Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is tired of hearing about the disproportionate representation of white police officers in predominantly minority neighborhoods.
Instead, Giuliani wants to talk about the right’s favorite meme when it comes to urban violence: the dangerous myth of black-on-black violence.
Appearing on a Sunday “Meet the Press” segment on the predominance of white police officers in many minority areas, Giuliani assailed the very premise of the discussion.
“The fact is, I find it very disappointing that you’re not discussing that 93 percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks. We’re talking about the exception, here,” he said. “We are talking about the significant exception. Ninety-three percent of blacks are killed by other blacks. I would like to see the attention paid to that that you are paying to this — and the solutions to that,” he later added.
That prompted a sharp rebuke from sociologist Michael Eric Dyson.
“First of all, those black people who commit crimes against other black people go to jail,” Dyson said. “Number two, they are not sworn by the police department as an agent of the state to uphold the law. So in both cases, that’s a false equivalency that the mayor has drawn — which has exacerbated tensions that are deeply embedded in American culture. Black people who kill black people go to jail. White people who are policemen who kill black people do not go to jail.”
“It’s hardly insignificant,” Giuliani thundered. “It is the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community.”
Referring to crime rates in predominantly black neighborhoods, Giuliani said, “Why don’t you cut it down so so many white police officers don’t have to be in black areas?”
As the Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel points out, data from ProPublica indicate that young black men are 21 times more likely than their white counterparts to be killed by police. Moreover, as Vox’s Matthew Yglesias notes, the “black-on-black” crime myth suggests that black people are uniquely predisposed to commit violence against their racial brethren; in fact, 83 percent of white murder victims in 2011 were slain at the hands of other whites.
And it’s the implication that black people are inherently, uniquely violent that makes the “black-on-black” crime myth so pernicious.
“No one has said that crime between African Americans isn’t a problem,” Jamelle Bouie has written. ”The point is that blackness has nothing to do with it. ‘Black-on-black crime’ is a frame that presupposes black criminality—that there’s something inherent to blackness which makes intra-group crime more prevalent and more deadly. But that’s nonsense, and all it does is obscure the history that brought us to this point.”
That’s a whole other conversation.
Watch Giuliani and Dyson spar below, courtesy of NBC: