Writer Barry Latzer in his 2019 National Review article “The Need to Discuss Black-on-Black Crime” writes, “from 1976 to 2005, 94 percent of black victims were killed by other African Americans… the reason we focus more on black-on-black violence nowadays is not racism but rather its significance to the crime problem in the United States…Black violent crime was a major factor in post-1960’s crime tsunami and persisted even after the wave bean to ebb in the 1990’s…”
Latzer poses a good point: why do we need to talk about Black on Black crime?
Bringing the point close to home, what the significance to Black on Black crime is in San Antonio? First, the African American population makes up less than 10% in San Antonio. Factor in the prominence of gun violence, it begins to minimize that population more and more. The data varies as to how many of the gun-related crimes where solely Black on Black. Some would argue that data is irrelevant to the overall problem of gun violence. Some might argue that the Black community is the perpetuator of their own problem: “there would be no black on black crime if Black people would stop killing each other”.
Regardless of which side one stands on, each claim holds some truth. Yes, focusing solely on Black on black crime does nothing if one is trying to solve the real overall problem of gun violence. Yes, while not all, but a fair amount of gun-related deaths and crimes have been Black related. Lastly, unfortunately, yes, due to becoming complacent in addressing Black on Black crime in their own backyard, the Black community has played a role in perpetuating the narrative of crime and gun violence in the African American community.
But just like the Black community played a role in perpetuating this issue, the same role can be played in solving the issue. And the first place to start is by acknowledging the blood on one’s hands. Start by talking about it and telling the story from all sides.
All facts and data aside, take a trip down memory lane in recent past. Focus in on the recent urbanization of the Northeast and Eastside areas. In the last twenty-five to forty years, how many neighborhoods, schools, churches, community centers, families, friends, and others, have been affected by crime between Black people? How many of those places still stand or still possess the remnants of these experiences today?
How can one take what has been the past to build a more redemptive future?
It is no secret that the Black experiences has been plagued by gun violence. Everything within the popular culture is saturated by this mere claim. From films such as Boys in the Hood (1991), Malcolm X (1992), and Dead Presidents (1995), to storylines in popular television shows such as A Different World (1987-1993) and Family Matters (1987-1998), to a plethora of songs by well-known artists like Nas, Notorious B.I.G, N.W.A, Wu- Tang- Clan, and more. Gun violence has played a role in our recent history.