Merlin, when you point out that most African-Americans are killed by other African-Americans, are you implying that they are naturally violent? That would be one inference, and it is commonly found along the spectrum of poltical conservativism, both traditionalist and libertarian.
A stronger theory can be established from the empirical fact that most people are killed by other people whom they already know. Homicide-by-stranger is rare. In support of that rather obvious fact is supporting evidence that within transient communities, interpersonal violence is not common. People tend not to victimize others whom they do not already know.
Another fact, also established by statistical studies is that Southerners are more violent than Northerners. Because African-American culture is so heavily derived from the social psychology of their Southern heritage, they share many of the same values, such as deep feelings of honor. They don't like being disrespected. On the other hand, you can go to Manhattan and disrespect people all day long. They'll just ignore you.
It is not the study that I am thinking of, but I will add that the City versus the Farm also has a lot to do with it. Urban culture requires tolerance for differences. In rural communities, conformity is more highly valued.
We focus on race all too easily. (Gender and age come next.) Even as we proclaim the unfairness of discrimination against this group or that, we continue to place people into the very categories whose validities we deny. “There is no gene for race,” said a poster pinned up in near the sociology department of my alma mater, Eastern Michigan University. Yet, we measure income and education – and arrests – by race. We no longer tally Swedes and Irish (or Scots-Irish), lumping them all together as “White.” However, that oversight may create a peculiar difficulty.
Marvin Wolfgang and Franco Ferracuti theorized a “subculture of violence” among young African-American men in Philadelphia of the 1950s and 1960s. Their cohort study became a classic. Oddly enough, the obvious facts of this continuing culture of violence were successfully falsified by two acceptable studies.
In 1997, Liqun Cao, et al, took on the theory and in 2004, Lance Hannon followed. According to Cao:
We use data from the General Social Survey (1983 to 1991) to test Wolfgang and Ferracuti's hypothesis that violent values are widespread among African-Americans. Contrary to the expectations of the black subculture of violence thesis, our analyses indicate that white males are significantly more likely than blacks to express violent tendencies in defensive situations and that there is no significant difference between white and black males in offensive situations, ceteris paribus. Thus, we have rejected, within the limitations of our data, the hypothesis that a unique subculture of violence exists among the general population of African-Americans in the United States.
(Cao, Liqun, Anthony Adams, and Vickie J.Jenson, “A Test Of The Black Subculture Of Violence Thesis: A Research Note,” Criminology 35:2 (May 1007), 367–379.
Hannon, Lance, “Race, victim precipitated homicide, and the subculture of violence thesis,” The Social Science Journal, Volume 41, Issue 1, 2004, Pages 115-121. )
The key is the phrases are “unique subculture” and “among the general population of …” It is also true that “among general population of African Americans in the United States” there exists no “unique subculture” of wealth that disdains to admit mere social workers and postal carriers. Yet, such a subculture exists as a subculture. Lawrence Graham’s social portrait Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class (New York: HarperCollins, 1999) describes them.
(Edited by Michael Marotta on 6/26, 6:31am)