Elon Musk Is Right About White-on-Black Crime

Elon Musk recently commented on a compelling editorial cartoon, produced by someone with the Twitter handle “End Wokeness,” that highlights vital crime statistics. The cartoon features a chart showing the number of interracial violent crime incidents by race, based on numbers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. It shows that the number of black-on-white crimes is nine times higher than the number of white-on-black crimes, yet a news media cameraman has zoomed in on the white-on-black number so that it’s the only thing TV viewers can see. 

In response, Musk wrote: “Odd, why would the media misrepresent the real situation to such an extreme degree?”

Of course, the answer is that the media is determined to portray America as “systemically racist.” Sure enough, the response from the Left is that Musk is “racist” for drawing attention to such a “misleading” cartoon. 

Marc Owen Jones, a professor in Qatar who “researches disinformation,” objects to the fact that the cartoon’s chart, which is titled “Interracial Violent Crime Incidents 2018,” shows interracial violent crime incidents in 2018. Apparently when one shows such stats, one is also obligated to show stats on intra-racial violent crime, or so Jones suggests. 

Meantime, independent journalist Aaron Rupar writes that Musk is “posting crude racism” by calling attention to the cartoon. And, naturally, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), responding to Rupar, opines, “At this rate he’s gonna be begging for MyPillow ad buys in no time.”

I was the director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) when the stats in question were released, and the cartoon captures them perfectly and accurately. In America, far more violent crimes are committed by black offenders against white victims than by white offenders against black victims. This, of course, cuts against the narrative of “systemic racism,” which is why the press makes every effort to suggest the opposite.

Jones, the Qatar prof, complains that the chart doesn’t show stats on intra-racial violent crime. But such statistics, which are included in the same BJS report on which the cartoon is based, don’t contradict the cartoon’s point but rather strengthen it. The American Main Street Initiative (of which I am president) cites such intra-racial crime stats in its most recent Quick Hits, entitled “Are Cops ‘Systemically Racist’?—and is America?

Quoting BJS, the four-page Quick Hits observes: “Sixty-two percent of violent incidents committed against white victims were perceived to be committed by white offenders, the same portion (62%) of the total U.S. population (age 12 or older).” What’s more, “In stark contrast, ‘Among black victims, the percentage of violent incidents perceived to be committed by black offenders (70%) was 5.8 times higher than the representation of black persons in the population (12%).’”

In other words, black victims are disproportionally likely to be victimized by members of their own race. Yet the Quick Hits notes that “on the whole, black Americans are victimized by violent crime at similar rates as other Americans. The reason for this is that there are comparatively few violent crimes committed by white (or Hispanic) residents against black residents.”

All of these statistics are based on BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which asks victims about the demographics of those who committed the crimes against them. Dating back to the Nixon Administration, the NCVS is the nation’s largest crime survey and one of the largest federal surveys on any topic.

This important survey allows us to examine whether the people who cops arrest for crimes are the same as those who commit the crimes, at least in a demographic sense. The BJS report, “Race and Ethnicity of Violent Crime Offenders and Arrestees, 2018,” which the Quick Hits summarizes, found that for serious non-fatal violent crimes reported to police, white people accounted for 41 percent of offenders and 39 percent of arrestees; black people accounted for 43 percent of offenders and 36 percent of arrestees; and Asians accounted for 2.5 percent of offenders and 1.5 percent of arrestees. None of these differences between the percentage of offenders and the percentage of arrestees of a given race were statistically significant.

Quick Hits concludes: “These BJS statistics provide no evidence to support the claim of widespread ‘systemic racism’ in our nation’s police forces . . . Far from providing evidence of ‘systemic racism,’ such statistics provide evidence of systemic justice.”

But those who are determined to divide Americans by race, rather than uniting us by our political creed (as Lincoln suggested), dismiss any and all such evidence. Theirs is not an America conceived in liberty, but rather one conceived in slavery, and anything that counteracts that narrative must be cancelled. Hence AOC’s suggestion that corporations will refuse to advertise on Twitter because Musk dared draw attention to a cartoon based on official federal statistics.

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