If all lives matter, why aren’t white people addressing white-on-white murders?

Consider this a call to action because there’s a horrible trend going on in our country that no one is talking about and no one is marching about and it stops now.

I’m talking about white-on-white crime.

Thousands of white people are murdered by white people every year. The murderers of white people are overwhelmingly white — every year about 85% of white victims are killed by white offenders.

Where are the parades protesting this? Where are the country songs demanding an end? To all those white people who clutch their pearls when they see a Black person coming toward them on the street, you’re doing it all wrong — you are far, far more likely to be murdered by a white person than a Black person. You should fear white people.

Alas, this country has lied to white people. They’ve told them that Blacks are criminal, animalistic, violent, untrustworthy, bloodthirsty, lazy, and drug-addicted. Never mind that some of those things are contradictory, white people have come to believe that Blacks are the ones to fear while white people are out here murdering each other like it’s The Purge.

Indeed, in recent years we’ve seen a rise in the homicide rate but a prominent criminologist explained to me that we are not seeing a rise in murders in our chocolate cities — it’s actually happening in the vanilla suburbs.

After our national COVID-19 quarantine began and before the election that would end the presidency of Donald Trump, there was a sharp rise in the purchase of guns. Those weapons were bought legally by people who were not criminals but then they became criminals when they went out and murdered a family member, a neighbor, a stranger, a loudmouth in a bar. And because of that, the white murder rate ticked up and up to the point where white people should not feel safe around white people.

The chance that a suburban white person will murder another suburban white person is far, far higher than the chance of a suburban white person being murdered by a Black person. Be afraid.

White people love to point fingers at Black people and talk about “Chicago” as some sort of all-encompassing buzzword for Black intra-racial violence. But “Chicago” is a right-wing boogie monster, a word or phrase that symbolizes something that doesn’t really fit with reality (like “Critical Race Theory” or “caravans of immigrants”).

Chicago, in reality, has a lot of shootings because it’s the third biggest city in America but it is not one of the top 20 most violent cities per capita and it’s murder rate is far lower than it was 10 or 20 years ago — meaning Chicago’s efforts at slowing the violence has been successful.

White people should care so much about Las Vegas, Kansas City, and Tulsa, three overwhelmingly white cities that are among the top 20 in murder rates. White people in those cities should be very afraid of the white people they see. You never know which one of them could murder you.

I think when we talk about why white people murder so many white people every year we have to look at a series of factors. Part of it is the breakdown of the white family — about 40% of white marriages end in divorce. Is it a coincidence that the states with the highest divorce rate, Nevada and Oklahoma, are states with major cities that are high in murder rates? I think not.

But a bigger part of it all is this: white people are far more likely than any other group to live in a home where there is a gun. Fifty-one percent of non-Hispanic whites live in a home where there’s a gun as opposed to just 28% of non-whites. Look at the irony — the NRA and related groups have spent decades convincing white people that they need a gun to protect themselves against violent Black people but the truth is whites are far more likely to die at the hands of violent white people.

I think there needs to be more marches, more songs, more pleas to peace from white leaders like Mitch McConnell and Kendall Jenner. Also this: we need more white people who believe in themselves. Who believe that white bodies are important. White people who are willing to stand up and say “White lives matter.”

To say, “Stop the violence, you guys! Because white lives matter!”



Privilege consists of unearned advantages. Privilege is a system of power relationships. And privilege consists of all of the inconveniences, challenges and opportunities denied that a person does not have to ever think or worry about.

On Friday afternoon, a white man named Robert Lewis Dear attacked a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He killed three people and injured 11 others. One of the dead is a police officer. Dear then engaged in a several hours-long gun battle and standoff with local authorities. He was captured alive.

Robert Lewis Dear reportedly told police “no more baby parts” after being arrested. Apparently, Friday’s attack on Planned Parenthood is part of a longer pattern of violence by right-wing terrorists against the providers of women’s reproductive health services in the United States.

