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Reinforcing the self-serving myth that black killers choose white victims because they are white

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | 8/28/2013, 10:50 a.m.

The predictable happened as soon as the race of the three teens charged in the Oklahoma slaying of Christopher Lane, a young white Australian baseball player, was known. Two are black.

The cry immediately went up yet again that whites are in dire peril of being victimized and likely killed by young blacks. There is not a shred of evidence or even a hint that Lane’s killing was racially motivated. The teens themselves could only say that they killed him and that he happened to be an accessible and convenient target.

This in no way minimizes the horror and tragedy of their alleged act, and prosecutors wasted no time in filing charges against them as adults. Oklahoma is a tough death penalty state, and it’s almost certain that the death penalty will loom large in consideration of the sentences of the two black teens that are charged with first-degree murder in the killing, their age notwithstanding.

Meanwhile, the FBI’s annual figures on homicide rates in America repeatedly show that of the thousands of killings in the nation annually, only a minuscule number of whites are killed by blacks. The plain fact is that whites are likely to be killed by other whites, blacks by other blacks.

Yet it’s because interracial killing, more specifically black-on-white killing, is so rare that it lends itself to fear, sensationalism and hysteria. The clamor even extends to the press.

It’s now become a ritual for right-wing bloggers and talk show hosts to browbeat the national media for supposedly clamping down with a wall of silence in black-on-white killing cases because journalists fear inflaming racial tensions, and are scared stiff that they will be called racist for talking up black-on-white crimes.

Yet when whites assault or kill blacks the press and civil rights leaders supposedly leap over each other to blare it out as headline news. This supposedly proves that the national press is somehow in collusion with civil rights leaders to cover up the an epidemic of black-on-white killings.

This is false. The accusations are a self-serving and cheap ploy to knock the press and civil rights leaders. Yet the horrific killing of Lane does cast a troubling glare on an aspect of violent crime in America that isn’t much talked about beyond race-baiting digs at the media and civil rights leaders. And that’s the reasons that blacks do kill whites.

Even though the numbers are small, a higher proportion of whites are likely to be killed by blacks than whites killing blacks. As in the Oklahoma slaying, there is no evidence that the killings are racially motivated. Whites are targeted because they are perceived to have valuables in the home: cash, a luxury car or other conspicuous objects of value that criminals seek out and that poor blacks aren’t likely to have.

In other words, these killings are almost all cases of garden-variety street crime. The alleged Oklahoma teen shooters prove that point. There is no talk about “getting” whites in their Facebook page rants, but rather an exulting of the pseudo-tough guy, gangster lifestyle.