Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Black on Black Crime and Corey Booker's Reality Check

This past week we, here in NJ have witnessed a great deal of murder. In East Orange NJ, a man was shot in his store eight times, four in the chest and four in the back in what appears to be a hit. I say a hit because there was nothing taken, it happened in the middle of the day and allegedly involved two other persons in a getaway car. Shortly after that there were two killings in Newark, NJ and then in Paterson NJ.

So roughly one week into the New Year and by the news reports at least 6 black people dead not by the hands of the police but by other black men out of uniform. It bears noting that all of this happened in areas with relatively poor black people live. This is important. So what about Corey Booker? Well if you recall the past two elections, Mr. Booker's main point was that there needed to be a change in Newark and that he could and would deliver a reduction in crime apparently simply by being seated in the "big house". Apparently he managed to convince a bunch of black folk in Newark to believe him as they handed him the seat to which he aspired. Well it was a bit more complicated then that but that's not the subject of this post. Of course Newark went on to have a record, or near record number of homicides, a trend clearly continuing into 2007.

Mr. Booker, channeling Guiliani has vowed, again, to "get tough" on crime in Newark, but I'm sure that the reality is slowly sinking into Mr. Booker's bright bald head:

It's not the policing.

See at first Booker and his supporters were to focused on Sharpe James, as if he was the one running around shooting people in Newark. While I'm sure that James had his dirt as most long time politicians do, James was not the problem facing Newark. I think James, among many others made, for better or worse, an uneasy peace with the crime in Newark. They knew, that policing was not going to change the problem because in the larger scheme of things, the problem isn't really crime.

Lest any newcomer to the blog think that I am going to excuse violence, lets be clear that those who pull the trigger are in fact the persons directly responsible for the crime and should pay for it. However; such lock 'em up policies are not addressing the real problem. poverty and friends. Let us be clear here that regardless to the amount of violence we see in black neighborhoods, as a percentage of the population, black offenders are, at most 2.5% of the total African-American population If we based that number on the incarceration rate. There are statistics about the convicted that are instructive to this issue. According to the Department of Justice, in terms of education the two groups with the highest conviction rates, 30.6% and 26&% respectively, are persons with "some high school" and "high school diploma". The conviction rates drop precipitously for those who get a GED (18%) which tells us a very important thing: Those who consciously go for their education are less likely to commit or be convicted of a crime. This would mean that those who see a purpose to education, since one must seek out a GED as opposed to being "forced" to go to school, are less likely to commit crimes. Therefore it would make sense to focus on education, as in increasing it's perceived value, as a means of addressing crime.

Another statistic of interest was the income of those arrested (from 2002 statistics available from the DOJ).

71% of those arrested had employment, 57% of which claimed full time employment. Of these persons a whopping 60% had yearly incomes of $11,900 or less. I don't have these income stats by race or location, but if we assume that this pattern holds in Newark, then it should be very clear that the two major indicators, if not causations of crime in Newark, East Orange and Paterson, would be the educational system and the economy. It is pretty much well known that the vast majority of business in Newark are owned by persons who do not live in Newark or are simply non-existant. By non-existant I mean that Newark is not Manhattan, the number of jobs available to black residents of that city (and I have a hard time calling it a city in comparison to NY but that's my hang up), is simply not the same as other parts of NJ. Much of the high paying jobs exist in office parks and other places where travel is prohibitive. One has to remember that the vast majority of middle class persons in NJ who work in NJ do not take public transportation. Therefore it would stand to reason that in many cases the crime we see in Newark is partially indicative of the lack of other viable prospects for income.

The incomes of persons in Newark are reflective of this issue. From the 2000 census we learn that Newark residents who are in households where the head is aged between 25 and 35, have a median income of $28,000. In Bergen County the median income is $63,000 for the same age group and among blacks in that county by contrast the median income of the same aged residents for Essex County is $40,000.

When we focus on per capita income among blacks in those counties we find that blacks in Essex County have a per capita income of $16,067. In Newark the number is $12,648 and in Bergen county it is $24,109.

By comparison whites in Essex County have a per capita income of $35,578. In Bergen County whites have a per capita income of $36,290
And in Newark whites have a per capita income of 15,024.

It is quite clear then that blacks in NJ in general and Newark in particular do not have the income of even their white fellow Newark residents and are clearly behind those blacks and whites in Bergen County (understood to be the richest in the state) where such crimes do not occur as frequently and the perpetrators, especially the older white ones (whites are arrested for more violent crimes than blacks once they reach 40+ years old) who can afford decent lawyers.

