Last week, while walking through Union Square in Manhattan, 62-year-old Jeffrey Babbitt, a retired train conductor who was the caretaker for his 94-year-old mother, was killed by Lashawn Marten, a black man over 20 years his junior who declared his intention just seconds before he punched Babbitt in the head to hurt the first white person he encountered.
Two days later, a white passenger on a bus passing through Harlem was assaulted by another passenger for being a “cracker.” The 31-year-old assailant struck his victim so hard that, according to the New York Post, “he smashed the bones in his face,” “breaking his nose and eye socket.”
Both the rate and ferocity of black-on-white violence is nothing short of a national scandal. All decent Americans, and certainly all those who claim to care about race relations, should be as attentive to and concerned about this phenomenon as they are attentive to and concerned about anything else.
Not everyone sees it this way. Below are three objections that are commonly stated.
Objection #1: Blacks don’t have a monopoly on violence and whites don’t have a monopoly on being the victims of violence. Violence is part of the human condition. So, why should we attach more importance to this kind of violence than we attach to all sorts of other kinds?
Reply: Of course, what is said here is true. Still, that blacks constitute a small minority of America and yet comprise, overwhelmingly, the majority of perpetrators of interracial crime is, or should be, more than enough to convince the thoughtful that black-on-white violence is a very real problem.
Moreover, it isn’t just the interracial violence here itself that is a grave cause of concern, but the especially savage character that this violence all too often assumes. Just a cursory perusal of any random selection of black-on-white attacks readily reveals the mercilessness that an alarming number of black predators show toward their white prey.
Objection #2: Granted, black-on-white violence is a reality, but it is a reality begotten by a legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. If there are blacks who hate whites, it is because there were first whites who hated blacks. As the title of a 1960s television broadcast on The Nation of Islam put it, black animus toward whites is “the hate that hate produced.”
Reply: As scholars black, white, and other have repeatedly demonstrated, the dysfunction that marks the black underclass today was either non-existent or far less pronounced in years past—i.e. at times not as far removed from slavery and during which racial discrimination against blacks was both more ubiquitous and more overt.
This consideration aside, if the proponents of this objection were made to say aloud the implications of their position, the shame and ridicule that it invites just might force them to abandon it.
According to this line of reasoning, the following victims of black-on-white violence would still be alive and unharmed had it not been for a history of racial oppression:
-Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom, a young white couple that had been abducted, repeatedly raped, tortured, and murdered by five blacks;
-Brad Heyka, Jason Befort, Aaron Sander, and Heather Muller, four whites who were robbed, beaten, sexual humiliated, raped, and murdered by two black brothers;
-Kristen Huggins, a 22-year-old college graduate and aspiring artist who was carjacked, sodomized, robbed, and killed by a bullet to her head fired by a black career criminal;
-Antonio Santiago, a 17-month-old baby shot dead in the face by two black thugs;
-Jonathan Foster, a 12-year-old white boy taken from his home and killed by a blowtorch wielding black woman;
-Delbert Benton, an 89-year-old WWII veteran beaten to death by two black teenagers; and
-Fannie Gumbinger, a 99-year-old woman beaten to death by a 20-year-old black man who burglarized her home.
It is with the greatest of ease that to this list, scores of other names could be added. But the point is this: If “the legacy of slavery and discrimination” argument is to be believed, then we are expected to believe that in the absence of this “legacy,” legions of innocent white children, white women, and the elderly who have been brutalized by black thugs would be with us today.
Objection #3: The race of the perpetrators and victims of these horrible crimes is irrelevant.
Reply: If this is true, then so too is race irrelevant while discussing America’s past. After all, if it is slavery that is immoral, then the races of master and slave are immaterial. And if it is immoral to segregate people along the lines of race, then it is irrelevant whether the segregationists are white or non-white.
There is no point mentioning that the Ku Klux Klan consisted of white supremacists who sought to torment blacks. Deserving of condemnation is not white supremacy, but any sort of supremacy, not the tormenting of blacks, but the tormenting of anyone.
But if race is relevant to discussions of American slavery and segregation, then it most certainly is relevant to speak of race in connection with most interracial violence in America at present.
And it most certainly is mandatory that all morally committed people start assigning this issue the priority that it deserves.
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