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  • Antoine Simmons

Are You in the Cave, or am I?

According to FBI uniform crime reporting statistics, if you were an African American murder victim in 2018, there was a 49 percent chance that you were a male, and an 88 percent chance that the person who killed you was an African American male. If you were a white murder victim, there was a 42 percent chance that you were a male, and an 88 percent chance that the person who killed you was a white male. The statistical fact is then, whether you’re a white or black male murder victim, the person who killed you probably looked just like you! In the sarcastic drawl of the vapidly self-loathing Kanye West “I ask ‘cause I’m not sure,” does anyone remember an epidemic of white on white violence? Any lamentations of carnage in the streets relative to the amount of white people killing white people? I’ve looked, and have come up empty, but I’m happy to be proven wrong. If white people mostly kill white people, shouldn’t people be noticing? Shouldn’t every white guy who reads this be out there collecting brown friends ASAP?

Obviously something’s off, the representation—and ultimately the public perception—of these issues is amiss. If most violent crimes that are committed, are committed within racial barriers. What the fuck is the fixation with the crimes committed within the African American racial barrier. Each and every person who reads this post should ask themselves why. I’m not floating some far-fetched conspiracy theory. What I’m floating is the propensity for Americans to readily feed on sensationalism. Americans are ready and willing to believe that THE OTHERS are more aggressive, more violent, more angry, and ultimately more dangerous. Full stop. Americans are unwilling to question themselves, to question their way of life, their ideas, and their ideals. This, is not isolated to white Americans only. Yes, white Americans readily buy into the idea that blacks are violent and dangerous, but let’s be real, there are plenty of African Americans who buy into that narrative as well. Remember how uncle Phil treated Jazz on Fresh Prince?

It’s human nature to want to find ways to make ourselves right. We want to justify our guilt or shame so that we feel better. What better way to do that, then with people who are different? For white people, it makes it easier to rationalize what their country has done to African Americans, if there’s something inherently wrong with African Americans. For African Americans, it makes it easier to rationalize the current state of our community, if all white people are inherently bad and hate all brown people. Neither are true, and it’s ridiculous that I have to point it out. I’m not saying that there aren’t real socioeconomic issues at play here. Both per capita, and in real numbers, the number of African Americans who are killed violently (and the number who commit violent crimes) comprises a disproportionate share of crime data. That being said, there are highly disparate socioeconomic prospects for African Americans (twice the poverty rate & twice the unemployment rate of whites) based on centuries of oppressive laws, regulations, and a systematic removal of humanity, perpetrated against them by ignorant, prejudicial, bigoted, and racist white people. What I’m saying is that ultimately, it’s the Americans perception of these issues that form our opinions of them. For instance, if the news we consumed reported disproportionately on crimes committed by African Americans against African Americans, then we’d believe that there was an epidemic of black on black crime within America. If the news we consumed disproportionately reported on white cops shooting and killing unarmed African Americans, we’d believe that there was an epidemic of police killing unarmed African Americans.

What we need in this country—other than a political enema—is a critical evaluation of the information that is provided to us. We need to learn how to sift and sort through all of the noise and bullshit that floods our eyes and ears. We need to lose whatever faith we have in our individual sources of news and information, and remain skeptical at all times. What I’m

not saying is that we should believe the world is flat with zero evidence, and ignore the actual evidence saying it isn’t (again, ridiculous that I have to point that out). I’m saying the opposite of that. I’m saying that we need to dissipate the inherent fear associated with views that oppose our own. We need to be willing to take an honest appraisal of ourselves before we can even begin to appraise the world around us. Let’s not be fools in a cave. Consider the idea that what we think, isn’t all there is.

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