The blogger Publius makes an extraordinary claim: If in America “black men [were] murdered at the same rate as everyone else, the overall [homicide] rate would drop to 1.9 out of 100,000 population. That would give the United States the 147th highest murder rate in the world.” This raises two questions: Is that true, and, if so, what does it mean?
Let’s examine the statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) report “Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2011,” there were 15,953 deaths by homicide that year, for a rate of 5.1 per 100,000 population. In its “Crime in the United States: 2011,” the FBI gives a lower estimate for the number of murder victims: 12,664. Of these victims, fully half—6,329—were black. And yet blacks comprised 13.1 percent of the population in 2011, according to the Census Bureau. (These figures square with those reported by the Wall Street Journal last August.)
Do Publius’s claims about the murder rate pan out? The Census Bureau lists a U.S. population of 311,591,917 for 2011. The number of homicides reported by the CDC, 15,953, divided by the total population, yields the rate of 5.1 per 100,000. If we assume that the FBI’s ratio holds for the larger number of homicides reported by the CDC, and take the number of nonblack homicides to nonblack population, we get 7,980 divided by 270,773,376, or 2.9 per 100,000 population. I’m not sure how Publius calculated his figures for the murder rate, but they seem to be low. And even the rate of 2.9 per 100,000—which is considerably below the national rate—is above that of Canada and western European nations.
The startling number is that of black homicide victims. Even taking the FBI’s lower figures, the number of black victims (6,329) divided by the total U.S. black population (40,818,541), yields a murder rate of 15.5 per 100,000 population. And if we assume that the FBI’s ratio holds for the larger number of homicides reported by the CDC, that indicates the murder rate among blacks is 7,973 divided by 40,818,541, or 19.5 per 100,000 population. That is horrific (although still below the murder rates in the likes of Mexico, Brazil, and Uganda).
So what’s the source of the problem? As Publius notes, the problem is not among the black population as a whole; rather, it is due to a “small sub-culture that glorifies violence and lives and dies by the gun.” It is the gang culture, characterized by widespread criminality, tribalistic warfare, through-the-roof unemployment, extremely high rates of out-of-wedlock births (72.1 percent among blacks in 2010), widespread welfare dependency, and nihilistic art typified by “gangster rap.”
Of course the left will cry “racism” at anyone stating such facts, but such cries are ridiculous. Although skin color and genetic makeup obviously have no causal connection to this problem, a tragically large number of blacks in America (and many whites and Hispanics as well) choose the gang “lifestyle” or at least the broader culture that supports it. And leftist intellectuals feed this culture by promoting anti-value “art,” moral relativism, the entitlement mentality, and welfare dependency—all funded by forced wealth transfers.
The horrifying homicide rate among black Americans is the most visible and tragic symptom of a much deeper cultural disease. And the cure is a philosophy of reason, individual responsibility, productive work, and life-oriented values.
- Individualism vs. Collectivism: Our Future, Our Choice
- Larry Doby, American Hero
- Keeping Crime Risks in Perspective
Image: Wikimedia Commons