Philly Mayor: Bad Spinach Gets More National Attention Than Black-on-Black Violence

By Penny Starr | April 3, 2012 | 7:45am EDT

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter spoke at a Justice Department conference on youth violence in Washington, D.C., on April 2, 2012. ( Starr)

( – Black-on-black violence is a “disease” that deserves a “national investigation,” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter told a Youth Violence Prevention forum in Washington on Monday.

“It is a disease,” Nutter said. “It’s a rash, and if there were a rash killing a hundred and some odd young people on a daily basis we’d be doing something about it.”

Nutter said tainted food gets more attention than young people killing each other:  “If there were five bad bags of spinach on the shelf somewhere, someone would put out a national alert. Every bag would be snatched off the shelves until someone figured out where they came from, what was going on, and there would be a national investigation.”

But, Nutter added, “There is no national investigation about this issue--that black people are killing black people all across the United States of America.”

Nutter noted that homicide is the leading cause of death for black men between the ages of 16 and 34. In Philadelphia last year, 75 percent of the city’s 316 murder victims were black men and 80 percent of the arrests involved black men, he said.

Nutter told that the Trayvon Martin case has received a great deal of attention, partly because the two people involved were of different races. While Martin is black, the neighborhood watch captain suspected of shooting him is half white and half Hispanic.

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“But the fact of the matter is, unfortunately, many African American boys are killed in America each and every day, most of which are never going to be on CNN, MSNBC – mostly not even on the local news in those particular jurisdictions.

“That doesn’t mean that those murders are any less shocking to our conscience -- it doesn’t mean that those lives are any less valuable, no matter who they are or what they were doing.

So I think that we need to have a serious conversation, not only about Trayvon Martin – and I won’t take anything away from that discussion – but the thousands of people who are killed all across the United States of America – black, white, Latino, Asian, anybody else – (it) is a serious national issue that deserves a serious national discussion,” Nutter said.

The two-day Youth Violence Prevention conference organized by the Justice Department included various Cabinet secretaries as well as delegations from Chicago, Boston, Memphis, Detroit, San Jose, and Salinas, Calif.

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