It's time for an honest talk about racial violence in America based on the facts and not on the media hype. The overgeneralizations about people based on skin color or ethnicity are not helpful for anyone, whether that person is white, black, Asian, Latino or from any other cultural background.
In an article by Vox.com titled “What we know about who police kill in America,” the narrative presented is one that confirms there must be racial bigotry involved in police shootings of African Americans. But the statistics do not bear this impression out upon closer examination.
For example, Vox reports that there is a disproportionate number of black Americans killed by police in the United States:
In addition, Vox reports that according to the FBI's records, there were 426 “felons killed by police.” The website points out that these statistics are based on “justifiable homicides,” and thus may be incomplete or for various reasons not entirely accurate. (For example, there are police shootings that involve the improper use of excessive force against innocent civilians.)
But these statistics that presumably reveal a disproportionate use of force against black Americans tell only one side of the story.
One video that attempts to put racial violence in perspective is from Bill Whittle and Truth Revolt (video follows below). Whittle states right up front that if Michael Brown was innocent and unjustly shot, that the police officer should be punished and jailed for life. The statistics and the discussion that follow have nothing to do with the particular as-yet-unknown facts of the case.
Whittle believes that the narrative of a violent “war” on blacks being carried out by whites and police officers is not borne out by statistics. A spreadsheet from the FBI backs this up:
As far as homicide data from the FBI, in 2011 there were 3,172 whites killed, 83% by other whites and 14% by blacks. On the other hand, there were 2,695 blacks killed and 91% of these were killed at the hands of other black Americans.
Per the U.S. Census Bureau, whites make up 77.7% of the population, whereas African-Americans make up 13.2%. According to official statistics, there are six times as many white people in America as black people.
So as a matter of objective fact and not opinion, black Americans disproportionately murder more often than white Americans, based on their respective percentages of the U.S. population.
Whittle supports his assertions with several points:
- According the National Crime Victimization Survey, an estimated 62,593 blacks were the victims of white violence, and 320,082 whites were the victims of black violence
- Given the disparity in population, blacks attack whites at a level that is 25 times more frequently than vice versa
Before drawing his conclusion, Whittle again reiterates: None of these statistics would justify Michael Brown's murder - and if it is found that he was murdered, the police officer responsible must pay for that. Here is his provocative video presentation of his views:
One doesn't have to agree with Whittle's verbiage to grasp his deeper point: Facts and statistics are often cherry-picked to present a “narrative” that all white people are racist and all blacks are victimized by whites. These statistics suggest this is a biased view that serves only to exacerbate racial tensions.
Human beings should be presumed innocent until proven guilty and should not be lumped into categories that make them appear guilty of committing some crime that in many cases they had nothing to do with.
Editor's note: This article was edited for content after publication.