8 Arguments Used to Blame Black People for Their Own Oppression — and How to Counteract Them


Black people are too intent on holding on to wrongdoings from the past. Therefore, they keep blaming someone else for their problems.

The list of wrongs done to Black people throughout their history in the U.S. that are still resonating in their lives today is extensive and extremely disturbing. As a result of hundreds of years of subjugation in an oppressive, racist system, Black households have one-tenth the wealth of white households in this country. While the Civil Rights Era enabled African-Americans to make great advances in the past 40 years — achieving high school, college and post-graduate degrees at accelerating rates — the disparities are still enormous and will take many generations to overcome without direct intervention. And by the way, the leveling of the playing field helps white people by enabling previously disadvantaged citizens to contribute to the nation’s economy to the full extent of their potential.

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If Blacks weren’t committing so much crime, they wouldn’t get so much attention from police.

The common impulse of whites has always been to blame Blacks for pathologies that whites played a central role in creating. Criminologist Charles Silberman wrote in 1978 that “it would be hard to imagine an environment better calculated to evoke violence than the one in which black Americans have lived.” Pretending Black crime is a Black-created problem is like pretending New Orleans never got hit by a hurricane. Since the epidemic of unarmed Blacks being killed by police comes not when Black crime is high but when it is at its lowest level in generations, this argument that police are in Black communities because of the prevalence of crime appears not to be substantiated by the facts. Homicides committed by African-Americans declined by half between 1991 and 2008. Since the early 1990s, arrests of Black juveniles have plunged by more than half. In New York City, where Eric Garner was killed by police, the rate of homicides by Blacks is down by 80 percent. In Chicago, where most murders are committed by African-Americans, the number last year was the lowest since 1965 — and this year’s could be lower yet. And yet Blacks continue to be killed by police. Exploding crime in the Black community doesn’t appear to be the impetus.

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