Guest Editorial: Unrealistic expectations regarding crime

Across the country urban politicians are faced with eliminating or reducing crime. Mayors in particular are judged on how well they impact crime. New politicians are always promising they will reduce crime, often touting the employment of more policemen to help in this regard. But this approach seldom works for a number of reasons.

This is a particularly vexing problem in the Black community. For one, with the history of oppression meted out by the dominant white population, Blacks have often been the recipients of unfair criminal justice policies. This started during slavery and has persisted ever since.

The case of Emmett Till, the teenager from Chicago who went to visit his relatives in Mississippi one fateful summer 67 years ago, and met with an incredibly ghastly demise, is an example.

Accused of whistling at a white woman, and flirting, he was killed and was unrecognizable in the open coffin chosen by his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. She wanted people to see the barbarity and viciousness of the crime inflicted on her son. The sight of Emmett Till’s brutalized body shook the nation, especially its Black constituents, to such an extent that the advent of the Civil Rights Movement was partially sparked by this event.

Our knee-jerk reactions to crime ignore some very basic human realities. Most people opine that the reason crime is high is due to a “lack of jobs.” The truth of the matter is that there is a lot of money circulating among criminals, especially if they are affiliated with gangs.

Another point is that the greatest number of murders of musicians in America is occurring among rappers. Many of these musicians have a lot of money, so the murders are not connected with poverty in these instances.

The truth of the matter is that there are people who are naturally inclined to criminality, just as there are those who are altruistic. In other words, some individuals are just naturally predisposed to, or enamored with, criminal behavior.

Another problem is the tendency for people in Black communities to protect criminals. A number of Black people, especially Black men, who are caught and punished for criminal behavior, are protected by the Black community. One of the main tools in this regard is “what-about-isms.” In other words, if Bill Cosby is accused of doping and raping women, the immediate response is “What about Epstein, Weinstein, et al.” (By the way, both of them were brought to justice).

The same what-about-isms are offered for R. Kelly, and just about anyone in the Black community who is charged with a crime. Tory Lanez shot Megan Thee Stallion in the foot, resulting in his incarceration. Now, there are cries for his release.

Young Thug has actually boasted about murdering someone, but the refrain among a large number of observers is to “Free Young Thug.” There is also a move on to “Free Larry Hoover.”

When gangs of Black youth wilded out in downtown Chicago and other communities targeting merchants, some of whom were Black, community people complained and said the youth don’t have enough recreational facilities to keep them busy. This behavior has actually caused some Black businesses to close!

There are a gazillion other examples of the protective, anti-snitching behavior in the Black community, which thwarts the ability of law enforcement to fight crime.

There is a Catch-22 connected with any attempt on the part of authorities, alone, to stop crime. If, for example, the police beef up their activity, the community suffers from overzealous law enforcement personnel and we end up with “George Floyd” situations. On the other hand, when people know who the perpetrators are in the community, the going attitude is “Snitches get stitches,” and they protect the perpetrators via silence.

Chiefly, the Black community faces strong impediments when addressing crime, and any politician who campaigns on a platform of “reducing crime” is whistling in the wind. It just can’t happen in the present climate where the community is caught between recalcitrant police on the one hand, and violent nihilistic thugs on the other.

Crime will not, and CANNOT, be eradicated until certain SPIRITUAL principles are embraced, and the Black community will have to find a way to work with the police and the establishment to seriously invest in the notion of rehabilitation.

Furthermore, Black community residents will have to end their love affair with, and protection of, Black criminals. Otherwise, fascism is the only other effective strategy, and we certainly don’t want that! A Luta Continua.

Reprinted from the Chicago Crusader


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