We all know by now that George Zimmerman was found not guilty on all charges earlier this week. Across the nation, people of all races and nationalities voiced their opinions. A majority of the black and/or African American community feel wronged by verdict. Some, like radio talkshow host Tom Joyner, tried to make the best out of the situation, and announced that he would be offering Trayvon’s friend, who took the stand during the trial, a full scholarship to any HBCU college she chooses. Others, like Stevie Wonder, told the media that he will no longer be going to or performing in any state or land where the Stand Your Ground law is in place. There have been claims that president Barack Obama has taken the nessasary steps to file a civil suit against Zimmerman, and the NAACP apparently has over 1 million signatures in a petition asking for the suit as well.
But, as the African American community voices its opinion, there is an opposing argument that has gained some popularity. Many people believe that the not guilty verdict should be the end of the Trayvon Martin case. They argue that the African American community doesn’t deserve to be so outraged. And they’ve got the statistics to prove it. Three startling statistics have begun floating around, and they are the backbone of many people’s argument that the African American community is setting a double standard. What are these statistics?
1. 93% of all African Americans killed are killed by other Africcan Americans.
2. In the year between Trayvon Martin’s death and Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict, more than 10,000 African Americans were killeed by other African Americans.
3. In the year since Trayvon Martin’s death, more than 700 African Americans in Chicago have been killed by other African Americans.
When I first heard these statistics, I was shocked and startled. BUT statistics, while helpful, are more often than not used as a weapon. And this is why I am writing today. Not to defend Trayvon Martin, not to defend African Americans, but to explain how statistics, even when true and done by credible organizations, can be used to mislead or exaggerate a point.
Firstly, whenever you see a statistic, you should approach it with a critical attitude. You must assume that even if the statistic is correct, that it is being used to bolster an argument with bias, and that the statistic itself may not be the issue, but it may help conceal the issue. So when I first looked at these statistics, I immediatly got hung up on the first one. 93% is staggering. But it wasn’t until I got to the second statistic that I was really able to wrap my head around this. These statistics highlight black deaths and black violence. But they give no comparison to other races. So I did some of my own digging around, and found 2012 statistics that, when compared to the other three, make them much less shocking.
According to Justice Department statistics 84 percent of white people killed every year are killed by other whites.
With respect to aggravated assault, whites led blacks 2-1 in arrests; in forcible-rape cases, whites led all racial and ethnic groups by more than 2-1. And in larceny theft, whites led blacks, again, more than 2-1.
While a white person is far more likely to be victimized by a black than the other way around (21% vs. 7%), the chances are three times as great that a white person will be victimized by another white than by a black.
blacks responsible for more murders and robberies (55% and 61% of these crimes, respectively).
whites committing more rapes and aggravated assaults (56% and 60%).
(Most of these came from CNN by the way)
So, while there is a large amount of black on black crime happening, it is not much more than the white on white crime taking place. The same goes for all other races as well, I just didn’t want to drown you in statistics. The statistics I posted also tell a bigger story: we’re not as different as we think. The media paints blacks as these violent murder crazed people, who victimize the rest of the free world. And this simply is not true. We, as Americans, and as humans, are violent. But, just to drive home my point, i want to give you one more thing to think about.
John Wayne Gacy: This man owned a construction company, and would hire teenage boys. He would then take them to his house, dress up as an evil clown, tourtured & killed them, and buried them in the crawl space under his house. He was proven to have killed 33, but could’ve done much more than that.
Ted Bundy: Confessed to killing 35 people, but estimates run as high as 100. Sometimes he snuck into peoples houses at night and beat them to death. Other times he kidnapped women, killed them, then returned to the rotting body for hours to groom or perform sexual acts with them until they decomposed. The police finally caught him, and he escaped prison twice, and commited additional assaults and murders.
Gary ridgeway: The “Green River Killer”, and most prolific serial killer in US history, confessed to killing 71 women, but may have killed more than 90. He was killing for more than 17 years before they finally caught him. And yes he had a wife at home who knew nothing about it.
None of these men are black, just in case you missed that. I’m not saying black people are less violent than white people. I’m just saying maybe we should spend less time worrying about the Chicago gang members killing each other and more time worrying about the evil clown raping and killing hardworking teens or the truck painter out strangling prostitutes by the river.