Neuman: Sean Taylor, Whitlock, & Black on Black Crime

Neuman is a good friend of mine. We agree on social and political issues about 50-60% of the time. But even when I disagree with him I always appreciate his persuasive, thoughtful, and provocative arguments. His comments on my last post about Sean Taylor are a great example. I decided to bump it up to a post for some more shine since it framed the issues of Taylor’s death, the response by Whitlock and others, and black on black crime in an interesting way. With his permission, I’m also including additional comments of his from a private group on which we converse with several other close friends.

Did I miss something? Did they catch Taylor’s murderer overnight and ESPN failed to report (for the first time) a salacious angle in a sports story?

If they caught Taylor’s murderer overnight and he or she confessed, then everything I’m about to say is not only irrelevant but wrong. However, if the last thing I heard on TV before I dozed off last night remains good information, i.e. the chief investigator stating that they had no suspects and that the facts ascertained to this point do not link Taylor in any way to his own death, then Whitlock and Field Negro are way off in their analysis.

First, on what basis do Whitlock and Negro (or is it Field?) jump to the conclusion that Taylor’s murderer is black? Because Taylor was black? Based on what we know about the murder, which is virtually nothing, the killer could be white, brown, or magenta.

I question the extent to which popular assumptions and images (you know, the subtle but pervasive notion in the media that every black man wakes in the morning with bloodlust to snuff another black man for stepping on his Timberlands) have crept into the consciousness of Whitlock and Negro to assert–on no facts–that the killer is black.

Moreover, Whitlock’s theory of suicide by immaturity is just stupid. First, there is no evidence that Taylor’s murder was related to any of the exemplars of bad choices he made that Whitlock chronicles. Second, I am saddened that Whitlock’s faith in the redemption of humanity is non-existent.

People grow up; people change; people mature; people develop. In fact, Jeremy Shockey talks in the Daily News about what a changed man Taylor was after his daughter was born. Thank God we are not governed by Whitlock’s rule that poor choices = death by shotgun. We’d all be dead.

Finally, I think we need to start thinking about black on black crime in a different way. Isn’t there a real difference between drug boys shooting each other over territory, money, and drugs than, say, a botched burglary where the homeowner and burglar happen to be black? Or a black woman who shoots her husband when she finds him sleeping with the babysitter, or whatever? I posit that the former example is a more significant concern to blacks because of our disproportionate and devastating representation in the drug trade, whereas the latter examples can happen to anyone.

If, contrary to the findings of the current investigation, it turns out that Taylor was killed because he was beefing with other blacks and they brought the beef to him in his home (which seems unlikely since the only weapon Taylor had in his home was a machete—I mean, does anyone think he brought a knife to a gun fight?), then this is “true” black on black crime.

However, if Taylor surprised a burglar (black or white) and they shot him in fleeing or for some other reason developed on the spot, then this is not “true” black on black crime since the latter likely would have occurred irrespective of the individuals’ races.

Either way, it’s incredibly tragic.

And some additional comments on Whitlock’s use of the term “Black KKK” from our private online group:

There is a troubling disconnect between Taylor’s homicide and the existence of what Whitlock calls the Black KKK. Even if Taylor was killed by a black person two things don’t necessarily follow: (1) that the killing qualifies as “black on black crime,” as I touch upon on Mike’s blog and (2) it was the Black KKK.

For one thing, the very notion of a Black Klan is idiotic. Just because two entities share a result does not make the entities, themselves, analogous. Here, the commonality that makes Whitlock link the KKK with black murderers (who kill black victims) is that both the KKK and black murderers seek to kill black men. But, just because I got Halle Berry pregnant and her current boyfriend got her pregnant don’t make me her boyfriend.

Furthermore, while the KKK was an entity the Black KKK is not. It is the nebulous, nameless, voiceless actors that strikes fear in the heart of America. Whitlock falls victim to his own ideology in that he demonizes a whole group of people without knowing who they are or what the stand for; just like the KKK.

Unless a person is criminally insane, it is not possible to inflict the kind of violence inflicted by the KKK unless the actor dehumanizes the victim in some manner. Note the pervasive practice of burning lynching victims to erase their existence from the memory humankind.

Whitlock tries to skirt the issue by identifying “hip hop” as a core cause. But that is weak. I don’t have to explain how obviously he fails to persuade the reader that the Black KKK has a face—it’s 50 Cents’! Gabbage.

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