[Hutchinson] Do Blacks Kill Whites Because They're White? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Hutchinson] Do Blacks Kill Whites Because They're White?

A recent murder trial in Tennessee shows an aspect of violent crime in America that isn't much talked about: Whites are far more likely to be the victims and blacks their assailants in interracial crimes than the other way around.

Last January, Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23, were abducted, robbed, brutally sexually assaulted and then murdered in Knoxville, Tenn. The four defendants charged in the case are black; Christian and Newsom were white.

Beleaguered Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen IV was emphatic in his stern remarks at a press conference in mid-May. There was absolutely no evidence, Owen said, that the murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom were racially motivated.

The chief had to be forceful and direct in his admonition about the torture killing of the young white couple. As the trial of five young blacks charged with the couple's murder approaches, several white supremacist groups have staged noisy protests in Knoxville against what they call the double standard in the case.

They scream that the national press maintains a wall of silence on black-on-white murder cases because it fears inflaming racial tensions, and it's scared stiff that it will be called racist. Yet, when whites assault or murder blacks, the press and civil rights leaders supposedly leap over each other to blare it out as headline news.

This is a false, self-serving and cheap ploy to knock the press and civil rights leaders. However, the gruesome murders of Christian and Newsom do cast a troubling glance at an aspect of violent crime in America that isn't much talked about beyond the rants of white extremists. And that's that whites are far more likely to be the victims and blacks their assailants in interracial crimes than the other way around, and those crimes are seldom, if ever, labeled hate crimes.

In the past five years according to FBI figures, on average there were 1.5 million to 2 million racial crossover crimes in the country. In a well-meaning effort to counter the notion that there's an explosion of black-on-white crime, authorities in Knoxville culled Tennessee Bureau of Investigation stats on violent crimes and noted that in the vast majority of these crimes, whites are more likely to maim and kill other whites, and blacks do the same with other blacks.

Violent crimes in the state and the nation, no matter the color of the victim and perpetrator, have dropped during the past five years. Buried in the stats, though, the report found that black offenders commit four times as many crimes against whites as the reverse. That inadvertently adds fuel to the charge that whites are under assault from blacks.

The president of the Knoxville NAACP swiftly denounced the killings and expressed deep sorrow for the victim's families. Yet, there's some truth to the charge that civil-rights leaders generally don't express outrage at heinous crimes committed by blacks against whites. Many blacks shrug off the crimes with the bitter remark that whites have been killing blacks for years and getting away with it, and there has been no massive explosion of white outrage at the lax treatment of white killers.

The seeming nonchalance of many blacks toward black-on-white crime doesn't mean that blacks are insensitive to victims of crime. They are not. Blacks are far more likely than any other group in America to be the victims of violent crime, and they know first-hand the pain and suffering violent crime causes. They don't color-code crime—crime is crime, no matter the color of the victim or assailant.

There is also no evidence that black criminals target whites because they are white. They target them for their money and valuables. These crimes are almost all cases of garden-variety street crime. Police and prosecutors, in trying to determine whether to prosecute an interracial murder or attack as a hate crime, have to figure out if racial animus caused the crime.

For it to be a hate crime, they have to prove that a black intentionally targeted a white victim solely because of race. That takes hard evidence of racial taunts, threats, writings or statements by the perpetrator to prove race was the motivating factor in the attack. In the absence of that evidence, the charge that the attack was a hate crime won't fly.

The suggestion that the national press engages in a cover-up to quash murders of whites committed by blacks because it's afraid to offend blacks is absurd. The better explanation is that crime news is so routine that unless the accused murderer is O.J. Simpson, Phil Spector, Robert Blake or some other big-name celebrity, there's little chance it's going to be the stuff of endless nightly nationwide newscasts.

Still, black-on-white violence anywhere stirs fear among some whites that crime-prone blacks are out to get them, that blacks will seize any opportunity they can to commit violence against whites. When blacks say or do nothing about these attacks, it is taken by some as a tacit signal that blacks put less value on white lives. This is ridiculous. But white supremacists will still scream loudly that the Knoxville murders of Christian and Newsom proves there's a double standard in interracial murder cases. That scream should be ignored.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a political analyst and social commentator, and the author of the book, "The Emerging Black GOP Majority" (Middle Passage Press), a hard-hitting look at the GOP's courting of black voters.

Previous Comments

ID
75005
Comment

Good column. Earl raised the questions and supplied the answers I would have given therefore I can't add anything except that crime is apparently awful every where. I'm never sad when the intended victim is able to kill the assailant. In fact, I'm happy when this happens.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2007-06-21T08:05:00-06:00
ID
75006
Comment

Great job, Earl.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-06-22T16:05:04-06:00
ID
75007
Comment

I agree with Earl.Could it be that those who are crying racist or hate crime act are using those arguments to futher their hatred agendas. Could it be they think blacks feel like they do about another race?? Makes me think. What about You? I still remember those statements made during the Seale trial, "he's to old" etc.

Author
jada
Date
2007-06-22T16:59:52-06:00
ID
75008
Comment

jada, these people probably think that everyone else thinks like they do, which gives them justification in their minds to continue to perpetuate hate.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-06-22T17:09:32-06:00
ID
75009
Comment

Point well taken L.W.

Author
jada
Date
2007-06-22T17:27:14-06:00

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