Black on Black Crime and the Death of Sean Taylor by Jaylon Williams

Black on black crime has become an institutional problem over the past 30 years. Black liberals and conservatives blame the problem on a failed government. However, unlike liberals, conservatives contend that past policies of government assistance such as affirmative action, welfare, and subsidized housing have contributed to the concept of ghettoization and the decline of the black family. Jason Whitlock, a sports writer and social critic addresses this matter as it relates to the death of Sean Taylor, a black NFL player for the Washington Redskins. If you have not heard, Sean Taylor was shot in his Miami home by a supposed burglar. Some suspect that Taylor, who has a history of street problems dating back to high school and his days at the University of Miami, was targeted.

Here are a few excerpts found in Whitlock’s article that were highlighted by another webpage:

No disrespect to Taylor, but he controlled the way he would be remembered by the way he lived. His immature, undisciplined behavior with his employer, his run-ins with law enforcement, which included allegedly threatening a man with a loaded gun, and the fact a vehicle he owned was once sprayed with bullets are all pertinent details when you’ve been murdered.

Rather than whine about white folks’ insensitivity or reserve a special place of sorrow for rich athletes, we’d be better served mustering the kind of outrage and courage it took in the 1950s and 1960s to stop the white KKK from hanging black men from trees.

But we don’t want to deal with ourselves. We take great joy in prescribing medicine to cure the hate in other people’s hearts. Meanwhile, our self-hatred, on full display for the world to see, remains untreated, undiagnosed and unrepentant.

You’re damn straight I blame hip-hop for playing a role in the genocide of American black men. When your leading causes of death and dysfunction are murder, ignorance and incarceration, there’s no reason to give a free pass to a culture that celebrates murder, ignorance and incarceration.

Here is what one black commentator had to say on his webpage about black on black crime:

There is a strange confluence of conclusions among supposedly opposed political forces, on the subject of Black-on-Black crime. Why is it that most crimes committed by Blacks are committed against other Blacks? You will hear that question asked at gatherings of the most racist white reactionaries, and at great and grand convocations of African Americans of all political persuasions. In a perverse convergence of nonsensicality, very similar conclusions are usually drawn: Black culture, it is said, has somehow been fatally undermined, and that is the root of such high levels of Black-on-Black crime.

White racists actually believe that Blacks are simply prone to criminality, and must be held in check through rigorous surveillance and the iron hand of a vast incarceration system. However, they rarely voice these base opinions so baldly, but instead blame welfare dependency and chinks in the armor of the criminal justice system as the culprit. These reactionaries are not really upset by the gruesome statistics of Black-on-Black crime, but rather, they celebrate them, as proof of white superiority.

Blacks tend to moan and groan about ignorance and – above all – racial self-hatred, as the root cause of fratricide among African Americans. Blacks hate their condition and hate each other for being in it, the theory goes, and therefore lash out, brother against brother, and brother against sister, and so on.

It’s all nonsense. Black people don’t hate themselves, or each other. We are all we’ve got, and in highly segregated communities, all we know. If African Americans committed crimes based on hate, we know who the victims would be: white people. But there is a great price to be paid for crimes against whites in this society. All the statistics show that the risks are extremely high, especially for acts of violence by Blacks against whites. For the career or novice Black criminal, the choices are clear: confine your crimes to your own community, and you will stand a chance of beating the system. Go outside, and the full weight of the state will come down on your head.

American society devalues Black life, and every Black child knows it. Criminals operate within the parameters of the society in which they live, just like everybody else. They weigh their chances as they roll the dice. Every African American citizen in the nation understands that the dice are loaded mightily against them if they are convicted of a crime against a white person. It is only logical that the criminal-minded would choose Black targets of opportunity. After all, that’s what white criminals did during Jim Crow. They were confident of impunity, when committing outrages against Black men and women. Why should Black criminals act any differently? Black-on-Black crime is a product of white racism, which sees African Americans as less than full human beings. The Black criminal takes advantage of that fact. From his point of view, it is quite a logical choice.


