The 13/50 Myth

By: Badi Cross, student reporter

Photo Courtesy of ADL

Since the inception of this country, and especially after its federal elimination of slavery, the United States has painted Black people into the stereotype of being naturally predisposed to being violent criminals. Countless examples from the media, government and law enforcement of this mass defamation of an entire race have been fed to the public for the same amount of time. What comes from this kind of rhetoric? In the age of social media, it creates droves of people indoctrinated into racism quoting racist dog whistles into echo chambers of like-minded followers. These myths often lack evidence, and oftentimes any evidence given is anecdotal in nature based on a singular personal experience, or simply false.

One of the most popular myths that have risen in recent years is the myth that Black people, despite only making up 13% of the population, commit more than 50% of violent crimes in America. You may have seen this being quoted on Twitter or other social media, but it’s possible that you haven’t been introduced to the “evidence” behind it.

Photo courtesy of FBI

As with many racist dog whistles, this myth is in the general ballpark of the truth. Many people will point to the above chart and say that this is evidence enough to prove that Black people commit an extremely high percentage of these violent crimes. However, what this chart actually shows is that Black people make up almost 50% of ARRESTS for violent crimes. It shows that Black people are being arrested at an extremely disproportionate rate to how often they should be getting arrested. It also doesn’t take into account possible acquittals, wrongful imprisonments, or even unfair trials.

In conclusion, the myth that Black people commit over 50% of violent crimes is NOT true. Without proper evidence and a surefire way to prove the guilt and valid imprisonment of the Black people being arrested, there is no way to prove that Black people do, in fact, commit all the violent crimes they are arrested for.

February 7, 2023

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