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The toll in black lives is why the BLM movement is not worthy of anyone’s respect

July 1, 2020 - 15:22 -- Admin

African-Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be poor than Euro-Americans. African-American males are more than twice as likely to be shot (not necessarily fatally) (pdf) by police than Euro-American males and perhaps 3.5 times more likely to be unarmed and killed by police. Are these results because the colour of their skin or because of the consequences of poverty?

There is no difference between the male rate of death by homicide between Euro-Americans and African-Americans in rural US (pdf). The more urbanised the locality, the greater the disparity in their homicide rates. Is that because of their skin colour, or because of social dynamics in different types of localities?

Obviously, when it comes to death by homicide, locality counts far more than ancestry.

The shooting of Michael Brown, and the riots that followed, in Ferguson in 2014 led to a massive increase in anti-police activism and police pulling back from urban African-American communities. What were the consequences of that?

Source: CDC Leading Cause of Death reports.

Source: Health US 2017, Data Finder, Table 29.

The consequences were thousands of extra deaths, extra violent deaths, as African-American males killed each other in increased numbers. Those lost black lives were many, many times greater than the number of African-Americans killed by police. Especially they were many, many times greater than the number of unarmed African-Americans killed by police.

Is there a problem with police violence in the US? Absolutely, and it affects people, particularly poor people, of all ancestries. It also varies enormously by region, far more than by ancestry of the person killed (or of the police who killed). The way to tackle it is to build a coalition of citizens to have better trained, more accountable police.

For every egregious case of an unarmed African-American man killed by police there is an equivalent case of an unarmed Euro-American man killed by police. The problem is with police procedures, police training, and police accountability.

To turn it into a problem of race is to turn these issues into a posturing falsity, a matter for performative outrage not remotely based on the truth. Effective solution can only come from working what is the case, not posturing falsehoods about what is going on.

Urban African-Americans have reason to be angry with police forces that fail to protect and serve them. The real police failing is all those unsolved homicides (pdf) in those urban localities which lead to more (pdf) homicides. But that is a failure of police to effectively connect with those communities. To have enough detectives, enough forensic services, enough police who know the local area.

The police are not the great danger. The lack of effective policing is what costs thousands of black lives every year.

It is precisely because black lives matter that the BLM movement is not worthy of our respect. For what they do is not based on taking the violent deaths of thousands of African-American males in the cities of the US seriously.