Unless you are living under a rock, you have heard about the racial conflicts that have been happening throughout our nation. More specifically, the shooting deaths of unarmed and armed black men. You probably have also heard some variation of the claim, “police are racist” from some variation of the organization Black Lives Matter (BLM). Before we address the truth or lack thereof, lets define our terms shall we?
According to the dictionary racism is defined as, “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races; (verb) prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.”
I warn you to shy away from the other variations that have been created to redefine the meaning of racism to fit terms that are similar to prejudice or discrimination. Such definitions only cause confusion and chaos which place barriers in between our ability to have an open and honest dialogue
Whether you read this as a person that is pro-BLM, anti-BLM, pro-Police, or anti-Police there are a few things we must set straight in order to begin an honest dialogue on the issue of race and police.
According to the Washington Post, there were 991 people killed by police in 2015. 50 percent of those were white and 26 percent were black. While on the surface it is true that whites are being killed numerically more than blacks, when population differences are taken into account the picture changes. Whites make up 63 percent of the population while blacks make up 13 percent. You may already see, based upon the population numbers above, blacks have been over represented in the number of those killed by police.
If the violent crime arrest rate is taken into account, or in other words the rate at which one might come into violent contact with police, we find a startling fact.
The Bureau of Justice Statistic states those arrested for violent crimes were nearly 40 percent black and 60 percent white. Comparing this to the population statistics, whites are arrested for violent crime at a rate that is pretty close to that of their population size (60 percent violent crime rate and 63 percent of the population). But here is the startling fact, blacks were arrested for violent crimes at a rate three times higher than what their expected population rate would suggest (40 percent violent crime rate and 13 percent of the population). Higher violent crime rate means more run-ins with the police, which then means greater statistical chances of being shot.
Be wary of arguments made to suggest such disparities are the result of racism. If we were to apply such logic to the NBA, we would have to conclude that since the majority of players are black (74.4 percent) and a minority are white (23.3 percent), the NBA must be racist!
One last thing to consider, if you take a look back at the Post’s data, you can see that an overwhelming majority of the shootings could be considered justified. Not even just based upon police rules and procedures, but justified if any average citizen were in that situation. Out of the 991, there were 782 people killed that had a deadly weapon. Of that 782 there were 632 that were considered “attack in progress”. It is all of these things we must understand before diving head first into a conversation on race and police.
Now, on to the bigger question. Are the police inherently racist? Possibly. But the statistics would not line up with that notion. However, with such a large disparity among crime rates compared to population, the statistics would suggest that there is something going on within the black community, not the police.
Black Lives Matter
Recently BLM, both the idea and the organization have been the hot topics across the United States. After the shooting of Michael Brown, BLM the organization, protested and inspired riots and other such violent acts based upon the mistruth that “hands up, don’t shoot” was true. This same sort of event played out in the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott. Except it was the lie that he did not have a gun in his hand, but rather a book that fueled the flames. This later proven totally false, towns and businesses in Charlotte, North Carolina were looted, vandalized and in some cases burned to the ground.
So what am I getting at here? Suppose I asked you your thoughts about the KKK. Do you like them? Do you think they are acceptable in society? I would hope you’d say no. As I would.
While the KKK isn’t out killing people in today’s America, what if I convinced you that an entire group of people were not only verifiable racists, but were also killing the race they hated? On top of that, what if I threw statistics and even video “evidence” at you, what would you say then? Some people say they should be killed.
On Saturday July 9, in Dallas, a man claimed it was “white people,” especially white police officers that he wanted to kill. Five police officers dead. On Sunday July 17, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana a man wanted to get revenge on the police department that “killed” Alton Sterling. Three police officers dead.
Truth matters. In every instance. Sometimes when we hear it, or read statistics that don’t fit our worldview, our brains hurt. When our worldview is based upon lies, and when a large part of the population holds the same fallacious worldview that police are inherently racist, well, police die. Truth hurts, but lies kill. Think about that.