The Agonist Journal

Regular aficionados of Meet the Press will fondly recall an episode featuring a heated exchange between former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson. It aired on November 23, 2014, the day before a grand jury was to deliver its verdict on the shooting of Michael Brown. The subject of that exchange was police shootings in black neighborhoods, Giuliani maintaining there wouldn’t be as many shootings if police didn’t have to spend so much time in those neighborhoods. He also noted that 93 percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks. The segment acrimoniously ended on this note:

GIULIANI: “White police officers wouldn’t be there if you weren’t killing each other 70 to 75 percent of the time—”

DYSON: “This is a defense mechanism of white supremacy at work in your mind, sir!”

Although Giuliani’s citation of the 93 percent figure appears to support his contention of a disproportionate number of black-on-black killings, it really doesn’t do so; for all groups, the overwhelming majority of murders occur within the group, only a small percentage involving out-of-group victims. Even for a group committing a disproportionately small number of murders, the overwhelming majority of those murders would be in-group murders. Giuliani had cited the 70 to 75 percent figure prior to the quotation from above, stating that was the amount of crime committed by black people in his city of New York; but he neglected to give the percentage of black people residing in the city for comparison. If some group accounting for 70 to 75 percent of the crime in a city happens to make up 70 to 75 percent of the city’s population, for example, that particular crime rate would be expected and not at all excessive. What Giuliani was fishing for but just couldn’t seem to put his finger on is what I will here call overkill, the difference between the percentage a particular group makes up of a given population and the percentage of murders committed by that group out of all the murders committed in that given population. This piece will explore black overkill on a national scale.

"Acknowledging the overkill victims would mean acknowledging something violent and wrong in a particular strand of black culture, and that would take away from the victimist agenda."

The FBI compiles murder statistics in the annual Crime in The United States (CIUS) reports published online. The CIUS report from 2014 lists 11,961 murders, 5,397 of the victims white, 6,095 black, the rest of “other” or “unknown” ethnicity. There were 13,897 listed murder offenders, 4,367 white, 5,173 black, 225 other and 4,132 unknown, the large number of unknowns due to the large number of unsolved cases whose offenders go unidentified. At first glance, the larger number of both black victims and black offenders would seem to indicate a greater number of murders committed by blacks than by whites; but since there are so many unsolved cases, this is a moot point. There is a subset of figures, however, that constitutes a sample large enough that percentages calculated from it should yield reasonable ballpark figures when applied to the larger total numbers. This is the single victim/single offender table that matches a known victim to a known offender. There were 5,703 pairs of victims and offenders in 2014, 2,693 of the victims killed by black offenders. This comes out to 47.2 percent of the total single victim murders being committed by black offenders. Since blacks make up 13 percent of the population, 47.2 percent less 13 percent gives an overkill of 34.2 percent—a little over a third of the total single victim/single offender murders in the country.

It should be noted here that an overkill figure of one third indicates an increase by one half over what the base figure for murder should be, the increase of one half beyond the original total then becoming one third of the new total. Applying this 34.2 percent overkill figure to the larger total number of known victims—11,961—gives a ballpark figure of 4,090 total overkill victims in 2014. Of the 2,451 black victims in the single victim/single offender table, 2,205 or 89.9 percent were murdered by other blacks. Now 89.9 percent of 34.2 percent is 30.7 percent, the percentage of black overkill victims out of the total number of single victims. Applying this 30.7 percent figure to the larger total number of known victims—11,961—gives a ballpark figure of 3,672 black overkill victims in 2014.

I performed the same analysis on up through the most recent CIUS report of 2018. The percentage of single victim murders committed by black offenders ranged from 47.2 percent to 48.3 percent, the corresponding percentage of overkill—found by subtracting 13 percent—accordingly ranging from 34.2 percent to 35.3 percent. When this range of overkill percentages was applied to the corresponding range of yearly total murders—11,961 to 15,129—the result ranged from 4,090 to 5,174 total overkill victims, averaging out to 4,816 per year. The percentage of overkill involving black victims ranged from 88.4 percent to 95.8 percent, black overkill victims as a percentage of single victims therefore ranging from 30.2 percent to 32.7 percent. When this last range of percentages was applied to the corresponding range of yearly total murders—11,961 to 15,129—the result ranged from 3,672 to 4,927 black overkill victims, averaging out to 4,351 per year.

And what does Black Lives Matter (BLM) have to say about this ongoing carnage of overkill that averages over 4,000 black lives per year? If black lives really do matter, then these lives certainly ought to matter. Yet the only thing BLM seems to care about is the relatively small number of questionable or unjustifiable deaths of black people at the hands of law enforcement officers that take place each year out of the millions of interactions between law enforcement officers and civilians that take place each year. The truth is, BLM is not premised on black lives mattering; it is premised on a victimist agenda, which it seeks to advance, even as progressive politicians use BLM talking points to garner votes.[1] Acknowledging the overkill victims would mean acknowledging something violent and wrong in a particular strand of black culture, and that would take away from the victimist agenda. BLM is do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do writ large. We need to be brutally honest here: If black people themselves don’t think their lives matter, how can they expect others to think their lives matter?

