Wednesday, July 15, 2020

POLICE SHOOTINGS and the RACE FACTOR



The US president caused a stir when he responded to a journalist question about police violence claiming that more white Americans are killed by police than are black Americans (Montanero, 2020).

Is the president right?

The correct answer deals with how you view the available data.

Yes, if you count the  number of people killed by police. But keep reading.

No, if you consider the rate of killing compared to the small percentage of Blacks in the US.

So, what are the facts? (Source = Washington Post July 14, 2020)

Number of people killed by police by race category

Whites 2,499
Blacks 1,301
Hispanic 907
Other 220

Now consider the population sizes in millions
Whites 197
Blacks 42
Hispanic 39
Other 49

Learn more about surveys and statistics


As you can see, Blacks are killed at a far higher rate than are whites, but more Whites are killed than Blacks. Unfortunately, discussions of race have become politicized.

You can see the bar charts at the WP link. Here's what a pie chart looks like when you chart people killed per million.



Also, the focus on police killings creates prejudice against police as a group, which can undermine their effectiveness. Obviously, a healthy society cannot overlook police violence, but it is important to be careful not to stereotype police as violent people.

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