Amid people I previously considered friends, colleagues and generally decent human beings sharing the despicable Candace Owens video and articles on how black people aren’t actually marginalized or how they don’t really experience police brutality, I thought it was time I speak out and lay down the unbiased facts.
While my background is in nutrition, I have based my career on evidence. On history. I have never relied solely on studies, trends or anecdotal data to draw conclusions. I rely on a combination of all of these things; as well as chronicles of the past, what has and has not proven effective for generations, mixed in with sound scientific data. I like to attack ideas from all angles prior to making a decision. And I’m good at it.
I think it’s time I take this outside of the realm of nutrition and apply it to the systemic racism and extremely flawed judicial system that permeates our country. I will draw from historical accounts, current data and statistical trends over the years.
Let’s get to it.
The rate of fatal police shootings of black people is higher than of any other ethnicity.
Many people get confused and think that because more white people are shot by police, that there is no systemic racism and it’s more dangerous to be a white person. What these people fail to realize is that white people make up a much larger percentage of the population. In fact, they make up the majority of the population; whereas African Americans make up slightly less than 13%. A staggering 72% of the US population is white. And yet, 25% of police shootings are of black people (source). This is the very definition of disproportionate.
Between 2015 and June 2020, 30 people per million of the African American population risked being shot and killed by police, whereas 12 white people per million risked being shot and killed by police (source). This means that black people are roughly 2.5x more like to be shot and killed by police (another source).
Don’t black people commit more crimes than white people?
No. If you watched the Candace Owens video, you might think black people commit majority of crime and this is why they are brutalized and murdered in higher numbers – as if that made it okay. But let’s be clear, the data does not support that.
From the FBA database, a total of 5,858,330 white people and a total of 2,263,112 committed crimes in 2016. While the murder rates were just slightly higher among African Americans, the rate of rape was more than 2x for white people than black people.
In fact white people committed more crimes than black people in almost every category – aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, violent crime, property crime, etc. White people were 2.5x more likely to commit drug abuse violations and 6x more likely to drive under the influence (source).
- White people are 2.5x more likely to commit rape.
- White people are almost twice as likely to commit aggravated assault.
- White people are 2.5x more likely to committ drug abuse violations.
- White people are twice as likely to commit theft.
- White people are 6x more likely to drive under the influence.
So Candace Owens took one statistic and applied it to crime overall, which is simply inaccurate and misleading.
Black people are unfairly targeted by police, receive harsher punishments and are convicted more often.
Furthermore, the numbers are inflated for people of color because they are caught, charged and penalized more often than white people. Don’t believe me? Let’s visit the studies.
This study published recently analyzed nearly 100 million traffic stops and found that black people are pulled over much more often than white drivers, but this lessens at night – when it’s harder to distinguish whether a black or white person is driving. Directly proving that skin color influences who cops pull over.
This study found that black people were arrested at twice the rate of white people for crimes like disorderly conduct, vandalism, drug possession and vagrancy.
This study found that despite a 60% white population, a whopping 78% of traffic stops were people of color – who tend to drive less than white people. My God, were they exclusively pulling over blacks and latinos simply for driving while non-white?
This study found that 24% of black drivers pulled over were searched and only 5% of white drivers – despite white drivers being more likely to be in possession of drugs or weapons.
This study from The University of Michigan Law School found that black men are punished more severely and with longer sentences than white men for similar crimes, even when accounting for prior convictions.
Incarceration rates have skyrocketed, whith over 2.2 millions prisoners today, making the US the world’s leader in imprisoning its people. Have people become more violent? Has crime increased? Actually, no and no. The criminal justice system has changed (source).
The ACLU found that blacks are nearly four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana offenses, despite similar uses in both populations. These mass incarcerations have cost US taxpayers billions of dollars, all for non-violent, petty drug offenses.
Black people have experience years and years of systematic, systemic calculated oppression.
Ever heard of redlining?
Beginning in the 1930s, banks denied mortages, loans and home improvement credits to people of color. If a black person had the money to purchase a house in a wealthy, white suburb – they were denied. And this practice was backed by the US government.
This forced Black people into ghettos, into neighborhoods without jobs, without grocery stores, without good schools and access to education and in some cases, lack of access to even clean water.
Imagine that, not even having clean fucking water for you child to drink. I’m a mother, I can’t imagine that for my precious babies. That’s what is STILL happening in Flint, Michigan – where 57% of the population is black and 42% live below the poverty line.
Today, a large percentage of Black people still live in neighborhoods without access to fresh, healthy food. Without access to a decent education or jobs.
And then we ask – why can’t you just pull yourself up by your bootstraps? We stole their fucking boots.
Cops signed up for a dangerous, potentially life threatening job. It shouldn’t be dangerous and life threatening to simply be black.
Consider that that shitbag Brock Turner got six months for raping a woman because he came from a good family and had a bright future. Black teens have gotten years for minor penalties like petty theft, getting in a schoolhouse brawl and for allegedly stealing a backpack, like Kalief Bowder, who later took his own life because of what he was put through at the hands of the American judicial system.
“But I heard police officers were more likely to be killed by a black person than the other way around.“
Let me be very clear: ya heard wrong.
Candace Owens, right wing pundits and other racists love to tout this false statistic, stating that police officers are more like to be killed by a black person than the other way around.
That is not only 100% inaccurate, it’s insane.
Let’s look at the data.
In 2019, 235 black people were murdered by police. In total, 48 cops died from felonious acts in 2019. There are 42 million black people. There are 687,000 cops in the US (source). Cops have a 0.0069% of being killed from felionius acts (barring accidents, car crashes, etc.). Black people have a 0.00055% shot at being killed by police.
So yes, police officers have a slightly larger change of being killed, but not by black people. By all races. There is no data on the skin color of those who killed police. It doesn’t exist.
Overall, it’s more dangerous to be an agricultural worker, groundskeeper/landscaper, truck driver, garbage collector, pilot or roofer than it is to be a police officer (source).
Does this mean we shouldn’t respect and value the lives of police officers? Absolutely not. It means we should not value the job of police officers more than we value the lives of black people.
Let’s talk about cops for a second.
Police officers, respect them as I may, are not always the law abiding angels so many of us make them out to be. By and large, cops have a license to murder, to intimidate, to steal, to lie, to fabricate evidence to commit domestic violence – all with little to no consequence, and certainly no data to stop things like this from repeatedly happening.
Take for example, The Atlantic’s report on domestic violence within the police force,
“Two studies have found that at least 40 percent of police officer families experience domestic violence, in contrast to 10 percent of families in the general population. A third study of older and more experienced officers found a rate of 24 percent, indicating that domestic violence is two to four times more common among police families than American families in general.”
Imagine that – 40% of police families experience domestic violence. And most receive no formal punishment, they stay on the force without incident. If some police officers are willing to treat their beloved families this way, imagine what they’re willing to do to black people, to people they have been trained to believe are a threat to them.
How many incidents have not been caught on camera, on recordings, on body cam footage? How many people have been brutalized, assaulted, framed, raped and murdered? Where does it end?
There are really good cops. But this is no longer a case of “a few bad apples.” The entire system is rigged against people of color and people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. This has been established time and time again, study after study.
The good cops needs to step outside of that blue wall of silence, join us and demand reform. Instead of increasing police budgets every year, why don’t we reallocate those funds to underserved communities – which would benefit both the police officers and the people in said communities?