Leonard Pitts recently wrote a column about white men who attack black men for no other reason that because they are unjustifiably scared. As a prime example, he cited an incident in which a 57-year-old white man in Syracuse, NY, got out of his car and shoved an autistic black teenager to the ground because he was afraid the teen might hurt his wife. Pitts was right to criticize that man because his fear was completely unfounded. The boy made no attempt to get into the car and harm that man’s wife. He was probably more afraid at that point than the older white couple was. And because of his autism, he was probably unable to understand the man’s “orders” that he get out of the road (as if he had the authority to order anyone to do anything). I agree with Pitts that this man should be found guilty of at least a misdemeanor assault and spend some time in the county jail.
Pitts went on to say that lots of black males are at risk of violence because of white men being scared. But I don’t think this kind of thing is as widespread as he seems to believe. Strangely enough, Pitts undermines his own argument before he gets to the end of his article, and says something that tends to support my point of view. Several paragraphs before he concludes, he writes the following: “Someone will say violent-crime statistics justify a white man’s fear. They don’t. To the contrary, they warn that if you are fated to be victimized, the attacker will probably look a lot like you.” He’s right. Whites tend to victimize other whites, while blacks tend to victimize other blacks. So why all the concern about white-on-black crime? Pitts can’t have it both ways.