I have a teenager to discuss this with, so I’m trying to keep this as simple as possible.
I’m seeing people get lost in the details of the latest death, and I get caught up in it myself, but we need to look at the bigger picture:
Police kill over 1000 people in the U.S. each year.
That is 1000 more than any other country.
235 people killed by police last year were Black.
So about 1 in 4 people killed by police are Black.
But only about 1 in 8 people in the U.S. are Black!
So Black people are twice as likely to be killed by the police*.
And, Black people are more likely to be killed when they aren’t even posing a threat.
Let’s back up. Police need to follow the rules. They need to use reason, and they need probable cause. And even with these, the police should be doing as much as they can to take everyone into custody alive. So they can stand trial. That’s our system.
Police aren’t the judge or executioner. Nor should they be.
And yet our police kill 2-3 people… (nearly) Every Day.
So almost every three days, police kill TWO Black people.
We must look past the latest atrocity.
We don’t have to argue about details to see that the overall picture is bad, that it’s wrong, and incredibly unjust.
If we’re caught up arguing about the details of the latest black death by police, without seeing the larger problem and taking action, then another death happens and we just keep on arguing.
So, what do we do?
If we want justice, we must work for it.
I’ll let you know how discussing this goes. This is basically a draft, so I’m open to suggestions! Could parts be even simpler? More memes? More relevant cultural references? I’d love suggestions!
Discussing this went okay, but was only the start to an ongoing discussion.
If I could do it again, I’d recommend more listening. Kids are going to make up their own mind, and a dialogue is more useful than a tirade. I’ll try that next time.
Some friends have pointed out that the numbers have more to do with Black people having more interactions with police, and therefore being more likely to be killed. Their argument being that the possibility of being killed by the police is the same each time, regardless of race.
I think this speaks more to our racist society, and what is the difference to a Black person?
Being more likely to be pulled over, possibly leading to death, because of the color of one’s skin… yeah, I don’t think that changes the overall problem.
Over-policing that leads to racially unjust death is still systemic racism.
Keep fighting for equality.
*the numbers change by location, so even these numbers are on the low side: Black people are 3-6X as likely to be killed by police.