All reasonable and informed people know that the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” refrain Is best described as one of the creation myths of the Black Lives Matter movement. What about the argument that has grown the movement to the point at which seemingly every Democrat supports it? Are African Americans being gunned down by police is vastly disproportionate numbers and is the explanation for this white racism? Statistics prove the answer is no.
The Washington Post maintains an online database of people in America who have been shot and killed by police in 2016. As of the morning on September 23, 2016, 173 of 707 total deaths have been African American. This means that 24% of those who lost their lives are black. African Americans constitute 13% of the U.S. population. The 24% figure therefore cannot be considered vastly disproportionate.
How can we account for the 11% differential. Is white racism to blame? FBI crime statistics prove that African Americans commit well 50% of serious crime in the nation. (Here we have a true vastly disproportionate number.) Since blacks represent only 13% of the populace, it means there is a great deal of per capita criminality in the African American community. Since people who commit crimes have more encounters with police, and therefore a greater chance of being shot by the police, the 24% figure actually seems lower than what one would expect.
Law enforcement is, of course, well aware that crime is rampant in many African American dominated neighborhoods. It is as a consequence that police presence in such neighborhoods is much higher than in many areas in which blacks are in the minority. A large number of police patrolling African American neighborhoods means more interactions between blacks and police and is another reason for there to be an increased chance of blacks being shot by the police. This is another fact that moves one to see the 24% number as surprisingly small.
Another explanation for the 11% is cultural. Even a cursory examination of video evidence available on the Web uncovers the fact that a significant percentage of black Americans do not seem to realize that it is against the law to disobey a lawful order from a police officer. To few African Americans appear to understand that they must comply with any directive issued by a police officer as along as doing so does not force them to break the law and the failure to do so immediately makes them guilty of disorderly conduct and subject to lawful arrest. Rather than comply with police officers instructions, blacks many times adopt a combative attitude in encounters with law enforcement officers. If one goes looking for a fight with a policeman or policewoman she or he is likely to find it. Serious conflicts can easily turn violent and any violent confrontation with law enforcement has the potential to turn into a deadly shooting.
In both total number killed and percentage of the whole, the numbers for African Americans of those shot and killed by police so far this year represents an improvement over last year. Yet Black Lives Matter activists continue to tell us that blacks are being “hunted down” by police and are justifiably afraid to walk down the street. Rhetoric like that spouted by the Black Lives Matter movement, which reflects the belief erroneous that most police are racists and out to get them, only serves to fuel the hostility African Americans feel and express toward law enforcement and therefore puts blacks at a greater risk of being shot by police. If the members of the Black Lives Matter movement truly cared about black lives, they would be concentrating their efforts on reforming the African American community in such a way as to make it more law abiding, raise public awareness within the community about the legal obligation to comply with the directives of police officers and combat the fallacious narrative that police are the enemies of African Americans.
If you found this post interesting you will also want to read: “A White American’s Response to Actor Jesse Williams’ Racist and Nonsensical Speech About Race at the BET Awards.”
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