Matt Barnes may be a staunch advocate against police brutality, but he believes that “black-on-black crime” is the bigger epidemic. The 38-year-old retired NBA player shared a message on Instagram Monday (June 18) explaining that while he continues to be against officer-involved shootings of "unarmed minorities," he’s also working to stop black people from killing each other.
“Y’all know I go hard on cops killing unarmed minorities, mostly blacks…Only because they’re paid to protect & serve, not to play judge jury & executioner! But we all know the bigger problem is we killing each other... Daily!!” Barnes captioned the Instagram message.
”We can point the finger [and] try to blame whomever but that’s facts!! We need to cherish this life, cause we only get one.. Stop doing s**t to fit in, to impress others or sell records.”
The motivation behind the post had nothing to do with the death of XXXTentacion, Barnes said. The 20-year-old rapper was shot and killed near Miami Monday afternoon. According to reports, the shooter in XXXTentacion's case is believed to be a black male.
Barnes, concluded his post with a statement on helping to curb gang violence in Sacramento adding, “If we don’t respect ‘ourselves’ what [makes] you think anyone else will, law enforcement included.”
Though crimes committed by black people may get more media prevalence giving off the illusion that blacks commit crimes against each other at exorbitant rates in comparison to crimes committed by whites against other whites, the myth has already been debunked. For example, a 2017 report from the Department of Justice shares a racial breakdown of violent crimes and reconfirms that black, white, and Hispanic crime victims are more likely to be attacked by someone of their own race. Additionally, as Mic.com pointed out, black-on-black violence has declined nearly 80 percent between 1994-2015.
Still, the black-on-black crime argument has become a popular deterrent to the issue of brutality and injustice, as well as an excuse for over-policing in minority communities. A 2016 report by Vox.com revealed that 71 percent of 1,000 people questioned in a YouGov survey saw black-on-black violence as a bigger issue than racial injustice, compared to 42 percent of blacks.
Reach Barnes' statement below.