Especially when police terror and murder against Black people becomes sharply exposed, there are those who crawl out from under a rock to hypocritically talk about “Black-on-Black” crime and how more Black people have been killed by other Black people than by police. All of a sudden, the most overt racists are pretending to be concerned about Black people killing each other! They ignore the crucial fact that the police are part of the governmental system—part of the state apparatus—that claims it is “serving and protecting” the people, when in fact it is enforcing their oppression. That is why Black people who commit crimes—and many who have not committed any—are severely punished through the “justice” system (when they are not murdered outright by the police) but when the police kill a Black man or woman, they are very rarely even charged with a crime—and, even when they are, they almost always get off completely, or with only a very light sentence. All this reflects the fact that the oppression of Black people is built into, and enforced by, this system of capitalism-imperialism.
For those—whether outright racists or people who have allowed themselves to take up the thinking of racists—who try to dismiss outrage about police murder of Black people by talking about how more Black people are killed by other Black people than by anyone else (including police): As I have emphasized in a number of talks and writings, this, too, is caused by this system—it is the system “working on” people, confining masses of Black people in conditions of deprivation, degradation and hopelessness, and continually pumping at them the “dog eat dog” mentality that fuels this cut-throat system of exploitation and oppression, from top to bottom.1
That Black people, who are already so viciously oppressed and suffering so terribly, are killing each other in such great numbers is something that should make any decent person heartsick—and it should drive them to seek the way to put an end to this by getting to the deeper causes of this and moving to change all that. If those people who are constantly citing statistics about “Black-on-Black crime” really wanted to do something meaningful about the fact that Black people, and especially the youth, are killing each other in tragically high numbers, they would join with those of us who are working to win these youth to the revolution that can bring down this system which is the fundamental cause of this, and bring into being a system which would uproot the conditions and transform the ways of thinking that give rise to this.
But the overt racists and “Black conservatives” are not really interested in putting an end to all that. Whatever pretensions they put up—whether more obvious or more devious—they are working to fortify this system of capitalism-imperialism which has white supremacy built into it and can only function by keeping Black people oppressed and terrorized.
This attempt to distract attention from the brutality and murder that is systematically carried out by the police, as the armed enforcers of this system, is another link in the chain of distortions and lies that seek to evade the real cause of the oppressed conditions of Black people. Previously, faced with the massive radical upsurge of struggle against this oppression in the 1960s, the argument was made, by defenders of this oppressive system, that “the breakdown of the Black family” is the reason Black people are in the situation they are in. This was another way of saying that Black people are responsible for their own miserable conditions. And this perverted “analysis” has been repeated down to this day. But the situation where many Black mothers have been left on their own in conditions of dire poverty—often scrambling desperately and striving heroically to provide for their children—this is a symptom of the all-around discrimination and savage inequalities to which Black people, male and female, continue to be subjected, with the roots of this in the centuries of oppression Black people have been forced to endure.
During the days of Jim Crow segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror, the majority of Black families consisted of two parents—and does anyone want to argue that Black people were not then subjected to the most horrific oppression?! During those times, when so-called “Black-on-Black crime” was not a major part of Black life in the way it is now, but thousands of Black people were being lynched, did those who presided over and benefitted from the exploitation and oppression of Black people raise a cry against the lynching of Black people? Were the Rudolph Giulianis of those days—or the Candace Owens Black lackeys of that time—demanding, and acting to bring about, an end to all the oppression and terror? That question answers itself. And, as I have emphasized before: Since the 1960s, the police have killed more Black people than all those who were lynched during the days of Jim Crow segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror.
Throughout the centuries of Black people’s nightmare in America, there have been always those who have tried to justify all this with lies, distortions, distractions and attempts to evade the glaring truth: Some of the particular ways may have changed, in terms of how Black people have been continually subjected, over centuries, to the most savage oppression, but this oppression has continued because it is built into this system, and it can only finally be ended by overthrowing this system and bringing a radically different and much better system into being—one which does not require this oppression but instead has, as one of its most fundamental and crucial objectives and requirements, putting an end to this, at long last.
1. “Lynching, Murder By Police—Damn This Whole System! We Don’t Have To Live This Way!” This article by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us. [back]