I know that it especially outrageous when an agent of the law breaks the law and kills a citizen, just as it is especially outrageous when a priest abuses a child. But I am puzzled about the complete lack of outrage about the c. 90%+ of killings that involved a black male killing a black male. (See Post about caveats; but still true.)
Several decades ago, I was on a jury in a murder case. The facts were not in question.
In West Baltimore, a party was going on on a row house porch. A kid whose nickname was PeeWee (and the nickname fit; we saw him in court and he was small) walked by and the partygoers started taunting him. He started crying and went home and told his big brother who came the party and told them to lay off his little brother. As the big brother turned to leave, the killer stabbed him in the back through the heart.
The house was just around the corner from Bon Secours Hospital, and the victim made it to the emergency room, where he died. The police followed the trail of blood back to the house where the party was still going on and arrested the killer. There were witnesses.
The public defender at first said he would talk about a knife fight; but nothing came of that. He concluded by begging us not to send another black man to prison.
The victim was not exactly an outstanding citizen he had a long record, which was allowed to be read at the trial.
The state asked for a conviction for first degree murder.
The jury consisted of ten middle aged black women, a white man in his sixties, and myself, who was then in my thirties.
We polled. The black women all voted to acquit. One explained “He didn’t mean to hurt him.”
I was outraged. It was like a scene from Twelve Angry Men. I pounded on the table and said I would die in that jury room but I was not going to vote to acquit. We fought and yelled and walked around. After five hours the forewoman told the judge we had a hung jury. The judge read us the definitions of first- and second-degree murder and asked us to try again. I wanted first, but I announced I was never going to vote to acquit, but I would consider second (premeditation was the difference). After a few more hours of arguing the black women reluctantly voted for second.
But why was I, a white male, the one who was outraged? Why didn’t the black women seem to care. Every year 300 black men in Baltimore are murdered by other black men and no one says boo. One black male in murdered by a white policeman (outrageous, I fully agree, although it sounds like it may have been more personal than racial hostility; they had been coworkers) and the country tears itself apart.
Rod Dreher quotes an African-American linguist John McWhorter about the new American religion of the chattering classes: Antiracism.
That religion is antiracism. Of course, most consider antiracism a position, or evidence of morality. However, in 2015, among educated Americans especially, Antiracism—it seriously merits capitalization at this point—is now what any naïve, unbiased anthropologist would describe as a new and increasingly dominant religion. It is what we worship, as sincerely and fervently as many worship God and Jesus and, among most Blue State Americans, more so.
Therefore, only whites (or maybe black police) can do anything wrong:
Antiracism as religion has its downsides. It encourages an idea that racism in its various guises must be behind anything bad for black people, which is massively oversimplified in 2015. For example, it is thrilling to see the fierce, relentless patrolling, assisted by social media, that the young black activists covered in a recent New York Times Magazine piece have been doing to call attention to cops’ abuse of black people. That problem is real and must be fixed, as I have written about frequently, often to the irritation of the Right. However, imagine if there were a squadron of young black people just as bright, angry and relentless devoted to smoking out the bad apples in poor black neighborhoods once and for all, in alliance with the police forces often dedicated to exactly that? I fear we’ll never see it—Antiracism creed forces attention to the rogue cops regardless of whether they are the main problem.
Bien pensant whites have this new religion. But why aren’t blacks outraged by the murders in their own community? Are the facts too painful to face: that the chances of a black being murdered by another black rather than a white are more than 10 to 1, probably 100 to 1 in Baltimore City)? I understand that blacks may feel shame, just as I feel shame about abusive priests. But refusing to face facts doesn’t make them go away. Abusive priests, venal and corrupt bishops and cardinals, incompetent and willfully blind popes were the facts I had to face, and it hurt. But living in a fantasy world will not protect children. Living in a fantasy world in which white cops are the only threat to black males will not end the thousands of black-on-black homicides each year.
What will? I don’t know, but destroying our cities will not help the black inhabitants. Rich whites move to the suburbs and gated communities, and businesses and jobs and supermarkets and decent schools remain out of reach of the people who need them most. And it is in Democratic-controlled states and cities that both police brutality and riots occur. The Times and Post are both convinced that the electorate will see how wonderful a job the Democrats have done in Minneapolis and New York and will turn over the entire national government to them in a massive blue wave in November. We shall see. Religion can make one blind to reality.