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Black-on-Black Homicide - A Psychological-Political Perspective

NCJ Number
Victimology Volume: 8 Issue: 3-4 Dated: (1983) Pages: 161-169
A F Poussaint
Date Published
9 pages
Black homicide rates are seven to eight times those of whites though Blacks have a rate of poverty only four to five times that of whites.
Today homicide is the leading cause of death among young Black men, and contributes significantly to the shortened life-span of the Black male. In about 80-90% of the cases, the Black victim was killed by another Black, and about 52% of the murder victims were acquainted with their assailant. Just as we accept that suicide victims are psychologically impaired, we must acknowledge that a murderer is similarly impaired, and Blacks -- for both environmental and political reasons -- are likely to reflect emotional predispositions that allow them to more readily become a homicide statistic. Projected self-hatred facilitates blind rage and gives the perpetrator of the violent attack a sense of legitimacy and justification. In addition, Blacks have been indoctrinated by a criminal justice system which places higher value on a white life than on a Black life. While psychological study of homicide offenders and victims is difficult and not easily quantifiable, it is important to explore such variables in Black community violence. Programs focused on crime and violence prevention, therefore, must do more than alleviate socioeconomic ills in the the Black community. They must pay attention as well to negative psychological dynamics in the Black experience that contribute to internecine victimization. The Black community in particular is in dire need of homicide prevention centers with programs of prevention, research and treatment. (Author abstract)


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