Posted by: zycos | October 25, 2007

Is crime racial or just stereo-hyped?

The very first thing I want you to know about me is the most important thing you should know before reading this post. That is I don’t consider myself to be a racist in any way, shape or form. In fact, I abhor anyone proclaiming to be superior to another no matter what excuse or rationalization.

For the record I am white, middle aged and male. My best friend in the world is black, younger than me, also male and someone who holds my utmost respect and admiration for many more reasons than I could ever put here. He is, truly, my brother.

We have spent some time discussing the hidden racism that still permeates our society. Racism, despite how evolved and open minded we all think ourselves to be, still exists everywhere. Maybe not the blatant racism of old, that’s easy to spot. But silent racism that exists most all of the time. Racism in every facet of daily life and interaction between people of ethnic distinction.

From the white clerk who approaches my friend and I, automatically assuming I’m his customer to the black counter person who all but ignores me to chat it up with my friend. Quiet racism that almost goes unnoticed, unless you are the one feeling its sting. And subtle tendencies that have become too accepted as the norm in everyday life, based in stereotype prejudices.

Yes, racism still exists every day and in every way. Even though I say I’m not racist, I know that is only a hopeful desire. More accurately I should say I strive to be non-racist but admit to finding myself failing when presented certain circumstances.

Some of those situations have really been getting the best of me lately. Even though I mentally fight it, the facts seem overbearing. I use the term loosely as I’ve done no research as to the actual facts, just my impression of the nightly news reports.

Every night watching the local news I hear about another murder, rape or robbery occurring in my city. Senseless, violent crimes against people of all colors for any reasons and many times, none at all.

Tonight’s lead story was about a man who sawed off a shotgun, hid it under the sofa and wanted to confront his pregnant girlfriend about the paternity of her child.

He pushed the shotgun against her stomach and pulled the trigger, blowing the baby and her internal organs out of her body. Of course the baby died instantly and the woman is clinging to life. While this violent crime could have been white, odds were the man, at least, was black. And he is.

Why do I say this? Am I a ‘closet racist’?

It seems more violent crimes against women, especially black women are committed by black men except for one. Rape is committed by black men against white women more often than against black women. Rape by white men is more often committed against white women than against black women. And rape as everyone should know, is not about sex but more about power and control and anger.

Robberies of convenience stores occur so frequently to be almost considered just another job hazard. Every surveillance tape shows the male perpetrator who is almost always black, going behind the counter. When a white man robs a quickie mart, it’s usually for something stupid like beer, candy or cigarettes. A black man robs for the money and more often than not, viciously kills or injures his victim(s) even when there’s little to gain. In fact, when there’s no money, the robber often shoots his victim(s) in anger as if it’s their fault there’s not enough money to steal.

Carjacking reports happen frequently, sometimes violent and almost always at the hands of a black man.

It seems the more violent and senseless the crime against others almost guarantees the gender and ethnic probability of the perpetrator as male and black.

As I sit bombarded by these nightly news reports, I reflect on the fact that while blacks in my city represent a minority of the population, they seem to commit the majority of the violent crime. The part I really don’t understand is, a lot of the time it’s

    against their own people or their own community.

A recent report was about the senseless murder of a beloved inner city store clerk. This was a Bosnian man who gave candy to the neighborhood children, extended credit or gave formula and diapers to many in his mostly black community just to help them get by from week to week. The man was by all reports, loved by every one. Evidently not every one, as one black man ended his life in a robbery.

And another item sandwiched between those last two reports, showing surveillance video of a black man entering and robbing a convenience store, brazenly running off customers as he accosted the young clerk. Amazingly, no one exiting the store called 911, leaving the single clerk at the mercy of his attacker.

These stories are representative of a typical news day here in St. Louis but not exclusive. They are happening everywhere. And more times than not, the wanted face you see flashed on the television screen for these type crimes in middle America is that of an African-American male.

But to be fair, there’s plenty of crime to go around, racially speaking.

I frequently hear about yet another drunk driver crossing the centerline and colliding with another vehicle, head on, instantly killing innocent victims. Almost without fail, the perpetrator is almost always, white and male.

As I listen, I learn about yet another child abduction, mostly only attempted but too many times successful. And almost always, without fail, the molester is white and male.

Mass murderers seem to be predominantly male and white. School crimes like Columbine and others seem to be committed by young, white males.

The distinction between crime type and race is almost clear cut. So much so I had to remark to my friend that the difference seemed obvious, “White men rob banks and molest children while black men rob convenience stores and hijack cars.”

While in the Southwest, I heard the same type crimes being committed as in the Midwest. The only difference was that many times the man they were looking for in a murder, robbery or rape was Hispanic, not black.

Someone running a red light and mowing down a mother and child in a crosswalk, was more often than not, a Hispanic male.

Drive-by shootings seemed to be more geographical in nature. In the Southwest it was the Hispanic gang bangers while in Chicago, the black gangs.

I know most African-Americans, Latinos and other ethnic peoples are law abiding citizens who want their neighborhoods cleaned of these low life types, regardless of race. Just like most Caucasians, they want to live in clean, crime free cities where they can safely raise their families, work, play and just get along with one another. In a nation as great as ours, that should be everyone’s guaranteed right.

But why has our world turned into just another episode of The Jerry Springer Show? Like watching his pandering television show, you know the feuding white guests will most likely be white trash. Low IQ types, sleeping with their pregnant wife’s sister while smoking dope and drinking beer. You can spot it the second they open their mouth and see their missing teeth.

At the same time, Maury Povich has strung together a career of paternity testing shows, mostly featuring black “guests” with a token white couple occasionally thrown in. Such exploitation on the basis of racial stereotyping should be illegal as it only breeds and promotes racial prejudice. At the very least the Springers and Povich’s of the world should be reduced in stature to the garbage eating vermin they are, lower than even their lowest guest’s perversions. But I digress…

It’s sad that a small percentage in each group can stigmatize the character of so many good people. Good people of all races.

And there are crimes where no certain race holds any precedent. Murders of children and spouses for example, seem to know no color or gender.

But most experienced detectives know the perpetrator of a crime, especially combined with geographical location, can be identified as to race, gender and even age group with a fair degree of certainty. More often than not, relying on these acquired instincts to solve the crime.

Even a mental picture of the Hell’s Angels brings to mind mostly a gang comprised of mainly white, 20-30 something males while the image of younger, white males are often stereotyped in gangs same as black, Hispanic and Asians. I mean does a white supremest have a shaved head or is it a shaved head that makes a white supremest? I submit it’s neither but more on how our association of a shaved head creates the stereotype of a white supremest. An image that impressions bias one way or another.

To sum up, is crime racial? What do you think? Have I become cynical by watching too much news? Is a certain type crime really identifiable with a certain race? Does geographical location influence the statistics about stereotypes? What about gender? What about age? Or is it something I’ve missed completely?

I’d like to know.


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