It's Not "Black-On-Black" Crime. Here's Why.
RACE 10/06/2039 7:28 AM ET
It's Not "Black-On-Black" Crime. Here's Why.

Tanequa McArnett
Deputy Race Editor, Huntington Courier

CC BY-SA 4.0 - image changes released under same license Courtroom by Priya Deonarain | Writer image: CC0 1.0 Image by Unknown author| Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
In the whitest of white traditions and the whitest of white legal systems, can it really be "black-on-black" crime?
Last week, Jordan Farrel was shot and killed in a convenience store in Queens, New York. A day later, JaMarius Bartholomew was arrested by Connecticut State Police.

He was arraigned and bail was set at one million dollars.

We hear a lot about "black-on-black" crime and we have heard these words for decades. The term is in theory a description of crime which occurs as a result of one black person's actions against another black person. As if that is the sum total of the experience to be deduced.

"Black-on-black" crime is a construction of white people to avoid the obvious and confronting impact of the truth of centuries of white oppression, discrimination, harassment and brutality (including death) toward people of color in this country.

Its goal is to shift the focus to black people from what should be an earnest look in the mirror for white America.

No one can deny JaMarius Bartholomew killed a black man - if he is found guilty, that is (let's not go there. For now.)

But how is it that when Dave Alexandre pulled out his pistol last week in Pecan Island, LA, and shot his friend Curt Winch in the head, killing him instantly, that this was not categorized as "white-on-white" crime?

The answer lies in the perceptions involved before the mind can begin categorizing.

If the mind has already determined a pre-existing tendency toward crime (in other words, that black people are more likely to come rob your house) then emphasizing the "blackness" of the crime makes far more sense. It is confirmation bias because what you wanted to believe came true, and you get to categorize it as a uniquely black crime. Blacks killing blacks. Them colored folk killing more of their own.

A recent Harris poll showed that 72% of white people think black people are more prone to nonviolent crime than white people. That number goes up to 86% when referring to violent criminal acts.

White people are happy with the term "black-on-black" crime because it fits their preferred narrative.

But the circumstances must be woven into the narrative to locate the truth. When Jordan Farrel, who was working at the convenience store, confronted JaMarius Bartholomew about shoplifting, he was doing so because the owner of the store, a white man, had the previous week confronted him about previous shoplifting.

In the words of his girlfriend, Aya Valentina, "he told him he needed to look out for shoplifting more, or else it was coming out of his paycheck." A white man, choosing to blame shoplifting not on shoplifters, but on the black man whose job it was to take money in exchange for goods, not work as a security guard.

Would Jordan Farrel be alive if the store owner had instructed him to call the police when he suspected shoplifting?

JaMarius Bartholomew's story can similarly be tied to white authority.

He was orphaned at the age of six, and sent to live at a state institution run by notorious pedophile Cliff Ambrosse, a white man known to have molested children in his care until his conviction in 2021. Even if Bartholomew did not experience abuse directly, the effects of living under the shadow of such acts hardly needs to be pointed out.

When he was fifteen Bartholomew was finally released from state care into the hands of a (white) foster family. In later testimony obtained by counsel, Bartholomew alleged regular beatings by the father, and emotional abuse committed by the mother. He alleged the siblings hated him and took every opportunity to make his life miserable.

He found solace with friends from school which ended up with his first brush with the law: a three month stint in a juvenile detention center at the age of seventeen. He had been found guilty (by a white judge) of posession with intent to distribute. Three months for a juvenile for that crime is unheard of.

By the time he was released Bartholomew was a legal adult. He was arrested four more times in the next two years (by predominantly white officers), and ended up serving a year for robbery in New Jersey (again, sentenced by a white judge) despite a strong alibi.

Upon finishing his sentence, he was entered into a work-release program at the end of which he was accused (by a white employer) of stealing on the job.

He had fathered a child before he had gone to prison. According to police documents, he stated that he had no desire to steal while on work-release, because he wanted "to straighten myself out and take responsibility for my son." The charges were dropped for a lack of evidence.

Three months later his son was taken by the state on grounds of neglect. In an interview with Blk/Life magazine in the wake of Bartholomew's arrest, his girlfriend stated that "he hated them white people who took his son away."

JaMarius Bartholomew was sent by a system populated with white people to live with a (white) sexual predator as a child, then to live with an abusive (white) family, then outrageously sentenced to juvenile detention by a (white) judge, then arrested repeatedly by (white) police officers, then sentenced by another (white) judge, then falsely accused by a (white) employer, then deprived of his child by (white) child protection officers.

White, white, white, white, white, white, white.

At the time of the alleged murder, his girlfriend said he was carrying fifty cents. They had not eaten since the previous day. This is the modern black condition.

Is it really "black-on-black" crime?
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