Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani on Sunday said that black Americans must teach their children to respect law enforcement and that the “real danger” to them is violence within the black community itself.
“If I were a black father, and I was concerned with the safety of my child, really concerned about it and not in a politically activist sense, I would say, ‘Be very respectful of the police,'” Giuliani said during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Most of them are good. Some can be very bad. And just be very careful.”
When host John Dickerson tried to interject, Giuliani continued, saying the real problem was not police:
“I’d also say, be very careful of those kids in the neighborhood and don’t get involved with them because, son, there’s a 99 percent chance they’re going to kill you, not the police. And we’ve got to hear that from the black community. And what we’ve got to hear from the black community is how and what they are doing among themselves about the crime problem in the black community.”
Giuliani’s comments came after the killings of police officers in Dallas, as well as incidents in Minnesota and Louisiana in which black men were fatally shot by police, sparking national outrage. Authorities on Saturday arrested more than 200 people as unrest continued after the recent shootings. Among those arrested was DeRay Mckesson, a well-known activist in the Black Lives Matter movement. He was released Sunday afternoon.
Writing in the New York Daily News, the Rev. Al Sharpton said Sunday night that Giuliani’s comments showed “an appalling lack of understanding.”
“Anytime someone says that you shouldn’t question police or the system, then the nation loses,” Sharpton wrote. “We fight and march when there is an anti-gay killing in Orlando, when there is a black-on-black killing, when nine Church members are shot and killed in a hate crime and when police break the law or are alleged to have broken the law.
“If we genuinely want to improve relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve, then we must have the consistency to hold everyone responsible for his or her actions in order to heal society. Otherwise, we’re simply shifting blame and that is a delay tactic none of us can afford.”
On Twitter, Giuliani’s comments were met with criticism:
oh, rudy giuliani said something staggeringly ignorant about race? must be a day ending in -y.
— svl (@simonwilliam) July 10, 2016
In his “Face the Nation” appearance Sunday, Giuliani said, “The reality is, we have to look differently at race in America if we’re going to change this.”
“So maybe whites have to look at it differently, and blacks have to look at it differently. Whites have to realize that African American men have a fear, and boys have a fear of being confronted by the police because of some of these incidents,” Giuliani said. “Some people may consider it rational. Some people may consider it irrational. But it’s a reality. It exists.
“And there’s a second reality in the black community,” Giuliani continued. “And the second reality in the black community is there’s too much violence in the black community.”
He also said: “If you want to deal with this on the black side, you’ve got to teach your children to be respectful to the police, and you’ve got to teach your children that the real danger to them is not the police, the real danger to them 99 out of 100 times … are other black kids who are going to kill them. That’s the way they’re going to die.”
Giuliani made similar claims in 2014, stating on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “93 percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks.” But a Washington Post fact-check found that the statistic he used lacked significant context and determined that his simplification of the issue was misleading.
Giuliani on Sunday also decried the phrase “black lives matter,” calling it “inherently racist.”
“Black lives matter. White lives matter. Asian lives matter. Hispanic lives matter,” he said. “That’s anti-American, and it’s racist.”
His statements echoed previous comments the former mayor made on MSNBC, which were met with criticism.
This post has been updated.