J. PHARAOH DOSS

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement emerged between the Ferguson Riots and the 2016 Presidential Election. During this time BLM representatives were confronted by critics and asked why BLM didn’t demonstrate against Black-on-Black crime. BLM called the Black-on-Black crime question a diversion from the real issue, which was White police officers gunning down unarmed Black males.

This was a debate tactic. (If you don’t have a good answer, dismiss the question.)

But critics were persistent and continued to ask BLM about Black-on-Black crime. (For critics it was a legitimate question because the group called themselves Black Lives Matter.) Then BLM sympathizers defended BLM’s non-answer with their own explanations.

One prominent Black writer told the mayor of New Orleans, a mayor who was trying to decrease Black-on-Black killings in his city, that it’s natural for the Black community to be more upset about police killings than Black-on-Black killings because the community’s tax dollars financed the police officer’s misconduct.

Other Black writers replaced the term “Black-on-Black” with the phrase “intra-racial.” These writers said intra-racial killings were common among White ethnic groups and no one has ever used the phrase “White-on-White crime.”

These defenses served their purpose and silenced many critics.

But these defenses were also diversions from the fact that Black-on-Black violence was more destructive in the Black community than state-sponsored violence, and, more importantly, these defenses were poor arguments.

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