Police Are Three Times More Likely to Kill a Black Person Than a White One - When Will the Madness Stop?

We’ve all seen the histrionic social media posts attempting to denigrate Black Lives Matter and racial equality efforts by claiming whites are the "real" victims. While the constant barrage of awful police brutality incidents involving Black Americans would seem to refute this, anti-Black conservatives often claim to have the stats on their side. Fox News has gone so far as to suggest that Black Lives Matter is the real culprit, suggesting it's a "murder movement" and a "hate group."


Let’s take a look at what the actual numbers show. First of all, the memes are incorrect by default. We actually have no idea what the exact number of people who die at the hands of police each year is. The data we’re seeing is a subjective estimation based upon volunteer reporting, because we don’t actually keep accurate statistics for these deaths. What we do know is that the number we're getting is too low.

However, using the flawed data we do have, we can work with those statistics to attempt getting an idea about the racial percentages. Using numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Politifiact highlights: “Over the span of more than a decade, 2,151 whites died by being shot by police compared to 1,130 blacks."

By now, your far-right friends may just throw up their hands and go, “Well, that settled it!” But, unfortunately for them, these stats actually prove that advocates against racial injustice are clearly correct.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the country is 77 percent white (62 percent if you remove white Latinos) and only 13 percent Black. Despite a lack of easy, concrete data on the issue, Politifact finds through its analysis of existing data that police are around three times more likely to kill a Black person than a white one.

The disparity doesn’t end with police killings. Black Americans face a consistently racist outcome in any interaction with the criminal justice system. Black folks are thrown into jail at roughly six times the rate white people are incarcerated. They're imprisoned at 10 times the rate of whites for drug offenses. And Black individuals convicted of crimes are left in prison for nonviolent offenses almost as long as whites are for actual violent offenses.

Despite the equivocation of white supremacists who try to conceal the real experiences of Black Americans, the numbers are devastating.

We have a responsibility to correct the record when anyone tries to make the preposterous claim that white Americans are somehow victimized as a group in any way. Being Black in America is demonstrably dangerous.

While a needed uprising against systemic racism is taking place, we have many years of work to do before any claim can be made that the U.S. operates on a level racial playing field.

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