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17 thoughts on “Black on Black Crime and the Death of Sean Taylor by Jaylon Williams

  1. A hugely heavy topic. I’m not qualified to offer up much in the way of deep analysis here. However, I suspect you can’t throw out any reasonable explanation in a problem as big as this.

    One attempt at solving the problem–raising the perceived value of black lives–would certainly be welcome.

    Thanks, Carson, for not letting this topic rest.

  2. My comment is probably not “on target” with your post, but . . . Think about where (location on his body) where he was shot. Sounds like he was caught with his pants down with a woman that belonged to someone else.

  3. osipov,

    Interesting point, but you would think the media would have pointed that out. Unless, the lady left before the cops arrived. I wonder who made the 911 call?

  4. Last I heard, Sean Taylor was in his bedroom with his fiancé, Jackie (a niece of actor Andy Garcia) and their 18-month old baby daughter. They were all in the bedroom when the attack occurred. Jackie called 911.

    What has me scratching my head was his house was broken into the week before or so, and a knife was left in the bedroom. If I was in his financial situation with a new child, there is no way I stay in that house or stay in there without extra security. Sad.

    As to the devaluation of people with black skin, I can’t argue that white people have contributed heavily to it. However, Jason Whitlock makes a good point about the black community choosing (sometimes) to buy into it. These have been Bill Cosby’s points as well: Where is the self-respect? Where is the parenting? Where does it say that “smart and successful=white”?

    There are so many facets to dealing with racism. No easy answers, but I’d like to see more people (regardless of skin color) choosing to work on themselves to be a better human being and choosing to surround themselves with like-minded people.

  5. Matt S,

    I agree. Jason Whitlock were found dead, slumped over the kitchen table because his heart exploded in that 400 lb. body of his, would it be appropriate for some hack columnist to pontificate about how predictable and imminent Whitlock’s death was?

    For all the yammering about Sean Taylor’s “lifestyle”, no one can point to anything that Taylor has ever said or done that would warrant being murdered in his own home in the presence of his family.

    Jason Whitlock speaks truth with regard to some of the maladies affecting young Black folks. But he’s off the mark here. Moreover, I find it quite troubling that he’s more than willing to dismiss this particular murder as another mere hip-hop/thuggery/black-on-black crime statistic.

  6. I love this debate, because it ties so well into our school musical, West Side Story. One of my favorite lines is when Doc says, “You make this world lousy.” One of the gang members replies, “That’s the way we found it, Doc.” That pretty much sums up the situation that many youths in situations of poverty face. They’re born into a horrible world, but they have to make the decision that they won’t perpetuate the bad aspects of society.

  7. Cotham – Your last sentence says a lot about how individuals must take advantage of a better situation, though they might have been raised in a poor one. This is really true for an athlete making millions.

    Matt S – Cosby has been the voice of late for this; I like what he is saying, however, I am not sure Cosby’s voice has any merit among many blacks these days. Sad, but it seems that he has been assigned Uncle Tom status. That is pathetic.

    Osipov – Reports are coming out of Miami that 3 individuals have are in police custody. Police are suggesting that someone “unwittingly set up” the burglary of Taylor’s home by boasting about Taylor’s wealth.

    This is sounding more and more like a case of a rich, Black athlete being a target of opportunity for violent crooks.

  8. Nicely put, Cotham. I need to watch West Side Story again…

    Michael, I went back and did some reading on Taylor’s “checkered past,” and you have a point. Unfortunately, perceptions can become reality with the media… and Taylor didn’t do himself any favors:

    2005: Taylor arrested for allegedly assulting some men who he believed had stolen two ATVs from him. A firearm may have been brandished by Taylor. The case was essentially dropped with Taylor doing some community service, but the guys he argued with about the theft may have shot up Taylor’s car and the house of one of his friends over the incident.

    2006: Taylor spit on Tampa Bay running back Michael Pittman, and drew a fine from the NFL. Taylor also had some issues conforming to team rules and schedules, which coupled with his hard, physical style of play made him somewhat of a “bad boy” in the league.

