In my piece responding to VerySmartBrothers’ article on Black males, “Straight Black Men Are the Scapegoats of Black People: VSB’s Black Eugenics Renaissance and the Pandering to Make Attention Outweigh Death,” I posted some data that requires some correction. In it, when citing information on Intimate Partner Homicide (IPH), I posted the following:
“To clarify this myth, out of approximately 23.5 million Black females in America (and 21.5 million Black males), the following illustrates the numbers killed according to the Office of Statistics and Programming, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC.
· 2003 (71 Black female victims; 24 Black Male Victims)
· 2004 (124 Black female victims; 43 Black Male Victims)
· 2005 (116 Black female victims; 55 Black Male Victims)
· 2006 (123 Black female victims; 61 Black Male Victims)
· 2007 (129 Black female victims; 55 Black Male Victims)
· 2008 (110 Black female victims; 36 Black Male Victims)
· 2009 (84 Black female victims; 34 Black Male Victims)
· 2010 (93 Black female victims; 39 Black Male Victims)
· 2011 (92 Black female victims; 56 Black Male Victims)
· 2012 (103 Black female victims; 49 Black Male Victims)
· 2013 (105 Black female victims; 44 Black Male Victims)
2014, National Violent Death Reporting System (Participating States)
As you can see in the title, I listed items from “homicide” to “intentional neglect.” When referencing IPH, I should’ve chosen “Homicide…All Mechanisms.” Consequently, I included men and women who’d been shot, cut, hit, poisoned, suffocated, burned, hit by a vehicle, neglected, or “other” but may not have necessarily been killed. Also, “all mechanisms” allows for other ways people may be killed that isn’t explicitly listed. That said, the numbers were inflated, despite that they were already minuscule when compared to the total population of Black America. Below, I’ve updated the numbers while adding an additional year of information:
· 2003 (57 Black female victims; 22 Black Male Victims)
· 2004 (97 Black female victims; 43 Black Male Victims)
· 2005 (84 Black female victims; 54 Black Male Victims)
· 2006 (81 Black female victims; 61 Black Male Victims)
· 2007 (104* Black female victims; 53 Black Male Victims)
· 2008 (77 Black female victims; 36 Black Male Victims)
· 2009 (48 Black female victims; 33 Black Male Victims)
· 2010 (60 Black female victims; 36 Black Male Victims)
· 2011 (63 Black female victims; 52 Black Male Victims)
· 2012 (80 Black female victims; 47 Black Male Victims)
· 2013 (75 Black female victims; 44 Black Male Victims)
· 2014 (77 Black female victims; 66 Black Male Victims)
As you can see, when making this adjustment, the number of Black women victimized by IPH goes down even further, reiterating my main argument that Black women are NOT being killed “en masse” by Black men. When you calculate the ratio of women killed to men, white men kill their women at a 2:1 ratio, while intimate partner homicide in the Black community is statistically even at roughly 1:1. That means that 1) Black IPH is bi-directional and 2) Black men are actually less murderous than other groups of men. This, of course, assumes that men and women also kill partners in their own gender (gay/bi relationships). When I apply their ratio to our numbers, it shows what they would look like if we had their average. In other words, if we had their ratio, in 2015, only 41 brothers would’ve died if there were 98 sisters killed. Inversely, if we had their average and 78 Black men were killed, then 179 Black women would’ve had to die to match value. Translation=we’re not only NOT murderers, we’re not even killing our women at the rates white men are. And Black women kill Black men much more than white women kill white men. What does that mean? It means that Black men are killed at greater rates than white men and Black women are actually killed less than white women by intimate partners. As a colleague told me, you’re more likely to die in a flood or be struck by lightning than to be killed by an intimate partner.*** (Except for 2007 and 2008, where the ratio of homicides are close to equal between white and Black communities. Likely due to the Great Recession, fewer white women died while slightly more Black women were killed, while equal numbers of Black and white men killed).
Yet this can be explained when we examine the ecology of the environment we most live in. Drugs, alcohol, poverty, poor educational opportunities, hyper-policing, incarceration, and unemployment alone create an environment of increased tension and strife. Still, when measured against the size of the community or in contrast to the white community, Black IPH is not an “en masse” issue where IPH is the second leading cause of death for Black women as reported on the Breakfast Club by Jamilah Lemieux and Amber Phillips in 2016. As you’ll see below, that metric is filled by malignant neoplasms.
The Breakfast Club ft. Jamilah Lemieux and Amber Phillips
On the topic of Black male privilege, when assessing the top 10 causes of death I posted the other day I recognized a change they made. Between the older and newer reports, the new ones eliminate 20 years of data. In earlier reports, they extend the age to 85+, but in the newer reports they only go to 65+. At 75, heart disease takes over for malignant neoplasms as the top cause of death for both genders, marking the first time Black women die more that Black men. What does this mean? In the older reports, Black men die at greater rates than Black women from in the womb until age 74. The newer ones show more Black women dying at 65+. This means they’ve truncated some 20+ years of data in the new reports. That said, the evidence suggests that the dynamic of the earlier reports is still the same in that Black men die to exhaustion until 74 when Black women overtake them due to conditions that are mostly age and health-related.
Since I have you here, here’s some updated data on the top 10 causes of death I also posted in the essay. Now covering a span of 17 years, what conclusions can we draw?
Some key points:
- You’ll notice that Black men are not the cause of Black female deaths, but homicide is in the top 10 causes of Black male deaths, both self-inflicted and externally sourced.
- In-utero: nearly 4,000 more Black males died due to short gestation than Black females (the number 1 cause of death for unborn fetuses). Still, the other nine show significantly higher deaths for Black males than Black females: congenital anomalies, SIDS, maternal pregnancy complications, unintentional injury, placenta cord membranes, respiratory distress, bacterial sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis, and circulatory system disease.
- HIV: 16,876 Black women died due to HIV across age between 1999-2016. As for Black men, it’s 69,532. Yes. You read that right… Also, HIV affects the most Black women from ages 35-54 by killing 22,298. Meanwhile nearly twice as many (44,073) Black males die due to the disease for the same age period. When looking at the 1999-2016 lists, Black men’s were the only to have HIV in their top 10 causes of death. Some estimates suggest that 1 out of 2 Black men who have sex with men will contract the disease. I find that interesting because for years I’ve only heard about how dangerous HIV was for women, but I barely heard mention of it for Black men. Also, we’ve still yet to see any major federal pushes to address the disparities Black males face in regard to HIV/AIDS.
- Suicide: Between the ages of 10-44 from 1999-2016, there were 22,195 Black men who committed suicide and 3,087 Black women. Tell me again how we don’t need Black Male Studies?
- On Black Gender Studies: If these issues are strictly racial issues, than why are we seeing vast gender disparities between Black males and females? And how do we study it if we’re told that centering males at any point is a patriarchal gesture?
* Notice how the numbers increase as we near the Great Recession of 2007-8, then the numbers drop again to almost 2003 numbers? As the numbers go up again, what might this signal about impending economic issues?
**Dashes in the chart mean there was too little data to report.
***See “Lightning” on Wikipedia (“According to the NOAA, over the last 20 years, the United States averaged 51 annual lightning strike fatalities, placing it in the second position, just behind floods for deadly weather. In the US, between 9% and 10% of those struck die, for an average of 40 to 50 deaths per year (28 in 2008).”)
PSS – Special thanks to Arham Jabir Hashim for inspiring this correction.