Stop Making Excuses for Violence

Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa killed ten people, one of them a police officer.

You know the establishment media wanted a white Christian shooter to be the perpetrator in Boulder, Colorado. They wanted a white man taken alive, shot in the leg, so they could exclaim, “Had he been a black shooter….” They waited to hear the excuse: “He was mentally ill.” Were there Asian-Americans in the store? Hispanics?

The media waited for a long time to tell us the name of the shooter. They had to come out with it because the Internet is still too open. They will likely never tell us that Al-Issa had ISIS sympathies and loathed homosexuals (or was anti-Trump). Facebook scrubbed Al-Issa’s pages and the screenshots taken by smart citizens journalists will likely never make it to the mainstream.

Al-Issa’s brother gave the media a different motive, if we can call it that: Al-lissa is mentally ill. The Daily Beast carried the headline this morning: “‘Very Anti-Social’: Suspect in Boulder Supermarket Massacre Was Paranoid, Brother Says.” Since Arabs are white, perhaps this can be thrown into “white shooters are always mentally ill” complaint after all. Anything but Islamic terrorism. That might make people wonder where Islamic terrorism went and whether Trump had anything to do with its (temporary) disappearance.

Have you seen this bit of woke leftist propaganda? By “white violence,” I assume violence committed by white people. It could mean, more abstractly, racist violence that results from white supremacy. Leftists are sharing the meme in the wake of the Atlanta shootings, crimes portrayed by the establishment media as a manifestation of white supremacy, so perhaps there’s a bit of both in the slogan. The Atlanta shooting is not an instance of anti-Asian bias crime, however, so that piece lies in the imaginary (see How Establishment Dissembling on Atlanta Denies Real Problems).

However, it is keeping with the spirit of many memes over the last several years that assert the falsehood that the media is quick to blame crimes committed ethnic, racial, and religious minorities on their communities, while rationalizing crimes committed by whites. (I have blogged about this over the years, see Everything Progressives Say About Mass Shootings is Wrong…and Racist; Whites Not Overrepresented in Mass Murder; On the Racialization of Mass Shootings; Misogyny, Religion, and Capitalism: Among the Many Causes of Mass Shootings.) Here’s a recent instantiation of the meme:

First, the idea that white crime is excused is false on its face. As I will document below, blacks are many times more likely than whites to perpetrate criminal violence, yet the media rarely cover it. The media pushed instead a narrative for months that police officers disproportionately kill black men in the face of decades of research showing that this is simply not true (see The Myth of Systemic Racism in Lethal Police-Civilian Encounters; The Far Podcast: The Myth of Systemic Racism in Lethal Police Officer-Civilian Encounters). The narrative depended in part on the public not knowing the extent of criminal violence perpetrated by black men, which, along with other contextual factors, explains the racial disparities in lethal civilian-officer encounters. However, when whites perpetrate criminal violence, the media is quick to report it.

Consider the long list of white perpetrators of violence that have become household names: David Berkowitz, Lizzie Borden, the Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Ed Gein, Edward Kemper, Charles Manson, Gary Ridgeway (the Green River Killer), Jack the Ripper, Aileen Wuornos, the Zodiac killer. The list is far from complete. I haven’t included any school shooters. I haven’t included mass murderers.

If you read that list and thought of names of serial killers I forgot to include, then you understand the point. You probably thought of Columbine and Sandy Hook and all the other school shootings. You probably know the names of those shooters. You certainly know their race. You thought of Anders Breivik, Charles Whitman, Dylann Roof, Craig Paddock, and James Holmes, didn’t you?

For all the news stories, books, documentaries, and movies about the real-life killers, even more books, movies, and television shows have been made about mass murderers who never existed. Are the killers in those movies black or white? Was Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb a real or fictional serial killer? (Jame was a clerical error on his birth certificate.)

If no or few black perpetrators of mass murder came to mind, you get the point even more. Or Muslim. Did you forget Omar Mateen (Orlando)? Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik (San Bernardino)? Nidal Hasan (Fort Hood)?

Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa would make the notable mass murderer list had he been white Christian and named Bobby Ray Jones.

According to Statista, “Between 1982 and March 2021, 66 out of the 121 mass shootings in the United States were carried out by white shooters. By comparison, the perpetrator was African American in 21 mass shootings, and Latino in 10. When calculated as percentages, this amounts to 54 percent, 17 percent and eight percent respectively.”

Whites are between 67 and 73 percent of the population. Blacks are less than 13 percent. Since most Latinos are white, we might assume that increases the white percentage. At the same time, given the overrepresentation of blacks in mass shootings, it possible that those Latinos carry a black identity. But you get the picture. Why do you falsely think that mass shooters are disproportionately white?

