According to data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 2008, the top five leading causes of death for black females ages 15-45 are listed in the table above. Note that the 806 homicides in 2010 include the total combined number of murders by: a) family members, b) intimate partners, c) acquaintances, and d) strangers. Also, data for 2009 and 2010 are now available and reveal almost identical rankings for leading causes of death as in 2008; data from 2008 are presented here because those would have been the most recent statistics available in 2009 when Eric Holder prepared his remarks that included misinformation about the leading causes of death for black females — see below.
Despite the fact that homicides were the fifth leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15-45 in 2008, and despite the fact that homicides include three other categories besides intimate partners, the Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder makes this false claim on the Department of Justice website: “Disturbingly, intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45.” He actually first made that false claim in a speech on August 3, 2009, when he said “Intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45. These statistics are shocking and completely unacceptable.”
In a USA Today op-ed back on February 4, 2011, my AEI colleague Christina Sommers pointed out that it would be shocking and completely unacceptable if it were true, but in fact, it absolutely is not true (see table above). Instead, it’s shocking and completely unacceptable for the attorney general of the United States to spread false statistics that aren’t even remotely close to being true or accurate. Shocking, indeed. Especially when you see how that misinformation has spread so widely over the last three years and been quoted as fact by an institute on domestic violence at the University of Minnesota, on YouTube, in books like this one, on the American Bar Association website, and by a writer on the Huffington Post website, among many, many other websites, articles, and blog posts. Disturbingly, a Google search of Holder’s quote “Intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45″ reveals that the false claim now appears on more than 9,000 websites.
Thanks to Christina Sommers for exposing this false claim that has now remained on the Department of Justice (DOJ) website for more than three and-a-half years without correction, and her challenge to Eric Holder:
Victims of intimate violence are best served by the truth. Eric Holder should correct his department’s website immediately.
After more than three years, it doesn’t look like the false information on the DOJ website will be corrected. Maybe Rep. Darrell Issa can add the spreading of misinformation by Eric Holder and the Department of Justice to the list of reasons to investigate the Attorney General?