A Peculiar Indifference: The Neglected Toll of Violence on Black America

Elliott Currie. Metropolitan, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-76993-0
Criminologist Currie (The Roots of Danger) laments the lack of attention paid to disproportionately high rates of violent death and injury among African Americans in this disturbing evidence-based account. Though cities including Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, and St. Louis have seen their Black inhabitants killed at levels “otherwise seen only in the most violent countries in the developing world” over the past 50 years, Currie writes, police shootings of African Americans have generated far greater public awareness and outrage than this “ongoing emergency of everyday interpersonal violence.” In his view, both types of conflict result from decades of underinvestment in Black communities, and he marshals a wealth of evidence from the fields of public health, sociology, and psychology to support his claims. The historical range of sources runs from W.E.B. Du Bois’s 1899 sociological study The Philadelphia Negro to University of Maryland criminologist Joseph Richardson’s recent interviews with juvenile offenders convicted of violent crimes. Though sincere and persuasive in his efforts to document and explain the challenges faced by urban Black Americans, Currie’s suggestions for reform, including stricter gun control and a rethinking of incarceration, are well-worn. Still, this is an informative and well-intentioned overview of an ongoing crisis in America. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/26/2020
Release date: 09/15/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-1-250-76994-7
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