Today's lesson, Racism. If you see something written here that you’ve said or done, use it as an opportunity. Take it as a wake up call and make the decision to grow, change and be conscious of your own privilege. Remember, I am not a speaker for the entirety of a people. Use this blog as a reference tool, not as the one and only view on the topic.
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I hear this quite often. It never fails that when it’s proven that the police have targeted Black people, someone always pipes up with this line. Let’s see for ourselves. (Source)
First things first, do the police really treat Black people differently?
Stopped drivers who were searched by police (Table 14) WHITE:
Stopped drivers who were searched by police (Table 14) BLACK:
Quite the difference, don’t you think? Black people are searched 3 to 4 times more frequently. Let me repeat that for the hard of hearing, BLACK PEOPLE ARE SEARCHED THREE TO FOUR TIMES MORE FREQUENTLY.
Contact with police in which force was used. In this case, we are looking at force being used by the police, toward the resident. (Table 18)
Force used toward white residence:
Force used toward Black residence:
What we see here is that police are consistently using force THREE TIMES as often on Black residence. Hey, I know what you’re thinking. Maybe the Black people deserved it. That is what this is all about, right? Maybe Black people are in fact, committing more crimes and this is just a numbers game. Except, there are numbers for that too. Where to start? How about with who has the most police contact. Just so we’re clear, “Contact” is not calling the police for help. It is either being stopped while driving, being apprehended or in some other form being held by the police.
Contact with the police (Table 5) WHITE:
Contact with police (Table 5) BLACK:
Remember, these are percentages not the total number of people in contact. The question here is, if white people are committing more crime or at the very least, have a higher “Contact” rate, why are Black people painted as the criminals? We’ve got a ways to go so I’ll let you think on that while I get to the next part.
The thing about the above stats is that they are an average of the total number of “Contacts” people had with the police. When we go a little deeper, well…you racists might want to stop reading now. (FYI-Police “Contacts” were broken up into face-to-face and without face-to-face contact. Without, would have meant being questioned over the phone or ticketed through the mail.)
Residents with face-to-face contact (Table 6) WHITE:
Residents with face-to-face contact (Table 6) BLACK:
I think that can go without any real commentary, yes?
Enforcement action taken during traffic stops (Table 13). This one was pretty interesting as well. Those ticketed, issued a written warning and even allowed to proceed with no enforcement were all fairly similar in numbers. The two that were not similar were very telling.
Given a verbal warning:
Okay so Black people commit less…well, let me word this properly. Black people have less “Contact” with the police but consistently receive more force, more traffic stops and more searches. Even WITH all the “Extra” traps that Black people have to deal with, our rates are STILL lower. Yet, we are the criminals? We are the animals? I won’t point out that the errors report shows that Black people are FIVE TIMES more likely to have that force be unwarranted. Yep, that is ON RECORD. I also won’t point out that the searches Black people are so prone to, have an alarmingly high rate of…oh what’s that word? Unlawful search. Without permission and with zero findings. Interesting stuff. Statistics are fun. No, not fun…heartbreaking.