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From The Grio — On January 21st, 2013, King College Prep’s marching band traveled from Chicago to Washington to perform at President Barack Obama‘s second inauguration festivities.

This band had a beautiful and talented 15 year-old majorette  who was an honor student and planned to spend time in Paris as part of an exchange program.

On January 29th, after returning back to Chicago, she stood in Vivian Gordon Harsh park with her classmates, who were just released early from an exam, when an 18-year old gunman hopped a fence and opened fire at the group, believing he spotted a rival gang member.

The young girl was hit in the back by a stray bullet never meant for her, and she died. Her name was Hadiya Pendleton. Two years after her death, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners approved a request to rename nearby Buckthorn Park after Hadiya.

This undated file family photo provided by Damon Stewart shows 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton of Chicago who was was shot and killed Jan. 29, 2013 in a park during a gang dispute she had nothing to do with about a mile from President Barack Obama’s Chicago home. Hadiya was laid to rest Feb. 9, 2103. Since her death, the number of homicides and other violent crimes that turned Chicago into a national symbol of gun violence have fallen sharply as the city and police have changed their strategies. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Damon Stewart, File)

This undated file family photo provided by Damon Stewart shows 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton of Chicago. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Damon Stewart, File) 

And it was inside that very same park that 17-year old Vonzell Banks was shot to death this past weekend while playing basketball with his friends. And the most frustrating part of it all is that he was not the only person to tragically lose his life this past weekend in Chicago, where shootings injured 53 people and cost nine their lives, including Amari Brown, a seven-year-old boy who caught a bullet intended for his gang-associated father.

Unfortunately, as a West Indian citizen, this type of violence is not new to me. Much of my extended family and my closest friends are Jamaican, and I remember how just 10 years ago, Jamaica had the highest murder rate in the world. On an island with 2.6 million people, 1,674 citizens were murdered, equaling a rate of 58 per 100,000 people (in the same year, Chicago, a city of 2.8 million people had 446 murders, equaling a rate of 15 per 100,000).

Seventeen-year-old Vonzell Banks (Family Photo)

Seventeen-year-old Vonzell Banks (Family Photo)

When this brutality engulfed segments of Jamaica a decade ago, local natives and former residents living abroad bandied about many theories on why crime was occurring at such a high rate and what the possible solutions could be. Of all the professional and colloquial terms that were brought up in town halls, TV news panels and opinion articles, there was one term that was noticeably absent: “black-on-black crime.”

On the surface, lazy intellectualism would have you believe that’s because 92 percent of Jamaica is black, therefore eliminating the need to point out the ethnicity of who is committing the crime and who it’s being committed against since, there’s a nine out of ten chance they’re both black.

But there’s a far deeper reason why the term “black-on-black violence” is not used in Jamaica: Because analyzing the skin color of perpetrators and victims, in most cases, gives absolutely zero context to the nature of the crime and the systemic problems that lead to it.

The term “black on black crime” or “black on black violence” is a nothingness phrase. It is the height of prejudice in non-blacks who wax poetic with faux-philosophical insight and also self-hate in the black folks who throw that term around as if its mere mention is grounded in some type of mind-blowing truth.


(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

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  • BillipPhailey

    This term did not originate from without. It is a monster created by blacks and is now being used to discredit complaints about injustice.

  • [email protected]

    This is an excellent article. This article expresses exactly what I think on this issue. Many of the same ones who want to lecture people on “black on black crime” (which has been used by some as a coded phrase to promote the myth of black social inferiority) ignore the socioeconomic origins of crime in general. There must be not only programs to address gang violence. There has to be ways to handle poverty, chronic unemployment, and other problems plaguing suffering communities.

    #Black Lives Matter.

  • Objection

    I disagree with retiring the phrase “black on black crime.” I’m going to call a spade a spade. I don’t care how many black people get mad at me. For example, a black man beating up his black wife or girlfriend is “black on black crime”, period. Black children being abused by black parents is “black on black crime”, period.

    Poverty, racism, and social injustice is no excuse for murdering or harming the people who look like you.

    • Mitch

      As someone told me “being poor is no reason to be disrespectful”.

  • Yt loves the term black on black crime, its not going anywhere, although yes ITA. Making the conversation about gang culture or whatever type of violence it is I.e domestic violence would do us a lot more good.

    • [email protected]

      Exactly. We should call these acts as they are, which is about crimes.


    I never liked the term Black-On-Black crime, and always thought I was the only one feeling that way. I wonder who coined it to begin with. The saddest part is even “Black” fell for it and use it as well.

    A crime is a crime is a crime. A month or so ago White Bikers gangs were involved in a shoot-out. I don’t remember seeing articles refer to it as White on White crime.