News and Commentary

2014: Stereotypes of Black Men

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“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Promoting Negative Stereotypes of Black Men

Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell of Johns Hopkins University once made the claim that domestic violence is the “leading cause of death for African-American women aged 14-45.” This claim was later highlighted on the Department of Justice website.

The statement is a bizarre misrepresentation of the truth — the leading causes of death for Black women are cancer, heart disease, and unintentional injuries like motor vehicle accidents (search the CDC WISQARS database HERE).

This claim perpetrates harmful stereotypes of Black men. Persons have called for the statement’s removal from the DoJ website and other places where it appears:

On January 14, 2014, a formal complaint of research misconduct was filed against Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell and co-authors. The Office for Research Integrity later dismissed the complaint without taking action.


On January 17, 2014 the DOJ posted this clarification on its webpage :

PLEASE NOTE : These remarks, as originally delivered in 2009, cited a statistic naming intimate partner homicide as the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45. This statistic was drawn from a range of reputable sources, including a 2003 study by the National Institute of Justice. However, recent figures indicate other causes of death—including cancer and heart disease—outrank intimate partner homicide for this age group.

Although the DOJ note implies the claim may have been once true (“statistic was drawn from a range of reputable sources”), the clarification still acknowledges the claim is inaccurate.