Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Blaming Blacks and Gun Crime Culture

Basically a continuation of race and crime from my previous post.

On Boxing Day (Dec 26), with downtown Yonge St. crowded with shoppers looking for a bargain, rival gang members opened fire on each other, injuring several shoppers, and killing one of them.

The 15-year-old victim of the Boxing Day shooting was Jane Creba, a Grade 10 student, police said Wednesday.

Creba was a star student and athlete and will be remembered as a loving and caring soul with a cheerful open heart, said a statement by the family. As I scoured the various news reports for an identity to the killersterrorists, I could not find one mention of their race, ethnicity or description. Probably the newspapers decided not to print those for fear of revenge attacks. Police are still looking for 15 suspects, and have arrested 2 young men. After a bit of diligent searching, I came upon this from the Star.

A suspect is placed under arrest.

If there is a major terrorist attack, the first thought that comes to any mind is that a 'Muslim' is responsible. Similarly, if there is any shooting incident in Toronto, the suspect is almost all cases will be black.

As usual, the blogosphere was quick to comment upon the case. One Canadian commentator described two black gangs fighting, even though such a description is not to be found from either the police or the press. Another said the government should be voted out of power, so Stephen Harper can come and clean up our immigration system. As if all crime is the fault of immigrants. These gang members are probably Canadians by birth.

I can admit that the first thought to come into my mind is that somehow black culture is a gun culture and is responsible for it. Almost immediately I banished that thought. As a Muslim I am used to people assuming certain things about 'Muslim culture', and blaming the whole community for the action of a few bad apples. Just as Muslims range from all cultures, so do blacks. There is no such thing as a specific black culture. Black Canadians who have immigrated to Canada from African countries in recent times, for example Nigeria or Somalia, are very different from black Canadians from Jamaica, for example. The music industry promotes black culture as hip-hop, drugs, scantily clad girls and guns, whereas black culture as a whole is far richer than that (think jazz, blues, crafts and so on). The media always focuses on the crimes committed by a minority of black people, while it is understood that most black people are just engaged in common, every day activities and pursuit of happiness.

I can make such a statement and not tarnish the whole black community with the same brush as I am a Muslim, I have first hand experience of how it is. What about those who have no black friends, or have never met any black person, or has never faced any discrimination? I can tell you I have heard first hand comments from some people who have no qualms about saying it is a gun culture 'down there', and so on. People are afraid of what is not their own. Black people have a unique way of styling their hair, or wearing bandannas, or different taste in music, and others are afraid of those differences.

I was happy to see both Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and NDP leader Jack Layton talk about such crimes being a product of 'exclusion'. Somehow I think Stephen Harper's get tough on crime approach will play better with voters. I wish I could combine both their approaches.

We must give justice to Jane Creba. Those who commit such acts of terrorism must be punished, and given such a strict punishment that it deters other people from picking up a gun in the first place. Tougher laws need to be made and enforced, including mandatory punishment for having an illegal gun, or committing crimes with guns. On the other side, social programs need to be implemented so that underprivileged kids have a choice. Parents must play a role. Young single mothers in particular need to ensure their kids are getting proper attention and moral guidance. The government must help people climb up the social ladder, by a) providing support for mothers so they don't have to work a lot and can be at home caring for their children and b) forcing the father of the kids to play a role in their upbringing. Religious leaders have to emphasize that a materialistic approach to life is not the best one, as well as warn young people who want to enjoy sexual relations without any thought to any of the consequences of the result of such a live-in relationship.

Police try to direct Boxing Day shoppers away from the crime scene.



Anonymous said...

So sad :(

Vidman said...

Our society is screwed up; no single group is to blame. We let things go too far for too long. Major changes to our legal system and social values need to be made.

Jane made the record books. She was the 52nd person in Toronto to be murdered by gunfire. Thoughts go out to her little brother, her sister and to her parents.


Anonymous said...

Until people in the black community accept it's their fault their culture is failing, the shooting will continue. It's the result of years of constant bawling about racism, racial profiling and exclusion rather than teaching respect for law and order. Black leaders must teach that it's wrong to have fatherless families and right to have respect for law and order.

