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Columbia scholars ignore black on black crime, blame ‘racism’ for murders

Gun control, ‘green spaces’ suggested as solutions to black women high murder rate 

Black women might be murdered at higher rates than white women due to racism, a trio of Columbia University academics suggested recently.

They ignore that most black women are killed by other black people, although they discuss the influence of “intimate partner violence” on the disparities.

The professors examined murder data from 30 states covering the years 1999 to 2020 and concluded “Black women aged 25–44 years are disproportionately murdered compared with their White counterparts.”

“Although Black women represent only 10% of the overall female population, they account for 59% of murders in the USA,” researchers Bernadine Waller, Victoria Joseph, and Katherine Keyes, wrote in The Lancet on Feb. 8.

Waller is a research fellow, Joseph is an analyst, and Keyes is a professor. The National Institutes of Health funded the report.

The professors suggested gun control and more “green spaces” as ways to alleviate the murders. “Enacting federal legislation that reduces gun access is a crucial step,” the professors. They also suggested more spending on affordable housing to address inequalities that might be caused by racism.

They wrote:

Structural racism might provide insight as to why Black women, regardless of their ethnicity, face disproportionately high rates of homicide. Structural racism is institutionalised and offers a comprehensive societal understanding of the pernicious, mutually reinforcing systems that strengthen discriminatory beliefs, values, and distribution of resources. Specifically, educational attainment, employment, poverty, residential segregation, and home ownership are well known indicators influencing disproportionately high rates of homicide in areas where Black women largely reside. Structural racism also underscores many of the psychosocial framings for homicide inequities, including inequalities in education, income, and scarcity.

The professors also note the “Ferguson effect” as a possible factor. “The Black community has a tenuous relationship with the criminal legal system, evidenced in highly publicised abuses ranging from overcriminalisation and harsher penalties to unrestrained police misconduct that largely goes unpunished,” the professors wrote.

This breakdown of trust has “resulted in a general refusal to engage with law enforcement during IPV victimisation even when Black women believe their lives are in imminent danger.”

This is one take on the “Ferguson effect,” which usually refers to the idea that a pullback in proactive policing following the controversial killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has led to more violent crime.

But an analysis claiming “racism” must confront the truth that black women are far more likely to be killed by a black person than a white person. That is obviously not the fault of the murder victim, but it undercuts the racism argument.

In 1999, for example, there were 2,869 black murder victims according to Federal Bureau of Investigation data. Of those, 2,674 of the offenders were black.

A Department of Justice report, spanning 1980 to 2008, found similar statistics. During that nearly three-decade period, “93% of black victims were killed by blacks” while “84% of white victims were killed by whites.”

If you’re reading this and you find this hard to believe – white people must be out there carrying out murders against black women – consider how your news intake might be distorted. The coverage of this Lancet story tells it all.

Axios: “Black women six times more likely to be slain than white women: study”

The Hill: “Black women six times more likely to be killed than white women: Report”

U.S. News and World Report: “Murder Rate for U.S. Black Women Is 6 Times That of Whites.”

Murder, against anyone, must be condemned.

But blaming “racism,” for black-on-black crime does nothing to hold offenders responsible – nor does it prevent future murders. Black murder victims deserve better than to have their deaths chalked up to “racism.”

MORE: University hate crime report leaves out that 90 percent of NYC arrestees are black or Latino

IMAGE: Eva Carre/ Shutterstock

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.