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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

OK, fine. Let’s talk about “black on black” crime.

That, after all, is where the conversation seems to inevitably turn whenever one seeks to engage a conservative on the American habit of shooting unarmed African-American boys and men. So it was exasperating, but nowhere near surprising, to see former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani go there last week on Meet the Press.

Asked by host Chuck Todd, during a discussion of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, about the fact that African-American communities like that one are often served by snow-white police departments, he offered some perfunctory words about the effort to produce more representative cop shops. But then Giuliani took a sharp turn off topic and into the brambles. “I find it very disappointing,” he told Todd, “that you’re not discussing the fact that 93 percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks. … I would like to see the attention paid to that that you are paying to this.”

There followed a sharp exchange with another panelist, author and professor Michael Eric Dyson, which produced this parting shot from the mayor: “The white police officers wouldn’t be there if you weren’t killing each other.”

Somehow, he managed not to call Dyson “you people.” In nearly every other respect, Giuliani’s words reeked of a paternalistic white supremacy unworthy of a former mayor of America’s largest city — or even a sewer worker in its remotest Podunk. But again, this has become the go-to “reasoning” for those on the right — Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh — when asked to give a d–n about the killings of unarmed black boys and men.

That formulation is false for multiple reasons.

In the first place, being concerned over the shooting of unarmed black men hardly precludes being concerned over violence within the African-American community. Giuliani and others suggest a dichotomy where none exists.

In the second place, they ignore the obvious: When black people commit crimes against black people, they face prosecution, but when police officers (or certain neighborhood watchmen) commit crimes against black people, they face getting off with little if any punishment.

In the third place, what exactly is “black on black” crime?

Do black people kill one another? Sure they do. Ninety percent of black murder victims are killed by black assailants.

But guess what? White people kill one another, too. Eighty-three percent of white victims are killed by white assailants. See, the vast majority of violent crime is committed within — not between — racial groups. Crime is a matter of proximity and opportunity. People victimize their own rather than drive across town to victimize somebody else.

So another term for “black on black” crime is “crime.”

But there is crime and there is crime.

Redlining, loan discrimination and predatory mortgages have stripped generations of wealth from the African-American community. What is that if not robbery?

The Republican Party practices policies of voter suppression. That’s the assault and battery of African-American political rights.

Mass incarceration criminalizes the very existence of black men and boys. That’s the rape of equal justice.

Unarmed people are killed by those who are purportedly there to protect and serve them and the “just us” system looks the other way. That’s the murder of basic human rights.

It is touching that Giuliani and others are so concerned about black-on-black crime. But African-Americans have also been long oppressed by what might be called “America on black” crime.

When do you suppose they’ll be ready to talk about that?

Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, and Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via email at lpitts@miamiherald.com.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Donald Trump Jr.

Screenshot from Twitter

You've probably heard about Donald Trump's claim that his Democratic rival got "a big fat se onhot in the ass" before delivering a nearly perfect performance on a recently televised town hall. Or his more recent demand that Joe Biden get a "drug test" before their debate on Tuesday night. Having spent months lowering expectations for Biden, the Trumps are now busily defaming him as a junkie.

But that particular slur backfired spectacularly over the weekend when the Trump campaign posted a bizarre video of Don Jr. -- seemingly in a condition that called for rehab services. As his father might put it, "many people are saying" that the presidential spud looked and sounded like someone abusing a controlled substance. (His slurred message was disturbed too, something about an "army of able-bodied men and women" to intimidate voters).

It's both funny and sad to watch Don Jr. decompensate on Twitter. (More funny, though.)

Click and judge his condition for yourself.