Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Don’t Kill the White People or They Will March

At least, that’s what the NY Times thinks about New Orleans:
Most of the violence involves black men killing other black men. Out of the 161 homicide victims last year, 131 were black men. Most of the suspects were also black men.

When the pattern of black-on-black violence is occasionally broken, white fear and outrage are redoubled. This happened earlier this month after the killing of a white filmmaker, when thousands of people marched on City Hall to demand change, a majority of them whites.
I think it is accurate to say that the majority (over 50 percent) of the marchers were white. I’m not sure how much over 50 percent, but whites were the majority.

It is *not* accurate to conflate white “fear and outrage” of being killed by a black person with the reason people marched last month.

First of all, I am white. My “fear and outrage” were not “redoubled” when “a white filmmaker” was killed. I honestly don’t think that is possible because my fear and outrage had been maxed out for quite a while before that.

Second, Helen Hill was killed – a woman, a mother, an outstanding member of the community. She was killed and her husband, who shared her good qualities, was also shot. In front of their child.

Whether Helen Hill was white or black, how can you not be outraged by that?

Third, to single out any one murder as the cause of the crime march totally ignores the context in which the march took place. There were 162 murders the previous year in a city with less than half of its population back, which meant a murder rate of somewhere around 70 per 100,000 residents. The last half of 2006 saw almost twice as many murders as the second half.

As the title of the article says, our dysfunctional criminal justice system wasn’t working. Eight days into 2007, there were eight murders. The day after the march, two people were shot in Central City. A day after that, two men were murdered.

Dinerral Shavers – a man, a father, an outstanding member of the community – had been killed only days before Helen Hill. He died by the same violence that he had denounced in his singing. He wasn’t the target of the bullet that killed him.

Whether Dinerral Shavers was white or black, how can you not be outraged by that?

This context is why “thousands of people marched on City Hall to demand change.” It was not an occasional break in “the pattern of black-on-black violence” that sparked the march. It was the absence of a break in the pattern of human-on-human violence for the past year.

Did Helen Hill’s murder receive greater attention than that of a black male teenager shot in Central City? Yes. But I would not say that Helen Hill’s murder should have received *less* attention. I would say a murder of a black Central City teenager should receive *more* attention.

And that was the message for City Hall that day. Every one hurts.

Time to act like it.


Karen said...

Adam Nossiter again...

Leigh C. said...

This kind of stuff burns me up. Crime around here is waaay too big of an issue to be compressed into something about race.

Methinks the old gray lady needs to get schooled...

Donnie McDaniel said...

What a bunch of hacks! The times needs to get with the program.

ashley said...

Damn. We've had this discussion so many times. Somebody ought to hit them square in the head with a ball peen.

NYT: can't see the forest for the trees.

Editor B said...

Actually I thought the article was dissing the black community for not turning out in greater numbers even though the majority of murder victims are black.

mominem said...

The one point they didn't make is the nearly everyone involved in decision making is black.

The Mayor, most of the City Council, the Chief, the DA, the Sheriff.

da po' boy said...

Actually I thought the article was dissing the black community for not turning out in greater numbers even though the majority of murder victims are black.

Rev. Raphael's comments reflect his personal disappointment concerning the march. But, I think the part I quoted from the article implies that the march was by whites, for whites.

The conclusion the author wants the reader to make is: "After a white woman was killed, thousands of white people marched on city hall."

Clifton said...

By the end of the year we could have all worked together to decrease crime by 75% and they would run this same article. They keep talking about the need to help the city but run articles like this and scare the tourist away.

Nightprowlkitty said...

Thank you so much for this great analysis. Adam Nossiter is a wanker. I recently wrote at Daily Kos about one of his previous articles, quoting some demography about declining population levels in NOLA and quoting a retired economist to imply that perhaps it was a "blessing in disguise" that those poor folks who left after Katrina were now in a better position in the diaspora. It was disgusting.

Also, thank you for this wonderful blog. I'm a New Yorker who loves New Orleans and the NOLA blogs are a great revelation for me. It's so difficult for folks outside of the area to get real news on what is going on. The NOLA blogs do a great deal to help us understand.

Loki said...

I want to be you when I grow up! As always you sum it up nicely and intelligently.

As to Nossiter and the mainstream media, fuck 'em. The past 18 months have proved they are useless.
As I stated on Maitri's blog: The media exists to sell commercial time, NOT to inform.

Mr. Clio said...

I've seen Nossiter speak, and I was impressed with him. But he consistently writes articles that render our city unrecognizable.

Last year, he wrote about parades being bascially a white thing and that all the black people were gone.

He didn't watch parades where I was watching them. Maybe he was watching at the Boston Club.