The right wing media has attempted to cast the #blacklivesmatter campaign as a liberal conspiracy masking the true nature of black unrest in America. According to the likes of Rich Lowry and other right wing media shills, the attention paid to police brutality and shootings of unarmed black Americans is in fact an attempt to hide black on black crime – mostly because it does not fit the ‘progressive agenda’.
While the musings of old, rich white men might make for provocative copy, it has little to do with the reality of the danger faced by unarmed black people in America. According to an in depth investigation done by the Guardian, black Americans shot by the police “are more than twice as likely to be unarmed when killed during encounters with police as white people.”
Here’s how the Guardian conducted the investigation and analyzed the data:
The findings emerged from a database filled by a five-month study of police fatalities in the US, which calculated that local and state police and federal law enforcement agencies are killing people at twice the rate calculated by the US government’s official public record of police homicides. The database names five people whose names have not been publicly released.
The Guardian’s statistics include deaths after the police use of a Taser, deaths caused by police vehicles and deaths following altercations in police custody, as well as those killed when officers open fire. They reveal that 29% of those killed by police, or 135 people, were black. Sixty-seven, or 14%, were Hispanic/Latino, and 234, or 50%, were white. In total, 102 people who died during encounters with law enforcement in 2015 were unarmed.
What do these statistics prove? That America is still undeniably a racist country that treats African American life as expendable. Despite the relentless attempts by the Bill O’Reillys, Rich Lowrys and Sean Hannitys of the world telling us that African Americans need to take responsibility for themselves, the truth is, the overwhelmingly white authorities need to take responsibility and stop killing unarmed black men.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.