
The headline says it all: “Fear white influx will erase West Oakland history.”
“It hurts. I’m not going to say I’m content with this," said Leander Muhammed, 34, a third-generation West Oakland resident who runs after-school and sports programs for kids in the neighborhood. "Suddenly there’s nonprofits and community gardens on every corner. Community gardens? I don’t get it – my granny was planting collards and tomatoes here for decades. It all seems crazy to me.”
Or as the Washington Post puts it: White people moving into a black neighborhood means that “a historically disadvantaged people has been disadvantaged once again.” Dr. Cornel West calls it the “New Jim Crow.”
A version of the story of how white people are ruining black neighborhoods has appeared in every major paper in the country. They call it gentrification.
Out in Wisconsin, public school officials are promoting a conference next month to “attract teachers, university faculty, activists and high school and college students" to “dismantle this system of white supremacy, white privilege and oppression.”
Organizers of the White Privilege Conference are expecting 2000 people at the four-day event, which is in its 15th year of exposing “white supremacy and white privilege.”
Back at the Black History Forum in Delaware, U.S. Senator Chris Coons concluded his remarks by asking the mixed race audience to pray for Republicans because they are trying to take away the right to vote from black people.
Everyone agreed to do so.
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