A graphic that circulated online after the murder trial of George Zimmerman in Florida concluded demonstrated the use of “Black-on-Black violence” as a crutch for social media users intent on minimizing violence against Black people.
The meme itself did not show Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin, the 13-year-old boy he killed. Instead, it showed the Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson — two customary targets for right-wing social media users or public figures.
The caption pushed the claim that “10,865” Black people were killed by other Black people. Another iteration of the meme put the alleged figure at 11,106:
The blog behind the statistic justified its argument saying:
Let’s do the gruesome math, not out of morbidity, but because it manifests the incredible self-centered insanity of people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
8,000-9,000 African-Americans are murdered each year.
93 percent of them by other African-Americans.
That’s 7,905 (from average)
That’s 21.65 murdered each day by other African-Americans.
And these racebaiting culture-hustling microphone-pimps only get riled up when a “White Hispanic” kills an African-American? It’s absolutely shameful.
As Politifact reported at the time, the blogger cited a 2007 study by the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ). That study tallied homicides committed during 2005 and found that 7,999 victims that given year were Black.
However, the blogger neglected to mention that according to the DOJ, the vast majority of white people killed that year were killed by other white people:
In 2005 most homicides involving one victim and one offender were intraracial. About 93 percent of black homicide victims and 85 percent of white victims in single victim and single offender homicides were murdered by someone of their race. Women were the offenders in about 10 percent of single victim and single offender homicides of both blacks and whites.
According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigations for calendar year 2012 (the same year Zimmerman shot and killed Martin) 2,648 Black people were killed in homicides involving a single offender and a single victim — far below the “8,000 to 9,000” posited by the blogger, let alone the more than 10,000 deaths named in the memes. Of those cases, 91 percent of the offenders were Black; by comparison 83 percent of 3,128 white homicide victims that year were killed by a fellow white person.
In September 2014, the Reno Gazette-Journal estimated that going by the “503 days” metric, 3,224 Black homicide victims were killed by other Black people — which would still fall far short of the meme’s claims.
Some iterations of the meme also add the claim that the U.S. is “number 3 in the world in murders.” This also appears to be a fabrication. According to data compiled by the United Nations on homicide victims between 1990 and 2018, the U.S. murder rate for 2012 was 4.7 per 100,000 people. By comparison, the murder rate in Brazil was 26.6; in Mexico it was 22.1; and in South Africa it was 30.7.
Update 1/31/2022, 4:57 p.m. PST: This article has been revamped and updated. You can review the original here.