It ain’t necessarily so 4.

“There are more than 1,000 fatal shootings by police in the US each year, and those killed are disproportionately African-American.”  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36339286

 

What does “disproportionately” mean?

In 2015, police officers shot to death 662 whites and Hispanics and 258 blacks.[1]  Thus, with 14 percent of the American population, blacks accounted for 28 percent of deaths at the hands of police.  Leaving aside the small number of Asian-American deaths at the hands of the police, whites and Hispanics accounted for about 85 percent of the population and 72 percent of the deaths at the hands of the police.  So, yes, obviously blacks are over-represented among those killed by police.

However, the police are not the only danger faced by blacks.  In 2014, there were 6,095 black homicide deaths.  There were 5,397 white and Hispanic homicide deaths.  That is a total of 11,492 homicide deaths.  Black homicide deaths amounted to 53 percent of the total, while blacks amount to 14 percent of the population.

The 662 whites and Hispanic shot to death by police in 2015 amounted to approximately 12 percent of all white and Hispanic homicides.  The 258 blacks shot to death by police in 2015 amounted to approximately 4 percent of all black homicides.  In comparison to the over-all danger of a violent death, black homicide victims were: a) less likely to die at the hands of the police than were white or Hispanic homicide victims; and b) less likely to die from a police shooting than from a non-police shooting.  According to one study of New York City by a University of Pennsylvania criminologist, black officers at a shooting were 3.3 times more likely than were other officers to fire their weapon.  Perhaps they’re less worried about being called racists for smoking somebody who gestured at them with a weapon?

According to the EffaBeeEye, between 2005 and 2015, 40 percent of cop-killers were black, while about 14 percent of the population is black.  Blacks kill cops at 2.5 times the rate at which cops kill blacks.

The homicide rate in the United States is 3.8 per 100,000 people.  The homicide rate in Venezuela is 53.7 per 100,000.  The homicide rate in Honduras is 90.4 per 100,000.[2]  The homicide rate in the West Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago is 116.7 per 100,000.  By late April 2016 more than 1,000 people had been killed in Chicago.  If this death toll stays on that track there will be at least 3,000 homicides in the city by Christmas 2016.  Most of the deaths are attributed to gang-related shootings.[3]  There were 2,996 dead in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The reality—and the glaring tragedy utterly ignored by white America—is that many blacks live in a cauldron of violence.  According to the US Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2009, in 75 counties, blacks were charged with 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders, and 45 percent of assaults.  Blacks made up 15 percent of the population in those counties.  America remains a deeply segregated society, so these are a pretty good measure of the victimization rates among blacks.

What caused this disaster?  The war on drugs?  The unintended consequences of anti-poverty programs?  White flight from big cities to escape turmoil and violence—and integration?  How many of our problems run back to the Sixties and Seventies?  When America was “great.”

[1] Heather MacDonald, “The Myths of Black Lives Matter,” WSJ, 12 February 2016.

[2] “Noted,” The Week, 23 October 2015, p. 16.

[3] “Noted,” The Week, 6 May 2016, p. 16.

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