Anonymous said...

Some people don't want to work. They don't care about jobs. They want to dress like thugs and know the only way to solve problems is via gun. And I don't hav to be politically correct and say which type of people it is.

Bill Cosby said it, "Today a woman has eight children with eight different 'husbands' — or men or whatever you call them now.

I am talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was 2? Where were you when he was 12? Where were you when he was 18 and how come you didn't know that he had a pistol? And where is the father? Or who is his father?

People putting their clothes on backward: Isn't that a sign of something gone wrong? People with their hats on backward, pants down around the crack, isn't that a sign of something? Or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up? Isn't it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up and got all type of needles [piercing] going through her body?

We have millionaire football players who cannot read. We have million-dollar basketball players who can't write two paragraphs. We as black folks have to do a better job. Someone working at Wal-Mart with seven kids, you are hurting us. We have to start holding each other to a higher standard. We cannot blame the white people any longer."

mezba said...

How sad that people who submit their rather strong opinions choose to hide behind an Anonymous tag.

@Anon (2.11): "black community accept it's their fault their culture is failing, the shooting will continue" their culture is failing? Do you think black culture is gun culture? Black people gave their blood and sweat and tears into making North America for the last 200 years. They were not even allowed to OWN guns until the turn of the century (see also Bowling for Columbine).

"In the months after the Civil War, the existing southern governments struck at these units with the enactment of "black codes" which either outlawed gun ownership by blacks entirely, or imposed permit systems for them, and permitted the confiscation of firearms owned by blacks. When the Civil Rights Act of 1866 was debated members both of the Senate and the House referred to the disarmament of blacks as a major consideration. 54 Senator Trumbull cited provisions outlawing ownership of arms by blacks as among those which the Civil Rights Act would prevent."

Source: The Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

@Anon (2.15): For those who don't want to work and turn to crime punishing them is the key. And laziness, criminality and single parenthood is not limited to any one race.

Anonymous said...

anonymous blogger, you're the problem with toronto.

did you point the finger at white males when Holly Jones was murdered, and say that the white people need to realize that it's their fault that we have pedophiles? come on now.

toronto has a lot of problems. we need to deal with the drug culture. that's not just a black problem. that's a toronto problem. we need to deal with the poverty problem. we need to deal with the huge discrepancy between the rich and the poor. we need to deal with the problems before they reach the street.

the people who pulled those triggers are idiots and deserve to pay. but each and every one of us could benefit from looking to see what we can do instead of pointing ignorant and racist fingers.

Waryaa said...

For your information, Somalis do not consider themselves to be "black." If they are labelled "black," should you too, no?

Somalis are proud to be African, not "black." And if they are "black," so are the South Asians, including Tamils and the rest.

Anonymous said...

I read in the newspaper today the following from NICHOLAS DAVIS, a black reporter,"In 2004 there were 44 homicides in Toronto, 27 by guns. In 2005 there were 84 homicides, 52 by guns.

These numbers are staggering, especially when you consider that most of the people murdered and most of those doing the killing are young black males. "

I guess this 'black' reporter fails to understand the problem is not in the 'black' community - maybe he is racist for even bringing up the fact that most of the killings are done by 'black males'.

mezba said...

@Waryaa: Somalis are considered black, regardless of whether they consider themselves to be black or not. Brown is anyone of South Asian origin, which includes Tamils, Bengalis, what not. It's not just skin color (some North Indians are very fair but are under brown) but also genetics.

@anon (9.25): How many blacks were involved in guns in 2004? 27? 2005? 52? And how many black people there are over all in Toronto?

There might be a problem in the black community that makes some of them go bad, but to label that the whole black community is gun loving gang members is what I was getting at with the article.

Waryaa said...

If Tamils cannot be considered "black," then I don't know anyone who fills "black" criteria. You alluded it isn't only the skin colour, that other factors apply; nonetheless, black is a colour description, and as far as I can see, Tamils are one of the "blackest" people I had seen around in Toronto.