About the Book"In the United States today, a young black man has a sixteen times greater chance of dying from violence than his white counterpart. Violence takes more years of life from black men than cancer, stroke, and diabetes combined. Even black women are more affected by violence than white men, despite its usual gender patterns. These disparities translate into starkly divergent experiences of life and death for whites and blacks in the United States. Yet aside from occasional flare-ups of violence that periodically hit the headlines, the problem has largely receded into the background of public discussion and has nearly disappeared as a target of public policy. The country has been understandably outraged by the recent spate of police shootings of black Americans. But as acclaimed criminologist Elliott Currie points out, the far more widespread problem of "everyday" violent death and injury in black communities has received much less sustained attention or concern. Yet both kinds of violence reflect the same underlying condition: the continuing marginality and structural disadvantage of many black communities in America today. Our unwillingness to confront those conditions helps to perpetuate a level of preventable trauma and needless suffering that has no counterpart anywhere in the developed world. Compelling and accessible, drawing on a rich array of both classic and contemporary research, A Peculiar Indifference describes the dimensions and consequences of this enduring emergency, explores its causes, and offers an urgent plea for long-overdue social action to end it"--
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEARFrom Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie comes a devastating exploration of the extreme levels of violence afflicting Black communities, and a blueprint for addressing the crisis About 170,000 Black Americans have died in homicides just since the year 2000. Violence takes more years of life from Black men than cancer, stroke, and diabetes combined; a young Black man in the United States has a fifteen times greater chance of dying from violence than his white counterpart. Even Black women suffer violent death at a higher rate than white men, despite homicide's usual gender patterns. Yet while the country has been rightly outraged by the recent spate of police killings of Black Americans, the shocking amount of "everyday" violence that plagues African American communities receives far less attention, and has nearly disappeared as a target of public policy. As acclaimed criminologist Elliott Currie makes clear, this pervasive violence is a direct result of the continuing social and economic marginalization of many Black communities in America. Those conditions help perpetuate a level of preventable trauma and needless suffering that has no counterpart anywhere in the developed world. Compelling and accessible, drawing on a rich array of both classic and contemporary research, A Peculiar Indifference describes the dimensions and consequences of this enduring emergency, explains its causes, and offers an urgent plea for long-overdue social action to end it.
"A smart, timely, deeply disturbing and essential book by a veteran scholar and leading expert on the criminal legal system... Currie's book is the first comprehensive study to present a meta-analysis of peer-reviewed research - a study of studies - showing how anti-Black racism in the form of state and private violence upholds 'an essentially exploitative and discriminatory social order.'... This is not a Black crisis but a national emergency."
--Khalil Gibran Muhammad, The New York Times Book Review
About the AuthorElliott Currie is the author of Crime and Punishment in America, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and of numerous other acclaimed works on crime, juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, and social policy. He is a professor of criminology, law, and society at the University of California, Irvine.