Second, it is not excusing “white violence,” to recognize that, given the nature of the crime, a person is likely suffering from a mental illness. Indeed, the claim that whites are falsely excused by mental illness (the notion that the excuse is an expression of “white privilege”) is betrayed by research conducted by Grant Duwe who compiled an exhaustive set of numbers for mass public shootings, identifying 160 cases between 1915-2013. Of those, 97 involved shooters who had either been diagnosed with a serious mental illness or showed signs of one. “The 61% is actually a minimum estimate,” writes Duwe (see Mass Murder in the United States: A History).

That the circumstances surrounding Atlanta suggest mental illness is just being honest about the fact pattern. Why should we deny fact patterns because others have an agenda to make killings by white people fit a particular narrative? Because they call the facts racist? Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa’s brother says he was mentally ill. Is that allowed? Ahmad was described as white in early news stories (he still is, according to standard race theory).

Here’s another meme that twists the truth. Shaun King is spreading this one. It doesn’t show you armed black men taken alive and unarmed white men killed by police. You wouldn’t know from everything you hear through the establishment and legacy media that twice as many white men are killed by the police than black men every year even though black men commit half of the most violent crimes—homicide and robbery—in America. This propaganda has been thoroughly debunked but it keeps coming. It manufactures an illusion of systemic racism, a thing that does not exist. The system of racism was dismantled more than half a century ago.

The charge of racism is because the memes are debunked by fact patterns. If we speak in the manner of the left, where everything is about race, but speak with facts, it becomes clear that the establishment media and progressives on social media suppress reality while elevating a manufactured narrative concerning crime in America. If they want a conversation about race, then let’s have an accurate one.

For a detailed analysis see my Mapping the Junctures of Social Class and Racial Caste: An Analytical Model for Theorizing Crime and Punishment in US History. The statistics are dramatic. Black men are more than six times more likely to murder than white men. The most dangerous places in America are black-majority inner-city neighborhoods. White men are underrepresented in the commission of homicide. Because blacks murder at much higher rate, and because of the intraracial nature of murder, many more blacks are murder victims than whites. Black lives matter? The woke left doesn’t care about that. Those victims do not advance their narrative. Inconvenient facts. The left cares about black people like the Chinese Communist Party cares about the Chinese people. (“If They Cared.” Confronting the Denial of Crime and Violence in American Cities)

Black men are less than six percent of the population overall, but in raw numbers, they commit more than half of all homicides. The United States is the most homicidally violent county among advance industrial societies. Moreover, black men are more likely to kill white people than white people are to kill black people (Why are there so Many More White than Black Victims of Interracial Homicide?). Black men commit more than half of all robberies. To be sure, most robbery is intraracial, but the fact is that white people are far more likely to be the victims of robbery committed by black people than the other way around (and not by a little). Black men commit approximately one-third of all aggravated assaults. These are the most serious assaults. In other words, less than six percent of the population commits one third of all aggravated assaults. One wonders whether telling black people that their troubles are due to white privilege has anything to do with blacks targeting white people for homicide, robbery, and assault. How much of these crimes are in truth bias crimes? It plays no role in target selection? Reparations? Retribution? We heard this justification in rioting.

The media cannot wait for the next mass murder committed by a mentally ill white person so it can hypostatize white supremacy. But where is the reporting of the routine mass murder committed by gangs in America’s inner cities? Do the children caught in the crossfire of gang violence not matter? Do bystanders in drive-by no matter? Apparently not, because the left wants to defund the police. If you don’t see why this is relevant, understand that mass murder is defined as the killing of three-four people in a single event including murders occurring in multiple locations over a short temporal period but involving the same perpetrators. If you know anything about gang violence, you will know that mass murders occur routinely in America’s inner-cities, and the perpetrators are not often white, and these crimes are rarely reported.

The media loves a good story about the lone white person committing a heinous crime, but where is the reporting about the cartels operating north and south of our border murdering people on a daily basis? Have you been following the reality of the transnational trade in human beings supported by the Democratic Party and the Catholic Church? You should. If you care about people. Where is the reporting on China, which is committing genocide and is responsible for the mass murder of millions of Chinese and the forced abortions of hundreds of millions of fetuses? We’re told that it’s racist to criticize Central and South American and Chinese criminals.

When it comes to violence against Asian immigrants and Asian Americans, all the rage in the establishment media at the present moment, the vast majority of those who perpetrate such crimes are black. This gets virtually no media attention. Telling folks that Asians are a “model minority,” the implication that they are responsible for black poverty and suffering, lurks behind violence against Asians (see The Rise in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes. Trump-inspired? Not Quite). As suggested above, it lurks behind anti-white violence.

The media makes it sound as if there is a crime wave of whites committing violence against minorities. It’s not true. The media are smart enough to know it’s not true. That makes it a lie. It’s propaganda. We hear endlessly about the January 6th “insurrection,” and how the greatest threat to the republic is white supremacists and white nationalists, while we hear constantly downplaying and rationalizing about the months of criminal violence committed by BLM and its left allies that the establishment encouraged. When we discovered that the vast majority of people milling about the Capitol that day, many of whom were invited in by the police, were not members of any extremist organizations, selected experts told twisted this to mean that threat wasn’t from extremist organizations, but from ordinary conservatives (“A New Kind of American Radicalism”: The Campaign to Portray Ordinary America as Deviant and Dangerous).

