The New York Times’ editorial board excoriated former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for his “lecture to black America” on CBS’ Face the Nation and questioned “will the country ever get beyond its stunted discourse about racialized violence when people like Mr. Giuliani continue to try to change the subject?”
Giuliani appeared on the July 10 edition of CBS’ Face the Nation, where he attacked Black Lives Matter as “inherently racist” and accused the organization of ignoring “the crime problem in the black community,” adding, “We’ve got to hear from the black community” what they will do about it. Giuliani continued, “We wonder, do black lives matter, or only the very few black lives that are killed by white policemen?” The following day, Giuliani appeared on Fox News’ Fox & Friends to double down on his attacks against Black Lives Matter, claiming that the group “puts a target on the back of police.” Giuliani’s attacks on Black Lives Matter come after media outlets have consistently hosted him to discuss matters of race as it relates to crime and policing, conversations Giuliani used to push “false” and “misleading” crime statistics.
In a July 12 editorial, the board condemned Giuliani for “bringing his trademark brew of poisonous disinformation” to the Black Lives Matter conversation. The board attacked his “garbled, fictional statistic” for echoing “a common right-wing talking point” about “black-on-black” crime. The board also called out Giuliani for his efforts to “change the subject” from police brutality by using “false equivalencies” and “untruths and misdirection.”
For a nation heartsick over the killings of black men by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota, and the ambush murders of officers by a gunman in Dallas, here comes Rudolph Giuliani, bringing his trademark brew of poisonous disinformation to the discussion.
In his view, the problem is black gangs, murderous black children, the refusal of black protesters to look in the mirror at their “racist” selves, and black parents’ failure to teach their children to respect the police.
Here’s a better question: How, we wonder, will the country ever get beyond its stunted discourse about racialized violence when people like Mr. Giuliani continue to try to change the subject? Those who remember Mr. Giuliani as the hectoring mayor of New York know what he has to offer any conversation on race and violence — not a lot. In case you’re unconvinced, here is what Mr. Giuliani on Sunday said he would tell a young son, if he were black: “Be very careful of those kids in the neighborhood and don’t get involved with them because, son, there’s a 99 percent chance they’re going to kill you, not the police.”
Mr. Giuliani’s garbled, fictional statistic echoes a common right-wing talking point about the prevalence of “black on black” violence in America. Homicide data do show that black victims are most often killed by black assailants. (They also reveal that whites tend to be killed by whites.) This observation does not speak to the matter of racist policing and police brutality. Killings of the police have, mercifully, been on the decline during the Obama presidency. But unwarranted shootings by police officers remain a persistent problem, ignored for generations, exploding only now into the wider public consciousness because of bystander videos that reveal the blood-red truth.
Unnerved by black anger, Americans like Mr. Giuliani cling to false equivalencies. They have, for example, defamed the Black Lives Matter movement as a “war on cops.” (Tell that to the protesters in Dallas who smiled for photos with officers who were protecting their march.)