Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A handy list of white victims of police abuse

The updated list is included here: I’m white and I got “the talk” about cops — every kid needs it

This is the original introduction to the list:

When Dylann Roof was arrested alive after murdering nine black church-goers in Charleston, SC, Traci Blackmon wrote:
Good thing he wasn't suspected of stealing a cigarillo...
Or picking up a toy gun in Walmart.
Or playing on a swing with his toy gun.
Or playing his music too loud.
Or running away from cops.
Or selling cigarettes on a corner.
Or driving in the wrong neighborhood.
Good thing his crime was killing 9 people in a prayer meeting.
...otherwise, he might be in a morgue instead of custody.
Blackmon alludes mostly to black people killed by the police (Michael Brown, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Eric Garner). Why she includes Jordan Davis, I'm not sure—Davis's killer was not a cop—and who she's referring to with "driving in the wrong neighborhood" I don't know either—Google tells of many people killed after driving into the "wrong neighborhood", and those examples include white people who drove into black neighborhoods. But Blackmon's general point is clear: she thinks that if Roof had been black, he would not have been taken alive.
She overlooks the obvious analogy, the duo known as the Beltway Sniper. Like Dylann Roof, John Allen Muhammad and  Lee Malvo targeted people of another race because they had been taught to understand power primarily in racial terms—Muhammad was a member of the US cult, the Nation of Islam. When they were captured, Muhammad and Malvo, like Roof, were taken into custody.
Blackmon may not mention them because they don't fit the #BlackLivesMatter narrative that police killings are primarily a matter of race. But The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded that US police killed 1,130 black people and 2,151 white people between 1999 and 2011. If that data is accurate, the police kill twice as many white people.

And this is the original conclusion:

To race reductionists, statistics matter more than lives, so white victims are irrelevant. They focus on the fact everyone knows: if police killings were racially proportionate in a country where 77.7% of the population is white and 13.2 % is black, there would be six times as many white victims. But race is only the public face of police abuse. Candace McCoy, a criminologist at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said, "Felony crime is highly correlated with poverty, and race continues to be highly correlated with poverty in the USA." In “The Crime of Being Poor”, Paul Wright wrote, “White prisoners tend to share one thing with their black and Hispanic compatriots: poverty. Most prisoners report incomes of less than $8,000 a year in the year prior to coming to prison. A majority were unemployed at the time of their arrest.”
Here are the hard numbers on poverty in the US, from Poverty Rate by Race/Ethnicity:
LocationWhiteBlackHispanicOtherTotal
United States19,027,40010,312,40012,853,1003,555,50045,748,400
While correlation is not causation, the fact that twice as many police victims are white and that fact that twice as many white people live in poverty suggests that police killings may actually be racially proportionate—not to the racial mix of the entire US, but to the racial mix of America’s poor.

ETA: The two-to-one ratio continues today, according to The Counted: people killed by police in the United States in 2015:

 

ETA: See comments for additions by readers.

ETA: The 2-1 ration is also at Investigation: Police shootings - Washington Post:

ETA: Why #BlackLivesMatter should be #PoorLivesMatter

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