White privilege takes many forms. As was seen in Colorado Springs on Friday, white privilege also consists of being able to kill three people (including one cop), injure 11 more, and then survive unscathed.

Robert Lewis Dear is not the only white man to have used this unique and near exclusive type of privilege in American society. James Eagan Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 in a mass shooting at a Colorado-area movie theater. He was not killed by the police. Jared Lee Loughner shot 18 people, killing six of them. He was taken alive by the police.

White people also have the unique privilege of brandishing guns in public without consequence—and to even aim them at America’s police and other authorities without being killed. White gun fetishists Islamophobes in Texas harass Muslims attending religious services.

“Open carry” advocates, almost all of them white men, routinely march in public with weapons.

Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who refused to pay his grazing fees, used an armed militia to stop federal agents from arresting him.

In all of these instances—and many more—white people are not killed (and usually not even arrested or detained) by the police.

And in the case of Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine black Americans at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the police both arrested him without incident and then took him to Burger King for a meal.

By contrast, black and brown people are not treated so kindly by America’s police. Black Americans are shot, abused and beaten up by America’s police and other white-identified vigilantes while surrendering, sleeping, seeking help after being in a car accident, walking down the street, with their hands up, showing identification, standing in a crowd, listening to music, riding bicycles, playing in the park, and being totally submissive and compliant.

Muslim and Arab-Americans most certainly cannot access Robert Lewis Dear’s, Jared Lee Loughner’s, or James Eagan Holmes’ unique type of white privilege.

When a white person commits an act of mass violence he or she is “a lone gunman,” “mentally ill” or “disturbed.”

White men commit a disproportionate percentage of the mass shootings and domestic terrorism in the United States. Yet, their actions are never taken to be reflective of white men as a group. The mere suggestion of this basic fact is met with outrage by Republicans and the right-wing news entertainment complex. However, when an “Arab” or a “Muslim” commits a crime, said event is processed by the White Gaze as an indictment of an entire population and to summon the boogeyman of “Muslim Terrorism.”

In all, whiteness is freedom from collective responsibility and indictment; to be the Other is an a priori assumption where the actions of one non-white person means that all members of the group should be punished and made suspect.

White people, even those who have committed horrific crimes, survive their encounters with America’s police for a variety of reasons. Primarily, the lives of black and brown people are systematically devalued in American society. This is demonstrated by how black Americans have shorter life spans, earn less money, possess less wealth, receive substandard medical care, go to worse schools, and live in under-resourced neighborhoods as compared to white Americans. The police, like Americans as a whole, are taught to devalue the lives of black people by a news media and broader popular culture that routinely circulates stereotypical, racist, debased, and derogatory images of non-whites.

American society also suffers from very high levels of racial segregation—research from the Public Religion Research Institute shows that 75 percent of white people do not have one non-white friend. Other research shows that white Americans lack empathy for the suffering, pain and humanity of non-whites.

The sum effect of all these cultural forces is that America’s police are much more likely to kill and abuse black and brown people than they are whites. Police are enabled in this routine violation of the human rights of black and brown people because the former are rarely if ever prosecuted (or even charged) for their crimes. America’s police are also protected by a white American public that supports a racist criminal justice system.

People chant “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and “Black Lives Matter” because they know that every encounter–however mundane–between a black citizen and America’s police could end in unprovoked death and violence.

The Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado, and how the gunman was subsequently captured alive even after killing a police officer, is more proof of comedian Louis C.K.’s wisdom that there is no better deal than being white, straight and male in America. As he suggests, it is one hell of a deal if you can get it.

The ways in which white people can commit monstrously violent acts and survive, while people of color are killed by the state for far less serious offenses ( if they have committed any “crime” at all), is a ledger of death across the color line.

This balance sheet of death has existed for centuries in the United States. In the post-civil rights era and the Age of Obama, it still shows no signs of equaling out.



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