Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson called out former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani after he suggested people need to divert their energy towards “Black on Black” crime rather than the police killings of Black men all across the nation.
It’s an age-old attack from white commentators that makes many people in the Black community sick to their stomachs—why aren’t Black people focused on solving Black on Black crime instead of focusing on police gunning down Black men on what seems to be a regular basis?
The comparison is riddled with logical fallacies and Dyson had no problem breaking them down for the former mayor.
Both men recently appeared on “Meet the Press” along with Anthony Gray, the attorney for the Michael Brown family.
As the panel discussed whether or not Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson should be charged with the murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown, Guiliani said Black people should be more concerned with the way Blacks are “killed by other Blacks.”
“I would like to see the attention paid to that, that you are paying to this,” the former mayor quipped.
Dyson quickly explained that the comparison was null and void.
“First of all, most Black people who commit crimes against other Black people go to jail,” Dyson said. “Number two, they are not sworn by the police department as an agent of the state to uphold the law. So in both cases, that’s a false equivalency that the mayor has drawn, which has exacerbated tensions that are deeply imbedded in American culture.”
He summarized his point by adding, “Black people who kill Black people go to jail. White people who are policeman who kill Black people do not go to jail. If a jury can indict a ham sandwich, why is it taking so long?”
Giuliani then argued that if Black on Black crime were not so high in the city, police officers wouldn’t have to be there in the first place and they wouldn’t have the opportunity to gun down Black men.
“It is the reason for the heavy police presence in the Black community,” the former mayor said. “What about the poor Black child that is killed by another Black child? Why aren’t you protesting?”
Once again, Dyson reminded the mayor that Black people who commit crimes against other Black people are punished by the law and rather quickly.
“Those people go to jail,” Dyson responded. “I do protest it, I’m a minister. They go to jail. Why don’t you talk about the way in which white policemen undercut the abilities of Americans to live?”
Giuliani remained firm in his stance and insisted that the police presence is only there to keep Black people from killing one another—an idea that Dyson said was a part of the “defense mechanism of white supremacy.”
“Your attitude reinforces the problematic perspective that prevails in the culture, sir,” Dyson said. “Look at this. This is the defense mechanism of white supremacy at work in your mind, sir.”
In the midst of the heated exchange, the show’s own host Chuck Todd attempted to remind the mayor that there is also an issue of trust at hand.
In many Black communities the trust between police officers and the Black residents has been shattered due to the countless number of Black people who have been abused and even killed by police officers who are often punished with nothing more than a slap on the wrist and a few days of paid leave.
Despite the controversy and backlash the former mayor received for the comments, he took to Fox & Friends on Monday morning to back up his claims and even added that he has saved more Black lives than any mayor in New York’s history.
“I probably saved more Black lives as mayor of New York City than any mayor in the history of this city,” he said. “I’d like to see if Dr. Dyson has ever saved as many lives in his community as I’ve saved.”
Unfortunately, defense mechanisms like the one the mayor is continuing to stand behind still plague America’s institutions and somehow push the blame of the mass killings of Black men by white police officers back on the Black community.