Whites are underrepresented either or both absolutely and proportionally in the most serious violent crimes. So why are we being subjected to these memes telling us to stop making excuses for white violence? The left is playing the race card hard to delegitimize the American republic, which they equate to whiteness, which they reduce to white supremacy. Crime by whites is amplified or manufactured, while crime by blacks is downplayed or ignored. The truth is flipped. The memes are designed to present an inverted truth. They make this about race to dissimulate and drive the dismantling of the nation.

Anti-white propaganda is a corporatist strategy to ingratiate the capitalist elite to minorities by manufacturing a fake enemy and making the machinery of liberty and democracy appear as oppressive tools of white supremacy. Identitarian education and training is designed to make minorities feel like their exploiters care about them and see their comrades as their adversaries. The corporatist propagandist manufactures an enemy—this time white people—to distract from the real adversary, namely the corporate elite who exploit minority labor and control their life chances.

The objective in all this is to keep minorities from recognizing what they share in common with the majority, namely membership in the working class. Simply put, it is divide and conquer. But the same power that exploits minority labor and controls their life chances also exploits the labor and controls the life chances of the majority.

The old racism covered the exploitation of minorities by giving whites race privilege (whites were not slaves and enjoyed superior facilities). Dismantling the system of white privilege forced a modification in the ideological system. The focus was shifted to make whites the target of racial resentment. This is the new racism. Same as the old racism. Put another way, the revolution-from-above is no revolution at all. Same boss.

The promise of civil rights and national integrity was to produce a unified cultural foundation for the organization of collective political consciousness and action around social social class. The corporate elite weren’t about to let that happen. So, antiracism, the ideology the depicts whites as privileged racist violent oppressors.

* * *

I want make sure people understand something. When I say that 54 percent of murderers in America are black men, I am not saying that most black people are murderers. Heavens no. In fact, only a small percentage of black men are murderers. It’s like when I say that most poor people in America are white, I am not saying that most white people are poor. Most white people are not in fact poor (neither are most black people).

With respect to murder, it is an important question to ask: Why are black men so drastically overrepresented in murder? Black men are drastically overrepresented among murder victims, as well, their murderers mostly other black men, so it is indeed an important question if black lives matter. Whatever the reason, it’s not poverty, as the analog I just used makes clear. If poverty were the reason, white men would be overrepresented, not underrepresented in murder.

Facts aren’t racist. If one hears the statistics of black overrepresentation in serious crime and thinks these statistics are offensive, it’s because, in possession of racial consciousness, that person feels the statistics reflect poorly on the black community. A lot of blacks feel they do. And many people think we should start talking about it and do something about it.

I was raised to worry about sharing facts like these because I was taught that there is an epistemic and moral privilege to be granted historically-oppressed minorities. This privilege runs in a perverse direction. Indeed, progressive whites are supposed to cover up uncomfortable facts. (For example, the poor academic performance of blacks as a group compared to Asians and whites. For example, the number of black children born out of wedlock. There are lots of facts like these.)

It was part of my indoctrination to believe I enjoy a race privilege I never possessed and that, for this reason, I have a special responsibility to keep quiet about such things as a tax on my alleged inherited advantages. In other words, history has already paid me to be silent on certain subjects. When you re told you can’t say certain things because you are white, that is exactly what that means.

I write about such things because (a) I am a criminologist who studies such things (race, class, crime, punishment, etc.) and (b) there is a political campaign to make white-as-a-group appear as privileged racist violent oppressors. (a) Means I have a professional obligation to frankly speak the facts. Because I am a criminologist, I know (b) isn’t true.

I know that, as a white man, this defamation potentially affects me and my family. It already enlists our participation in programs that assume was are racists or the beneficiaries of racism. The fact that there is no systemic racism perpetuated by the white majority and that whites are underrepresented in criminal violence demolishes the campaign’s truth claims. That’s what makes the claims libelous and slanderous: they’re false and malicious. But it doesn’t stop whites from being punished for them.

If it were true that whites were these terrible things, even though I am not these terrible things, there would be no defamation (except to the extent that I should have to suffer for the actions of other people) and I would wonder what was going on with white people. In fact, when I believed these things were true, I wondered this. But these things are not true and everybody in my line of work either knows it, isn’t very good at grasping demographic and crime statistics, or—like the old me—deceiving themselves by rationalizing the statistics.

To the extent that whites may be thought of as a community—and it seems the academy and the media very much want whites to think of themselves as such—one might expect that, as soon as enough whites learn the truth and stop apologizing for their race, the entire progressive structure, built as it is on a multitude of false assumptions and claims, will be delegitimized and crumble.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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