    That being said, Taylor’s friends say he had begun to settle into the role of a good teammate, father, and soon-to-be husband. He even went to team chapel regularly. His father is a policeman in Florida, so I think Jason Whitlock may be off the canvas trying to paint this victim with the hip hop brush. If Whitlock wants to color by numbers, he might look at the murderers. As Eddie pointed out, several young guys have been arrested now that seem to fit a thuggish mindsest. Right now it sounds like 4-5 young black men heard that a rich black man’s house would be empty and ripe for a robbery. Only time will tell if the earlier incidents two years ago are related to his house being targeted now, but it sounds random right now.

  9. Carson, I’m not sure if you were being sarcastic, or if you meant that people who are born into poverty and eventually become rich should take advantage of their position and reach out to others. That’s what Jewel does, as you and I have discussed, and others like her should definitely do the same. P.S. I was more talking about the ensuing debates discussed in those quotes, not Taylor’s situation. However, if you’re right, and the murderers had no beef with him and just wanted to rob his stuff, then it just shows how we as a nation will look for reasons to make a black person fit the hip-hop stereotype.

    Matt S: I guess you could watch the movie, but it seems to intentionally ignore the bigger themes of the musical (and the acting is terrible), so I would encourage you to see it in a theatre, if at all possible. The way you stated Taylor’s situation, it sounds like he didn’t actually have a “bad boy” background, but he was trying to make people think he had one.

  10. I’m not gonna take the time to read the other comments, so if I’m repeating someone i apologize. I think Jaylon Williams is lying through his teeth when he says, “no disrespect to Taylor.” This man was just murdered, and if the four thousand plus people in attendance of his viewing didn’t speak loudly enough, then do you want a banner on the Sears Tower about the impact he left? Williams could have picked a better example instead of attacking someone who can’t defend themselves. Taylor may have had some trouble, yes, but you’re assuming (you know what they say about assuming) that because he’s a rich black athlete that someone MUST be targeting him. I think we have enough conspiracy theorists out there that Williams doesn’t need to besmirch someone else’s name.

  11. Guess what? Your blog is amazing! I can’t remember when was the last time i’ve overcome such a good blog that almost all articles/posts were interesting and wouldn’t regret spending my time reading it. I hope you will keep up the great work you are doing here and i can enjoy my everyday read at your blog.

  12. Driver:

    You are right in that Taylor is not here to defend himself. I am taking the position as is the case of many blacks to speak to the problem of the black youth, particularly black males. Blacks are caught up in the bling bling life to the point that they do not value the process of education. I am not much of a Cosby conservative here, but he as well as Jason Whitlock have a point. I am sure Carson would agree that American society has targeted the black youth. The black middle class is not doing its job nor is the government. I see black on black crime as an epidemic. I do not agree with Whitlock’s article that accuses blacks of being the new KKK. But, I find some of his points valid.

    Thoughts?

  13. I agree with your points completely. Even though Cosby is a tad bit overdoing it, he also has some very valid points. My only problem with the article wasn’t your points, just the example.

  14. Provoking post indeed Carson. To the effect of black-on-black crime, I want to offer some demographic presuppositions that I think are fairly, if not soundly, accurate. If these presuppositions seem outlandish or overblown in any way, by all means, call me out.

    1. Crime rates are higher amongst the uneducated.
    2. Crimes rates are higher amongst the poor and lower-middle-class.
    3. Crimes rates are higher amongst splintered families, particularly those who are splintered due to incarceration.
    4. The Urban socioeconomic environment (the urban society) is more likely to influence criminal behavior.

    My underlying rationale is this: I don’t think it’s coincidence or racial inferiority that African Americans constitute 40% of the incarcerated population. I believe firmly that it is a social mishap that has subjugated much of the African American community to a seemingly perpetually state of Urban dilapidation.

    Perhaps I am way off the mark, but this topic has always prodded such presupposition into my understanding of the situation. It would make for a sound research project, I do believe.

  15. Steve,

    I cannot argue with your comment; however, I ask this question: How much of this can be blamed on current practices of racism and past Jim Crow practices that have help generations of blacks behind? Or, is that just a liberal excuse for greater goverenment intervention into what might be a community problem?

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