Rejecting America’s Historical Culture of Violence

“I hope this means the cops will stop shooting people like us.”

Gun violence is as American as apple pie. City dwellers fear for safety in big cities. As expected, racist Republicans are quick to insist that the shootings are the consequence of large black populations in major cities. By generating fear among whites, they hope to lessen the impact of the black vote, which is usually overwhelmingly Democratic.

It’s only recently that white people have realized that the police are a big source of gun deaths. According to the Washington Post tally, police shot 1,055 unarmed people in 2021. Black people were twice as likely as white people to be shot by police. While only 13% of the country’s population is black, 27% of those killed by police last year were black.

The most common reaction to this disparity is that the victims probably deserved what they got. This answer skirts the fundamental question of why the police must always carry guns. British police culture is quite different. The police do not carry weapons unless the situation demands it. As a result, police rarely fire their guns and in 2016 only one person was killed by police in Wales and England.

It is interesting to note that in England, the presence of a large black population does not create a particular violent environment. In west London, 48% of the population is black and other minorities, and there is no gun violence.

Clearly, the United States has cultivated elements of a culture that supports gun violence. One issue is the tolerance for deadly assaults on Native Americans and blacks who have not conformed to the lower social status imposed on them. In fact, crime was not seen as an important social issue as long as black people were victims of violence.

In 1921, white people decimated the black neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, because people refused to hand over a young black man to be lynched for allegedly sexually harassing a white girl. Black people insisted that he be prosecuted according to law. In 1955, Emmett Till, a young Chicago boy visiting relatives in Mississippi, was brutally murdered for staring at a white woman. And in Tuskegee, researchers found that whites lynched 3,446 blacks, mostly in the South, from 1882 to 1968.

Whites are led by Republicans to fear violence. Perhaps they fear black reprisals because of their past atrocities against black people. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nonviolent Ministry has indicated that a general backlash is unlikely, but Minister Louis Farrakhan’s leadership among black men has been most responsible for maintaining peace.

The mass media has falsely asserted over the years that the Nation of Islam is the source of the violence. They come to this erroneous conclusion because of the affirmation of Farrakhan’s speeches in opposition to the denial of black rights and equality. But it’s important to note that Farrakhan has a deep respect for human life. In all the years of his leadership, no one has been physically harmed under his leadership.

The best way for fearful Republicans to keep themselves safe is to spread love and equality to others. Rest assured that people will get the message and they will be able to walk unscathed among those thought to be hostile.

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