Let’s talk some stats. Be forewarned that this piece will deal with some heavy themes.
A meme recently suggested that “154 mass shootings this year [as of July 2018]…not one [was] committed by a black man or an illegal alien…[or] by a woman, either.” You’ve probably heard this one discussed on Snopes and other sites. Before we even look into the idea of mass shootings not having one set definition, we’ve got to look at the fact that there have been shootings involving Black men and other minorities that have either killed or injured multiple people. For the sake of this conversation, mass shootings are shootings that have at least 4 victims–dead or injured.
Now, I’m not up here to say that Black-on-Black violence hurts more Black people than White-on-Black violence has over the years. I’m Black and Baltimore-born and raised. While Black-on-Black violence does exist, you’ll be speaking to a brick wall if you come to me with “oh, Black-on-Black crime is more detrimental to Black people,” especially when a lot of the crime happens because of regulations put on by politicians, many of whom White, over the years—dating back to Jim Crow, separate but equal laws, and sharecropper rules. Sharecropping was economic slavery, meanwhile Jim Crow and separate but equal laws kept minorities, mainly Black people, with less access to the same resources of their White counterparts.
Black people and other minorities have been playing catch-up with minimal resources. Said lack of resources leads to other methods to attempt to get ahead in life. This is where we could say that (some) White people directly and indirectly caused the crack epidemic of the 1980s. Then, my friends, we’re reaching and I try my best not to reach (I’ll talk about crack, as someone who lived in the aftermath, at some point).
Additionally, if you want to go same-race crimes in America, because of simple numbers, White-on-White crime is a horrible epidemic. You don’t hear minorities saying every time something happens in a predominantly White neighborhood, “oh, they need to focus on White-on-White crime before they try to police others.” They probably could, but they don’t. In fact, same-race crime rates are typically larger than mixed-race crimes. Don’t let white supremacists tell you that Black-on-Black crime is the problem, because, while it does exist, it’s not the entirety of the story when it comes to Black-related violence.
Back to the mass shooting thing, White men tend to commit more mass murder than other races. That isn’t necessarily because of something that dictates “oh, White men are evil,” even as there’ve been studies that suggest that (some) White men stockpile guns because of a “Fear of a Black Planet.” We all have our sins. It’s, just like White-on-White crime, simple math. Non-Hispanic Whites make up over 60% of the U.S. population. When you add in White Hispanics, that number shoots up. Nevertheless, there are a lot of White people in America. Yes, the U.S. is slated to become majority minority within the next twenty or so years, but right now, White people are still the majority in 2018. White men make up a heap of that number, about 31% of the entire U.S. population. Playing the numbers game, of course White men are more likely to commit crimes like mass murder; next to White women at 32%, they make up most of the population.
So, what does this mean for non-White people? Should we be afraid of White men killing us because of the numbers pointing against them? Yes and no. Yes, White men have committed a lot of mass murders and mass shootings. Mass shootings are, once again, shootings that, for the sake of this conversation, have at least 4 victims–dead or injured. This is mostly on par with the “active shooter incident” parameters of the FBI, which is the closest we’ve got to the FBI defining what a mass shooting event is. A majority of mass shootings, if you follow just sites like Mother Jones, are committed by White men. But, there is no agreed-upon definition as to what a “mass shooting” is; if we start adding in events that, for example, revolve around gang violence, the numbers can creep up to say that the number of Black-led mass shootings are more prevalent than originally thought.
Furthermore, the average White man isn’t thinking “hey, let’s go and kill everything in sight that ain’t White,” regardless of what Twitter and memes may have you believe. Yes, there are racist White people, and yes, there are White people who think that the only way to solve a problem is to kill it dead. And, yes, some of these people have mental illnesses (more on that at a later date). However, not all White people are inherently evil–just like non-White people aren’t inherently inferior or prone to violence just because their skin isn’t “white.”
If people spend more time actually looking at the histories and the numbers, they’ll learn a lot. I expect some of you to be upset at this piece, and I’m okay with that–as long as you know that it’s coming from a place of knowledge and understanding. Also, if your go-to argument about Black people being hurt or killed by White people is “oh, look at Black-on-Black crime,” you’re probably a racist. I had to add that in there since we talked, in depth, about BoB crime in this piece.