YES, race makes a difference. Homicide by gun is a race disease.

MINNESOTA: EVERYTOWN reports in a study of homicides between 2015-2019 (average), gun death rate per 100,000 population, WHITE was 0.8, BLACK 10.2, NATIVE AMERICAN 11.5 and HISPANIC 1.5. The ratio of WHITE to BLACK is 11:1, WHITE TO NATIVE AMERICAN 12:1, and HISPANIC .5:1.

In a recent study, homicides in Massachusetts revealed that Black men, who make up less than 5% of the population, account for nearly 48% of the state’s gun homicide victims. Furthermore, Black men ages 18-24 are nearly 19x more likely than White men the same age to be murdered by a gun.

In a 2019 USA Today study titled “A Public Health Crisis in the Making”, although Black men and boys ages 15-34 make up just 2% of the nation’s population, they were among 37% of gun homicides last year. That is 20x more than White males of the same age. Of all reported gun homicides in 2019, more than 50% were Black men. 63% of victims were Black. Across all ages, Black men were nearly 14x more likely to die by gun homicide than the general population, including women.

We need to ask why. In a speech to about 4,000 people on the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota in April of 1968, MLK, Jr. stated three “evils” in our society: racism, economic inequality and militarism. I would suggest the first two are the same, and the third is now domestic terrorism, enfleshed by White Supremacy, the Oath Keepers, Boogaloo Bois and Proud Boys. But race is #1.

In 1946, Albert Einstein wrote, “The worst disease is the treatment of the Negro.” “[I can] hardly believe that a reasonable man can cling so tenaciously to such prejudice. . . .” Delivering a commencement address at Lincoln University, a historically black college in Pennsylvania, he said, “The separation of the races is not a disease of colored people, but a disease of the white people. I do not intend to be quiet about it.” Yes, race makes a difference. Blending statistical truth with Einstein’s analysis, gun violence is a race disease.


Ron Letnes (Rev. Dr.)