Long a source of irritation for white supremacists, angry claims of an epidemic of black-on-white crime (often simply referred to as "black crime") have drifted closer to the mainstream since the controversial shooting in Florida of Trayvon Martin, a young African-American male, by George Zimmerman (who has been described in the media as a white Hispanic). Following the assertions, extremists have repeated their claims that a large number of white victims are being ignored. And now even some mainstream commentators have taken up the issue and have used rhetoric similar to that used by the white supremacists to attack the media for allegedly discounting white victims of crime.
White supremacists calls for action against "black crime"
Even as they deny "whiteness" to George Zimmerman, white supremacists have been busy exploiting the controversy caused by Zimmerman's alleged act of self-defense against an African-American. White supremacists have renewed their calls for actions against so-called "black crime," which they equate with hate crimes. Hate crimes, however, have a very specific meaning: they are criminal offenses against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. White supremacists believe that any crime committed by an African-American against a white person is motivated by race.
On Stormfront, a popular white supremacist Internet forum, one poster recently asked people to join in a planned rally against black crime in Knoxville, Tennessee, scheduled for June 2012. The purpose of the rally would be to protest against new trials for black assailants who allegedly tortured and murdered a young white couple in that city in 2007. At that time, the incident mobilized the white supremacist community, which held rallies and distributed flyers that accused the media of ignoring what they considered to be a heinous hate crime. Police in Knoxville who investigated the crime said that the victims had not been targeted because of their race.
In May 2012, the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) announced that it would investigate a number of alleged incidents around the country in which whites were reportedly the victims of crimes committed by black youths or other minorities. In particular, the NSM mentioned an alleged attack against two white reporters by black youths in Norfolk, Virginia, and assaults against white men in Mobile, Alabama, and Baltimore, Maryland. The NSM has called for hate crime charges to be filed in these cases and wrote on its Web site that "if the roles had been reversed and it was a White mob that had attacked a Black citizen, it would have been labeled a 'lynching' by the major media…We have discovered a disturbing pattern of the systematic cover up and refusal of prosecutors to prosecute offenders under these [hate crime] statutes when the perpetrators are Black and the victims are White."
That same month, the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan posted "a warning for white Americans" on their message board that claimed that there has been a significant rise recently in violent black-on-white crime across the country and that "this new racially motivated pandemic is mostly ignored by the liberal news media." The group asserted that it will organize a national distribution of fliers across the county "warning White Americans of the dangers to them and their families when approached by large groups of blacks." They added: "The Liberal Government jew [sic] media refuse to report fairly on these hate crimes so it our duty war our fellow Kinsmen of the violence being perpetrated against our Great Race."
On May 11, 2012, the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) posted an article on its Web site that claimed that a New Jersey newspaper had "censored" the race of the alleged assailants in what it called "savage mob attacks" on five white concertgoers in New Jersey. The CofCC dismissed both the newspaper and police accounts portraying the incident as an "isolated event." According to the CofCC, "almost as alarming as the epidemic violent crime being perpetrated against white people is the blatant media censorship and black-out of the racial element of the incidents."
Mainstream commentators take up the issue of white victims
Though more numerous now, such claims by white supremacists are not new. Recently, however, some mainstream commentators have begun to parrot some of the claims traditionally relegated to white supremacists. In particular, the commentators have attempted to make the case that there is significant racially-motivated violence in the United States in which whites are ignored victims.
A May 20 article on the blog Buzzfeed compiled a number of incidents in which mainstream commentators such as Bill O'Reilly, a Fox News show host, and Thomas Sowell, a National Review columnist, have asserted that the media is ignoring alleged hate crimes against whites as part of an active effort to hide reverse racism.
In early May 2012, O'Reilly focused several shows on the April 2012 incident in Norfolk, Virginia, in which two white reporters with the Virginia –Pilot newspaper were allegedly attacked by a group of black youths. According to O'Reilly, both the local media and police ignored the racial overtones of the assault and labeled the incident as a simple assault. On one show, O"Reilly claimed that "[The newspaper] did not want to get in the middle of the racial aspect." Dave Parker, a reporter on O'Reilly's show who commented on the case on air, asserted that "if these races were reversed," it would be "a huge national story." On his show, O'Reilly said that the country was afraid of African-Americans. Though O'Reilly acknowledged that African-Americans have been mistreated in this country, he still asserted that the story was not front page news due to the race issue.
Sowell, who is African-American, went further in a May 15 column, calling the media's alleged inattention to black-on-white crime "a censored race war." Sowell also referred to the incident in Norfolk as well as "unprovoked violence by young black gangs against white people chosen at random on beaches, in shopping malls, or in other public places…" He added that, "if there is anything worse than a one-sided race war, it is a two-sided race war, especially when one of the races outnumbers the other several times over."
Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association has also addressed the alleged issue of black on white crime, blaming President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder for ignoring alleged white victims of crime. On a radio show on May 24, 2012, Fischer asserted, "it's impossible, in their worldview, for a white to be a victim, they can only be perpetrators and blacks can never be perpetrators, they can only be victims. So unless the template for the crime is a white person committing a crime against a black person, they're just completely uninterested. They are not interested in justice, they are interested in racism and pressing their view of race."
The conspiracy-oriented right-wing newspaper, World Net Daily, published an article on May 3 titled, "Wave of Black Mobs Brutalizing Whites." In the article, author Chelsea Schilling asserted that, "in a wave of black-on-white crime since the February Trayvon Martin slaying, reports are emerging of dozens of brutal assaults by black mobs and assailants against white victims—and some attackers are citing the revenge for the Martin slaying as a reason for their aggression." Amazingly, in discussing one incident, Schilling's article reproduced a photo from the white supremacist Newsnet 14 Web site and used as a source prominent South Carolina white supremacist Kyle Rogers, a leader with the CofCC, describing him as a "reporter." The alleged victim, moreover, had reported his version of the incident to a number of white supremacist Web sites.
In this instance, at least, some of the information in an allegedly mainstream article had come directly from white supremacist sources.