Although the brunt of overkill falls upon black victims, some of it affects white victims too, but this some black apologists try to downplay. For instance, in his Miami Herald commentary of March 22, 2011, “Truth is futile when people refuse to listen to it,” Leonard Pitts bemoans the fact that some white people equate blackness with criminality. In an attempt to disabuse them of this notion, he relates the following anecdote:

Some years ago, I posed a question to an audience of school kids. If a white person is murdered, what are the odds the assailant is black? Seventy-five percent? Hands—every hand in the room, it seemed—bolted into the air. Most of them belonged to black kids. For the record, the actual number is 13.

And since 13 percent is way less than the 75 percent figure Pitts suggested to those impressionable kids, black-on-white murder can’t be a real problem, right?

Familiar with CIUS statistics, I recognized the 13 percent figure as being in the range of single victim / single offender percentages for black-on-white murders. Working backward a half a dozen years from 2011 to find a figure closest to 13 percent on the dot, I came across a 12.9 percent figure from a couple of years earlier, 2009.[2] Now the question at hand is what the figure should be in an all-else-equal comparison where all groups commit murder at the same rate, have the same out-of-group murder percentage, and where the out-of-group murder percentages are proportionately distributed across the outside groups. Population percentage estimates from 2009 had whites—including Hispanic whites—at about 79 percent, blacks at 13 percent, and others combined at about 8 percent, these percentages also representing the corresponding hypothetical percentages of murders that would be committed by the three groups.

Provisionally assuming out-of-group murders to be 10 percent across the board, white out-of-group murders would therefore amount to 7.9 percent of the total murders, and black out-of-group murders would amount to 1.3 percent of the total murders. The white out-of-group figure of 7.9 percent would be proportionally distributed across the combined black and other categories of 13 + 8 = 21 percent, blacks making up about 62 percent of the 21 percent. The percentage of blacks murdered by whites would therefore be 62 percent of 7.9 percent, about 4.9 percent of the total murders. The black out-of-group figure of 1.3 percent would be proportionally distributed across the combined white and other categories of 79 + 8 = 87 percent, whites making up about 91 percent of the 87 percent. The percentage of whites murdered by blacks would therefore be 91 percent of 1.3 percent, about 1.2 percent of the total murders.

Although the percentage of blacks murdered by whites and whites murdered by blacks may vary depending upon the value assigned for the across-the-board percentage of out-of-group murders, the ratio of the one to the other will remain constant, and that is the important takeaway here. The 4.9 percent figure for blacks murdered by whites is just a little over four times the 1.2 percent figure for whites murdered by blacks. So, in an all-else-equal reckoning, the number of blacks murdered by whites should be a little more than four times the number of whites murdered by blacks; and such an outcome is perfectly understandable since whites make up a much higher percentage of the population (79 percent) than blacks (13 percent).

But how does this stack up in reality? According to the single victim/single offender table from 2009, blacks murdered 454 whites and whites murdered 209 blacks, the black-on-white murders more than twice the white-on-black murders. Now if the expected ratio of black-on-white murders to white-on-black murders is about 1/4, but the actual ratio is about 2/1, it means that white people are being murdered by black people more than eight times over what they should be (1/4 × 8 = 2/1). Pitts, either too lazy or too ignorant to analyze the 13 percent figure he so casually throws out, has absolutely no clue it is a figure eight times over what it should be.

Apparently, no one called Pitts out on this, for he cites the figure again in his Miami Herald piece of May 5, 2012, “Trayvon ‘killed by a stereotype’”:

Why else, when I ask an auditorium full of black kids how frequently the individual who murders a white person is black, do they figure it at 75 percent? Why else are they shocked to hear it’s only 13?

Were those black kids coming up with that 75 percent figure all by themselves, or was Pitts egging them on? And once again, Pitts is bemoaning the fact that some white people equate blackness with criminality. The irony is rich: He’s citing a figure—only 13 percent—that in reality indicates blacks are murdering whites more than eight times over what they should be, and he can’t figure out why some white people equate blackness with criminality.

Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson, unaware of the problems associated with the 13 percent figure, approvingly cites the above column on her congressional website:

Syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts sometimes asks groups of Black students how often homicides committed against white Americans are committed by Black Americans. Many of these students—taking their cues from the nightly news—assume the figure is around 75 percent. They are often shocked to learn that the real statistic is 13 percent.

The unfortunate thing here is that Congresswoman Wilson—who sincerely wants to make a difference in the lives of at-risk young black males—takes the 13 percent figure as an indication that things aren’t as bad as they seem, when in fact it indicates that things are a hell of a lot worse than she imagines.

Pitts appears to have an understudy in the person of Julia Craven, who “writes about racism for HuffPost.” In her HuffPost piece of May 18/19, 2015, “White-On-White Crime Strikes Again In Waco,” she actually cites figures from, and includes a link to, the CIUS single victim/single offender table from 2011:

As many as 3,172 white people were killed in 2011—and 2,630 of them lost their lives at the hands of another white person. This is compared to 2,695 black people, 2,447 of whom were killed by another black person.

