This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Saving black lives

John Powell’s column, “Lives That Matter” (March 16), reflects his experience as an African-American in a society with a long history of racial injustice, which, as he suggests, continues. However, his statement that “now we are faced with an onslaught of potential annihilation” seems to imply that the African-American community is under siege by whites. A quick look at the FBI website reveals that the number of U.S. whites murdered in 2013 was 3,005. Of these, 409 (13.6 percent) were by blacks. The number of blacks murdered was 2,491, of which 189 (7.5 percent) were by whites. Thus a white person was nearly two times more likely to be murdered by a black person than a black by a white. The murder rate for blacks is about eight times that for whites. The numbers given do not include all homicides, nor do they include killings by the police, numbers that are not considered very accurate. If one considers the attention given to the killing of blacks by police in the last six months, it would seem that the total number, compared to all murders, must be rather small. Given that the slaughter of blacks is primarily by members of the black community, it seems we need to do a more careful analysis of what the white community can do to assist in preventing the potential annihilation of which Powell writes.

Floyd M. Mast
Greenwood, Del.

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