White criminals know they will be believed if they say, “A black man did it”.
Race and crime have always had a close association. The extent to which people are susceptible to racial stereotypes can be borne out by the increasing trend in the US of white criminals pretending to be black or equally as bad white criminals pretending to be victims who seek to divert attention away from their own criminality by pointing the figure at black men. Here they are relying on the psychological dynamics of racism that will predispose police officers and the public at large to believe their stories.
There is increasing evidence that this is emerging as a new phenomena. Known in the black community as the “southern belle syndrome” it involves white women accusing black men of serious crime. The sexual dynamics of a white woman victim and black male criminal is an irresistible combination that pushes all the right buttons.
Earlier this year a Michigan woman working at a Post Office rang 911 to report a robbery in progress. The woman blond haired and blue eyed told how she was robbed by a “black or Mexican…he had a mask on and was very big”. The fact is she made this up after robbing the store herself.
Remember the case of Bonnie Sweeten, a white woman who last year claimed that both her and her daughter were carjacked by two black men. Again another false accusation.
Taking it to the next level here is a criminal who robbed banks in Ohio disguised as an African American. Conrad Zdzierak, 30, fooled detectives by wearing a Hollywood special effects mask that disguised him as a black man, and carried out six robberies — five on the same day. Believing they were searching for an African-American male, police in Springdale, Ohio, had released CCTV footage from the banks in an appeal for information.
Here in the UK multi racial shoplifting teams will often send in their black recruits who will innocently browse the store knowing full well cameras and security guards will follow them whilst the white thieves are left shoplifting unnoticed.
The ‘southern belle syndrome” is also a feature of many professional interactions between white women and black men in the public and private sector, with many black men finding themselves falsely accused of behaviour that fits convenient and fairly typical racist stereotypes.
The case cited above was uncovered because of the stupidity of the criminals involved. Nevertheless there will have been black men who were wrongly targeted by the police, detained and in some cases charged with crimes they did not commit. There will be others who will be sitting in jails wrongly convicted of crimes committed by others.
These criminals rely on exploiting widespread racial prejudice for their own ends. As usual innocent or guilty it’s the black communities that pay the price.