Why don’t we talk about white-on-white crime?

in Contributors/Terry Manning/Voices by

Black-on-Black violence is a regular concern in letters I receive from some readers. To these writers, Blacks all but invite police brutality. Excessive force is a necessary evil. Violence is in our nature, these writers insist. We even victimize each other!

When I saw the viral video of the tipsy White woman telling a Black man we need to “wrestle” Black women into control and keep them in check, it felt like seeing those letters come to life.

These attitudes are prejudiced and insulting, never mind inaccurate.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics found most crimes happen between people of the same race, which makes sense since we all spend the most time with family or other people who are like us. Whites reported being victims of other whites at a rate (62 percent) not substantially different than reported by Blacks about other Blacks (70 percent).

But whoever talks about white-on-white crime? Who brings up white peoples’ failure to hold each other accountable for crimes that hurt them – and the rest of us, too, for that matter?

The Jan. 6 insurrection is a glaring example. On every screen I saw, it was a sea of white faces ranting and raving, mocking and attacking police, breaching the Capitol and literally defecating on the symbols of everything they claimed they hold dear.

And the legislators who are gaslighting the public, lying about what happened? These lawmakers, some of whom likely are co-conspirators? Chalky white.

Like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Peach State’s resident pit-for-brains, who claims “the people who breached the Capitol on Jan. 6 are being abused” while being held to face the charges against them.

She must be talking about the QAnon-spouting, horn-helmeted “shaman” who asked for and received an organic menu to choose from during his jail stint. Or the Texas woman who was granted a vacation to Mexico while she awaits trial. That ain’t exactly breaking rocks.

And how is Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz still serving in Congress while he’s the target of a sex-trafficking probe? Isn’t fighting pedophilia one of conservatives’ big issues? Right-wingers love accusing liberals of being pedophiles. When it’s one of their own, though, who might actually be one? Crickets. But he’s eggshell, so …

These “Karens” siccing law enforcement on Black people who are birdwatching, holding cookouts, delivering packages or otherwise minding their own business? Blinding white.

What about the people who manufactured cards saying they were excused from wearing masks during the worst of the pandemic? The cards were designed to look like they were official documents of … The Freedom to Breathe Agency? More like free-dumb to be a jerk. An ivory jerk.

And they’re probably the same folks selling and buying fake vaccination cards. It’s one thing to object to the vaccines on principle – however wrong you are – but where is the principle in buying a fake card so you aren’t deprived access given to those who got the shots? If you want to be a martyr, be committed!

And after all this hubbub about critical race theory, school boards and legislators around the nation are proposing outlawing teaching anything critical of white people. Banned topics would include the women’s suffrage movement along with slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, eugenics, white supremacy and more.

There is a way to teach about all of these without making white children feel guilty for the sins of the past, but if you can’t teach that the Ku Klux Klan was (and is) morally wrong, aren’t you implying that white supremacy is right?!?

So yeah, from the outside looking in, White people seem to be able to do what they want! And get away with it! I mean, that’s what I see on MSNBC and YouTube and, and, and … and I’d be a fool if I let any of that make me believe all White people are inherently bad.

Too many people are all too willing to make those types of assumptions about other people, based on bad information or worse, none at all.

We are all human, born perfect into an imperfect world. We all get to choose whether we will try to make that world better or let it make us worse. I wish some of the people who write to me, and the people who fill their heads with poison, would choose to be better.

Terry E. Manning lives and works in Savannah, Ga. He is a Clemson graduate and worked for 20 years as a journalist. He can be reached at teemanning@gmail.com.