Why do Black Men Kill Each Other

It happens everyday in America!

By Jeff Thomas

Black men kill each other at alarming rates all across America every day. Nearly every city’s daily news casts reports, “Today in our city three (or thirty depending on the size of your city) men were shot and killed in three (or thirty) separate shootings.  Police have no suspects in any of the cases.”  And immediately and innately you know that the people killed were black and the killers were black.  This has been going on for the last 30-40 years and no end is in sight.  New Orleans has one of the highest murder rates nationally.  Why do black men kill each other?

First Let’s Dispel a Racist Myth

First thing you have to know is that 99.999% of black men do not commit murder ever in their lives.  That is a fact!  This is not a black man issue.  There is nothing genetically or intrinsically wrong with black men. But the fact remains that daily hundreds of black men across this country are murdered everyday by another black man.  Why does this happen with this subset?

Common factors to Black men murdering other black men


The first thing about murder is that people usually kill people who are similar to them in many ways, particularly race.  White men normally murder other white men and black men normally murder other black men. 


In the black community, these killings are normally city events.  Rarely do you hear of a drive by in the country.  Most of these daily killings occur on the city streets.  Is the concrete an issue?


Young men engage in risky and violent behavior.  Most of the men dying on our streets are between the ages of 17-35. 


Nearly 95% have not graduated from college and 65% have not completed high school.   

Socioeconomic Status

100% were not upper class in America. The links between poverty and crime are well documented.  And black men have lived in depression level economic conditions for the last 50 years.

But these are often cited, unsurprising factors.  More salient is what goes into the psyche of a guy who can look into the eyes of another man and pull the trigger at close range or jab a knife with the intent to murder another man?  What are the other factors that contribute to becoming a murderer?

Habitually Hostile Men

The guy who ain’t never scared and always looking to escalate a situation.  Down for whatever.  Nothing to live for and anticipating the day he will either kill or be killed.  This mindset is cultivated in a limited option, few chances, success deprived life.  This guy has had a number of arguments and fist fights throughout his life.  He hates authority and frequently feels angry or resentful towards people.  He often seeks to overcome a feeling of powerlessness.  This guy is a walking heap of rage.  He is always nothing but a gun and an argument away from murder.

The Disrespected Man

A man who feels like everybody but him gets respect.

  • Unemployed or stuck in a low wage hard work job where his contributions are unrecognized
  • Lives with his mother and has little control over his home environment
  • Has a child but no custody and a bad relationship with his baby mama
  • Been profiled and harassed by the police
  • Observes community members driving nice cars
  • Rejected for better jobs
  • Feels unable to change his life status and is insignificant in the world
  • Seeks to overcome feelings of impotence

For this guy, respect is everything and options to express anger or refutation are often limited.   He often seeks to overcome a feeling of impotence. If another who seems unworthy of disseminating criticism or scorn or generally crosses the line of imagined respect, then a high level of response will be meted out.

The Wannabe

  • Often immature,
  •  lacking self-identity
  • little life happiness
  • thrill seeker often brags and talks about his toughness and ‘hood status.
  • Wants to make a real name for himself
  • Will recklessly escalate a situation or

When challenged by a non-believing skeptic, this man often acts in unnecessarily violent ways in unnecessarily violent situations.  Often seeks to overcome a feeling of powerlessness.


  • Too often black men suffer an inferiority complex.
  •  Society vilifies and criminalizes black men on a daily basis. 
  • American culture is based upon the notion that black people and specifically black men are less intelligent, completely unpredictable, beast like, lazy etc., etc. 
  • Black men internalize this notion and are conditioned to see little value when they look in the mirror.
  • Beset by internal angst and torment. 
  • Unresolved pain combined with poverty, ignorance, oppression, violent police, violent neighborhoods, etc.
  •  The symptoms of an inferiority complex include a high sensitivity to criticism, perceiving others as a threat, jealousy, a lack of dreams.

The daily feeling of isolation, powerlessness and impotence is like being a prisoner of war.  One reason black men grab their genitals is to stress their vitality.  Men who have been literally stripped of the ability to display their manhood – great jobs, big houses, educational attainment and all the other accoutrements of modern society- are literally killing to express their power in life.  Twisted but true.

5 thoughts on “Why do Black Men Kill Each Other

  • December 16, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Jeff… this is a very necessary topic to study & investigate so that we can promote change in our community..
    The missing element that would begin that process is mental health treatment..
    If we offered counseling & therapy in the schools a big change would occur..
    Please make this a frequent subject as a deterrent to combat crime..Thanks Sandra Ewell

  • December 16, 2019 at 9:06 am

    Great article. I hope this opens up the conversation in a way that leads to comprehensive, multidisciplinary research and effective early preventive measures. I haven’t found any research on this public health issue that has traumatized us for decades. I would also like to add my two cents on the habitually hostile male. There is the hostile youth shooter. He gets a thrill by shooting a gun. His brain is immature and his feelings are numb, for whatever reason. But shooting that gun and seeing the aftermath becomes a reinforcing treat. Again, early prevention is needed in a way that directly addresses the problem.

  • December 16, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Why can’t reporter, restaurant owners, and you tell the difference between everyday and every day.
    The first is best illustrated by Sly’s “Everyday People” — meaning average, something you see every day! That’s the meaning you want here. Every day people are being killed. Not everyday people.

  • December 16, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Why can’t reporters, restaurant owners, and you tell the difference between everyday and every day?
    The first is best illustrated by Sly’s “Everyday People” — meaning average, something you see every day! That’s the meaning you want here. Every day people are being killed. Not everyday people.

    • December 17, 2019 at 7:23 pm

      Thanks and duly noted. In the rush to publish we sometimes don’t get it 100% right,


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