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Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Not Safe in Louisiana for LGBTQ and Blacks?

NAACP plays politics with lives

Can we please stop using the term “black-on-black” crime? Even the NAACP continues to use the term and how such crimes should be addressed “How do we give life to the narrative that Black Lives Matter when we are doing the killing?” said chairman Roslyn Brocks at the 2015 NAACP annual convention.

And while it is true, according to the FBI’s uniform crime-reporting data, that 90 percent of black victims of homicide are killed by other blacks, the same is nearly true for whites; 83.5 percent of whites are killed by other whites.

Does it really matter, though? Is there any loss of life that is less consequential because of the skin color of the attacker – or the victim? I mean, the loss of life from violent crime is a heartwrenching reality that shatters families, communities and the very fabric of our society.

Every life extinguished prematurely represents dreams unfulfilled and an unbearable weight of sorrow that no words can adequately convey. It is utterly unacceptable that such brutality exists in our world, whether black-onblack or white-on-white crimes.

So, when the Louisiana chapter of the NAACP requested a “travel advisory” be issued by the national NAACP to warn only African American and LGBTQ people that traveling to Louisiana is not safe for them (due to legislation passed by the Louisiana Legislature in the session that just ended), it was clear that this was not about protecting people, but about politics.

If it were really about protecting people (regardless of skin color), the requested “travel advisory” would warn that 61% of violent crimes in the U.S. are committed by someone known to the victim. That the black homicide victimization rate is almost four times the national homicide victimization rate and seven times the homicide victimization rate for whites.

The “requested travel advisory” would have pointed out how black Americans represent 14% of the U.S. population yet account for 53% of all homicide victims in 2020. It would have warned tourists to New Orleans that 92% of murder victims in New Orleans are black.

Where are the requested “travel advisories” from the NAACP in Chicago, where 80% of murder victims are black? Or in Baltimore, where black people represent 45% of murder victims? Or in Milwaukee, where black people are the victims in 90% of the murders there? Or in Pittsburg where black people make up 90% of the murder victims?

You see, these so-called requests for “travel advisories” are nothing more than political stunts to divide us and stoke the flames of fear and resentment. And with blacks comprising a disproportionate percentage of crime victims (compared to their percentage of the U.S. population), any local NAACP chapters wasting time on such stunts ought to be ashamed because they’re missing a real opportunity to help protect black lives.

Still not sure this is all about racebaiting? Here’s one of the bills passed by the Louisiana Legislature this session that the Louisiana NAACP says makes it unsafe for blacks to travel to Louisiana: HB 464, which increases the minimum term of imprisonment for possessing a firearm by a felon from five years to 10 years. Why does the NAACP believe this bill disproportionately targets African Americans?

Or HB 646, which provides for the annual canvassing of registered voters? Why does the NAACP believe clearing the voter rolls of inaccurate voter information hurts black Americans in particular? What makes more accurate voter data so unsafe for blacks to come to Louisiana?

Or SB 159 that allows 17-year-olds to be held and tried as adults under certain circumstances. Why does the NAACP believe Louisiana would be safer if black juveniles who commit heinous crimes are subjected to the most minimal penalties, even though most violent crime victims in New Orleans are black?

If the NAACP wants to protect black lives, maybe it should start by speaking out first for the disproportionate number of black victims of violent crime in this country instead of trivializing their predicament by playing politics with their lives (and the color of their skin).

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in 318 Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at louisavallone@mac.com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.


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