Anti-cop riots convulsed Philadelphia last week over the justified, if tragic, police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.
Wallace, 27, had been threatening his mother with a knife and had refused to drop the knife as he approached officers. Joe Biden took up his cause, tweeting “for all those suffering the emotional weight of learning about another black life in America lost. Walter’s life mattered.”
To be sure — but Biden is referring here exclusively to the loss of black life at the hands of the police, which he, his party and the media have portrayed as a racism-fueled national epidemic. In fact, fatal police shootings constitute a smaller fraction of black homicide deaths than they do of white and Hispanic homicide deaths. Three percent of black homicide victims are killed by a cop, compared to 10 percent of white and Hispanic homicide victims killed by a cop.
Wallace’s life mattered, yes — but so did the lives of the dozens of black children killed in drive-by shootings since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. The Democratic and media establishments have been virtually silent about those shootings, even amid their skyrocketing numbers. Consider a sampling:
l On Oct. 23, a 3-year-old boy was shot twice in Southwest Philadelphia.
l In Baltimore, a 12-year-old boy was shot on Oct. 21; the man standing next to him was killed. That same afternoon, a 16-year-old boy was killed and the 12-year-old boy with him was shot. The 16-year-old was the fifth teenager killed in Baltimore over the previous two weeks.
l In Sacramento, a 9-year-old girl was killed on Oct. 3 during a family gathering in a park. Her 6-year-old cousin and aunt were also shot. Two hours later, a 17-year-old crashed into a pole after being fatally shot. Shortly thereafter, a 17-year-old girl was shot.
l On Sept. 26, a 15-year-old boy was fatally shot in the head on the Far West Side of Chicago.
l A 3-year-old boy in Orlando was fatally shot in the head while playing in his living room on Sept. 22, when a passing car sprayed bullets at the front door and windows of the home. The day before, a 14-year-old boy in the same neighborhood was killed with a shot to his head while he was sitting on his front porch. A 15-year-old next to him was critically wounded.
l On Sept. 21, a 1-year-old boy in Kansas City, Mo., was killed when someone walked up to the car in which he was riding and riddled it with bullets. The victim was among the 13 children who had been killed in shootings through late September in Kansas City.
l A 15-year-old girl was shot to death in St. Louis on Sept. 15.
l On Sept. 9, an 11-year-old girl in Bethlehem, Pa., was shot in the face answering a knock on the back door of her home.
l A 6-year-old boy was shot on Sept. 7 at the annual J’ouvert party that opens the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn.
These shootings are happening virtually exclusively in African-American neighborhoods, taking a toll on black children that would be inconceivable if white children were involved.
If dozens of white children had been murdered over the summer, it would be a national scandal, accompanied by demands for radical protection measures. Likewise, if even a handful of black children had been killed by whites, the uproar over white supremacy would dwarf anything seen to date.
Instead, since the black children’s assailants are presumed to be black themselves, the country looks away, lest it be accused of a taboo attention to black crime.
Yet as the corpses pile up and the cultural breakdown fueling the shootings bleeds out into riots, looting and an open season on police, the national conversation in the mainstream media and among Democratic politicians for the last five months has focused exclusively on white supremacy, allegedly exemplified by support for law and order.
The white psyche has been prodded and parsed and declared constituted by racism. The elite consensus has been unbroken: The only issue worth paying attention to in the black community is the lethal effects of white bigotry. The problem in the American inner city is not white supremacy, however. It is the failure to socialize young males.
As businesses and apartment buildings in the nation’s big cities board themselves up in anticipation of post-election rioting, many Americans may decide that if being “non-racist” means not worrying about their community being looted or their children being shot, they will simply have to endure that slander.
Adapted from City Journal, where Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor.