The decision by Governor Jay Nixon (D-MO) to declare a state of emergency in his state ahead of the grand jury decision in the killing of Michael Brown has been a hot topic this week, and resulted in a very clarifying moment on NBC’s Meet The Press Sunday morning. In discussing cities with disproportionately white police forces, giuliani decided to change the subject to, what else, so-called “black-on-black crime,” a favorite hobby horse of police apologists, but one which is usually played for concern-trolling effect. Not this time.
Giuliani brought up the statistic that 93% of black homicide victims are killed by black people, and wondered why this doesn’t sufficiently distract people from caring when cops kill unarmed black people. “I would like to see the attention paid to that that you are paying to this, and the solutions so to that,” Giuliani said.
Panelist and Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson quickly pointed out the false equivalence at work there, given that “most black people who commit crimes against black people go to jail,” and that “they are not sworn by the police department as a agent of the state to uphold the law.”
That’s when Giuliani, straining to get his racist words in edgewise, explicitly exposed the white police state’s philosophy: that black communities, that black people, are inherently criminal.
Giuliani: “It’s the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community.”
Dyson: “The police presence cannot make a distinction between those who are criminals, and those who call the police to stop the criminals.”
Giuliani: “What about the poor black child killed by another black child? Why aren’t you protesting?”
Dyson: “I do protest, I’m a minister. They go to jail. Why don’t you talk about the way in which white policemen have undercut the abilities of Americans to live?”
Giuliani: “So why don’t you cut it down so so many white police officers don’t have to be in black areas? I put white police officers…”
Giuliani: “How about 70 do 75% of the crime in my city takes place in black cities?”
Dyson: “How about your attitude reinforces the problematic perspective that prevails in the culture?”
Giuliani: “How about you reduce crime? The white polive officers won’t be there if you weren’t killing each other.“
Holy shit. There are almost too many racist white policing tropes to unpack there, but let’s begin with the most glaringly racist thing that Giuliani said, which is that Michael Eric Dyson, who has never killed anyone as far as I know, needs to stop killing so many people. Obviously, when Giuliani uses the word “you,” he means it in the plural “you black people” sense, but by saying it to Dyson, he illustrates the absurdity of the police mindset that has them “reasonably suspecting” nine innocent black men out of every ten, for example, or gunning them down for holding toys. To Giuliani and his ilk, black people aren’t being killed by criminals, they are killing each other, so the cops aren’t there to protect black people, they are there to pacify a population that is killing each other.
Now, there are some in the racism as “realism” community who will say “But he’s not being racist, he’s just speaking uncomfortable truths. The STATS! They are killing each other.”
The funny thing about that statistic, though, is that it comes from a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics that says this in the very same sentence:
About 93% of black homicide victims and 85% of white victims in single victim and single offender homicides were murdered by someone of their race.
Well, what do you know. So, do white people also need to “stop killing each other,” too? For Whatever Reason™, people like Giuliani look at those stats and see black people as the threat, but not white people. The unfortunate thing is that it is becoming ever more acceptable to share this view in polite company. If there is a silver lining, it is that Giuliani has just helpfully decoded the thinking behind Governor Nixon’s controversial decision.