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.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.
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.
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.