Donald Trump shared his thoughts on race and crime on Twitter Wednesday, foisting the blame for violence in the United States on blacks and Latinos.
The statistics that Fox pundit Bill O’Reilly cited appear to come from the 2012 New York City Enforcement Report compiled by the police department. The report says that of the 662 shooting suspects for which a race or ethnicity was known, 78.2 percent were black, while 18.9 percent were Hispanic and 2.4 percent were white.
Though national figures crime are far less skewed, Trump went on to tweet that the "overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and [H]ispanics" and invited his Twitter followers to discuss the “tough subject."
Many serious analysts other than Trump spend their lives analyzing the links between race, ethnicity and crime, often concluding that socioeconomic inequality plays a strong role. Sociologist Robert Sampson and criminologist Janet Lauritsen, for example, wrote in a 1997 study:
Race and ethnic disparities in violent offending and victimization are pronounced and long-standing. Blacks, and to a lesser extent Hispanics, suffer much higher rates of robbery and homicide victimization than do whites… These differences result in part from social forces that ecologically concentrate race with poverty and other social dislocations.
Media critic Eric Deggans dismissed the rightwing real estate mogul’s musings in a column at the Tampa Bay Times and wondered how far Trump had to go without prompting a reaction from NBC.
“There is no doubt that violent crime is a serious problem in communities of color,” Deggans wrote. “But connecting it to race in such a blunt and unfair fashion seems more about blaming certain kinds of people than solving the problem. As always, it remains puzzling that NBC continues to offer a platform to someone so willing to pass along prejudice disguised as political speech,” Media Critic Eric Deggans wrote at the Tampa Bay Times.