Monday, December 8, 2014

The Problem With Blaming Black Crime for Police Shootings




From Reason Magazine:

When a white cop kills an unarmed black man, many blacks see a pattern of prejudice that generates official suspicion, hostility and abuse based on skin color. Many whites, however, say it's the fault of blacks. If they didn't commit so much crime, they wouldn't get so much attention from police.

This is not just a favorite theme of overt bigots and Internet trolls. It's the view of Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and Republican presidential candidate, and many other whites.

Black-on-black crime "is the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community," he asserted on NBC's Meet the Press. "So why don't (they) cut it down so so many white police officers don't have to be in black areas?"

In this view, African Americans have only themselves to blame for the presence and behavior of cops in their neighborhoods. If they would get serious about cleaning up the problems in their own communities, police would not be arresting or killing so many black people.

There's an element of truth to this line of argument. Violent crime rates are far higher among blacks than among whites and other groups. One reason cops have a disproportionate number of interactions with African-American males is that these men commit a disproportionate number of offenses.

Where the argument fails is in its assumption that blacks are complacent about these realities and that whites are blameless. The gist of the message is that blacks created the problem and blacks need to solve it.

Read complete article here

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