A Historical Description of Black Homicide and Suicide Differentials in the United States


Homicide and, increasingly, suicide have become serious public health and political problems in the black community. Homicide disproportionately affects certain ethnic and racial groups (Holinger, 1987). Nonwhites, in par­ticular blacks, are more likely than whites to be both victims and offenders. Homicide data collected by the National Centers for Health Statistics show that, in 1986, the homicide rate for blacks was 32.4 per 100,000 population; for whites, it was 5.8 per 100,000. Clearly, one can see that the homicide rate for blacks in the United States is much higher than that for whites. More impor­tant, homicide has become the leading cause of death for black males aged 15- 19 (Fingerhut & Kleinman, 1989).


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