So what does this have to do with Corey Booker and the shootings in these relatively poor black neighborhoods? Well if Corey Booker is serious about crime prevention in the long haul, he is going to have to address the issue of education, which we demonstrated here is proven to reduce crime. School vouchers will not prevent crime simply because they move already scant resources from public schools (or some public schools) and puts them into a smaller pool. There must be a complete change in the educational system so that the quality of education is lifted dramatically. The second thing is the opportunity for decent employment. It is extremely hard to convince someone of the value of hard work and putting of gratification, when they see other people indulging in conspicuous consumption and they do not see the opportunities for the level of income they need to have in order to acquire these things. Furthermore, since much of the incomes shown here are below the poverty line, we may be dealing with the consequences of poor nutrition which has been proven to stunt intellectual development. If social services are not up to par in dealing with the relatively high poverty rate and possible malnutrition and combine that with poorly performing schools emptying out into a poor job market, where the best opportunities are afforded to those who can drive, you have a set up for the type of situation we are witnessing in Newark. I wont even get into the large percentage of inmates who had been sexually or physically abused prior to being arrested.

The only thing that gentrification projects and "extra policing" is going to do is move the poor into more concentrated areas of poverty and fill jails. Now that may be fine by the exploding private prison system, but it shouldn't be fine by Mayor Booker, if he is serious about saving the people of Newark. Newark needs serious economic help. It needs high paying jobs for it's residents, not for people who commute in from other counties.

There are a number of things that can be done to change Newark for the better and many of them are not going to be liked by the monied and the not monied. Perhaps I'll post a list of things I think ought to be done but that's optional for me. It is not for Mr. Booker. If he want's to be a "new leader" for Newark, he needs to stop running with the same ol' same ol'.

*Per Capita income is defined as the mean income computed for every man, woman, and child in a particular group. It is derived by dividing the total income of a particular group by the total population in that group.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Monday, January 08, 2007

Quote of the Week

From the Detroit Auto Show, and perhaps lifted from somewhere else:

A person may fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he blames someone or something else.

Be back soon with the first of the new year's long blog posts.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


This brother right here is a damn hero.

Wesley Autrey, a 50-year-old construction worker and Navy veteran, faced both those questions in a flashing instant yesterday, and got his answers almost as quickly.

Mr. Autrey was waiting for the downtown local at 137th Street and Broadway in Manhattan around 12:45 p.m. He was taking his two daughters, Syshe, 4, and Shuqui, 6, home before work.

Nearby, a man collapsed, his body convulsing. Mr. Autrey and two women rushed to help, he said. The man, Cameron Hollopeter, 20, managed to get up, but then stumbled to the platform edge and fell to the tracks, between the two rails.

The headlights of the No. 1 train appeared. “I had to make a split decision,” Mr. Autrey said.

So he made one, and leapt.

Mr. Autrey lay on Mr. Hollopeter, his heart pounding, pressing him down in a space roughly a foot deep. The train’s brakes screeched, but it could not stop in time.

While black men are being, ignored, discriminated against, shot at by other black men and white men in and out of uniform, treated like they are un-needed and often unwanted pieces of flesh, this man right here showed the world what a real black man is.

Take note.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2007 Scholarship Application Available

The 2007 Olatunji Foundation for Pan-Africanism Scholarship(s) application is now available online.
If you or someone you know is attending an HBCU, has at least a 3.0 GPA and meets the other requirements, please get them the application.
The Foundation does not have Oprah money and no, there will be no news coverage or anything like that. We're simply people who are Pan-Africanists who are putting our money where our mouths are. More information here:

The Olatunji Foundation

If you want to support the Olatunji Foundation you may do so by making a direct donation. Any one making a donation for $25 or more will receive a "Garvey's Ghost" t-shirt. You can buy the t-shirt from the link to the right.

Technorati Tags:

Oprah's School

It seems that Oprah has joined Dikembe Mutombo by putting money into building African institutions. I've got my issues with Oprah and those issues still stand but I'm going to give credit where it is due. Today was the official opening of Oprah's The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy :

The academy selects girls whose family income is less than $700 a month.

The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy will eventually cater for 450 girls who show outstanding promise but whose families cannot support their education...

The school incorporates 28 buildings, across a 20 hectare (50 acre) site, with hi-tech classrooms, computers and science laboratories.