A courtroom euphemism. Black rage has been known to win various lawsuits in America, usually some ultraviolent crime committed by a black against some other ethnicity. Doesn't matter if the victim is white, Asian or Hispanic. Apparently, black people have been oppressed so long that they can commit crimes in the name of some kind of "ethnic anger" and get away with it. Outrageous, eh?

One particularly nasty case in Los Angeles saw a gang of blacks bludgeon a Korean man to death because his car broke down in the ghetto. He had a nice car. Now he's dead. The blacks were found innocent by this so-called "black rage" defense.

In addition to this, black rage has been used to defend blacks from various other crimes, such as looting. We all remember Rodney King.

I wonder if Asian rage or white rage works in the courtroom. Maybe I should find out...

Love the soft-links. Thank you, I love you all.


I read it on a paper edition of Newsweek, circa 1992. It happened. I'm not going to start on reverse discrimination. This will not end racism. This only serves to fuel racism by illuminating racial lines instead of hiding them. Then again, I am not black, so what do I know?

I'm scouring the Internet right now, but I can't begin to find a news article about the bludgeoning incident DMan described in his (now deleted) writeup. Anyways --

"Black rage" is a phrase which summarizes all the anger, frustration, and sometimes outright hatred which many black Americans experience in response to the subtle racism of American society. It was coined by psychiatrists Price Cobbs and William Grier in their 1968 book of the same name.

When employed as a legal defense, it argues that formative events in the defendant's past, events which were directly or indirectly caused by their racial profile, led to their emotional state when the crime was committed. The first such use of this defense dates to 1946, when William Henry Seward argued that the consequences of black slavery and the ongoing oppression of blacks in the United States drove William Freeman to madness and murder.

The "black rage defense", however, is not a freestanding legal defense which demands the acquital of the black person on trial. It is simply a race-specific term for the long-standing state of mind or environmental defense, or even temporary insanity, arguing that an individual's mindset or expectations of danger should affect how severely their crime is judged. It's identical to defenses used in other cases for battered women or ex-soldiers suffering post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Because racism is now a four-letter word in American society, the concept of a "black rage defense" is anathema to many people. It sounds like a courtroom version of affirmative action, but it's not. The latter is an attempt to reverse discrimination through reverse discrimination, regardless of the individual, while the former is an attempt to explain the actions of one individual on trial for one crime. And like any legal argument, it falls to the judge and jury to determine its validity.


Recommended reading: "Black Rage Confronts the Law" by Paul Harris

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