Her point would appear to be that the number of white people murdered by white people is larger than the number of black people murdered by black people—but she doesn’t take into account that white people are much more numerous than black people. She also dodges the issue of the percentage of the total single victim/single offender murders committed by black offenders. Had she divided the total number of murders committed by black offenders—2,958—by the total number of murders—6,131—she would have found that black offenders committed 48.2 percent of the total single victim/single offender murders, and 48.2 less 13 gives an overkill of 35.2 percent. The number of whites murdered by blacks—448—divided by the total number of white victims—3,172—comes out to 14.1 percent, a little higher than the 12.9 percent figure from 2009.

Moreover, she could have seen that something was amiss by simply looking at certain of the numbers on the table without even having to perform any calculations: The number on the table corresponding to white offenders and black victims was 193, and the number on the table corresponding to black offenders and white victims was 448, the latter well over twice the former. This should have set off a little alarm bell in her brain—why is the offender figure for the little bitty group more than twice the offender figure for the great big group? As with Pitts, the evidence is right under her nose that whites are being murdered by blacks more than eight times over what they should be, and yet she is oblivious.

For good measure, Craven also tosses in some statistics on gang-related murders:

Whites lead when it comes to gang violence too: 53.3 percent of gang-related murders between 1980 and 2008 were committed by white people, according to the Justice Department, compared to 42.2 percent committed by blacks.

Once again, we are treated to the spectacle of a university-educated black journalist citing crime statistics without knowing how to interpret percentages. Since white people make up considerably more than 53.3 percent of the population, they are therefore actually underrepresented when it comes to gang-related murders. Black people, on the other hand, who make up only 13 percent of the population, are way overrepresented since they commit 42.2 percent of gang-related murders. Subtracting 13 from 42.2 gives an overkill figure of 29.2 percent for black gang-related murders.

Another group that also experiences overkill at the hands of black offenders is—are you ready for this?—law enforcement officers. Along with the CIUS reports, the FBI also publishes annual figures on Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA). One set of data gives the racial classification of known cop killers, and these data are also presented in the form of a rolling 10-year average, the latest running from 2009 – 2018. That decade tallied a total of 532 known offenders, 302 of them white, 201 of them black, and 29 of them from other groups. The 302 white offenders accounted for about 56.8 percent of the total; white offenders therefore underrepresented relative to population. The 201 black offenders, however, accounted for about 37.8 percent of the total, overrepresented by nearly a factor of three relative to population. Subtracting 13 from 37.8 gives an overkill figure of 24.8, an average of nearly a quarter of the cop killers in the country each year.

To sum up, offenders from a racial group making up only 13 percent of our population are unremittingly unleashing a horrendous epidemic of murder upon our country year in and year out. This pushes our murder rate up by about 50 percent over what it should be, this 50 percent increase then becoming a third of the new total, and few people seem to see this for the crisis it is. Although the lion’s share of these murders involve black victims numbering into the thousands each year, in order to further the agenda of eternal black victimhood, attention is being misdirected away from them by BLM’s histrionic spectacles that focus a disproportionate amount of attention on a relatively small number of questionable or unjustifiable black fatalities at the hands of law enforcement officers each year.

The root of the overkill problem is an entrenched ghetto lifestyle of promiscuity, illegitimacy, and irresponsibility that is fertile ground for breeding criminality. But fixing the problem necessarily involves acknowledging there is a problem, and here black victimhood gets in the way. The reasoning behind black victimhood goes something like this: My ancestor was a slave, that makes me a victim, and victims can do no wrong. Thus, all the current socioeconomic ills afflicting the inner cities are attributed to white racism instead of the ghetto lifestyle. This is absurd. For example, black girls aged 10 to 14 give birth at a rate four times that of white girls of the same age, and this difference necessarily contributes to the poverty and criminality in the inner cities. Nor can the disparity in underage births be blamed on slavery, Jim Crow, or redlining; no, the problem is that concepts such as self-control, discipline, and actions having consequences are not being culturally transmitted the way they should be in certain quarters.

Finally, no matter what we may think of Rudy Giuliani—especially in the light of his recent shenanigans—he was spot on back when he asserted that if black people weren’t killing each other at such a disproportionately high rate, there wouldn’t have to be such a disproportionately high police presence in black neighborhoods. Eliminate or significantly reduce the overkill, and the number of police shootings of black people—whether questionable or justified—will decrease along with the overkill because the police simply will not have to be in black neighborhoods as much. That would be a win-win situation for everyone.

Professor Dyson? Mr. Pitts? Ms. Craven? The ball is in your court.


[1] And once elected, they don’t advance policies that are consistent with black lives mattering—broken windows theory policing, for example.

[2] Offenses Known to Law Enforcement > Expanded Offense Data > Expanded Homicide Data Tables > Victim/Offender relationship data: Expanded Homicide Data Table 6.