The Truth Behind Police Brutality
Racial profiling and police brutality in America is viewed right now as an old issue that has resurfaced with a little extra kick to it; however statistics prove that the claims made by the media and protesters are in fact wrong. The “Black Lives Matter Movement” has taken the country by storm being the reason for countless protests and violence. A belief in America is that police and other forms of law officials racially profile individuals, in turn leading to unfair treatment and sometimes death. Claims have been made by countless media outlets and leaders of such groups like BLM that right now is the worst time to be a regular everyday African American citizen. Although, when we look at statistical evidence it is clear that those claims are misconceptions. With an issue involving crime, race, and death it is easy to point fingers at who is wrong and who is right, but the best way to solve the issue is to examine the broader picture. We must look at all outside factors that may give reasoning for a common misconception. The news and social media paint their own picture for us to be interested and play their games. The media cannot always be trusted. Evidence proves that in fact African Americans being targeted by police.
Police brutality is falsely represented in media and therefore gives officers a bad reputation. Statistics show that police brutality in retrospect to racial profiling actually has very minimal correlation to each other. Racial profiling and police brutality has been an issue for all races for decades. In the last couple of years we have seen a large spike in coverage about this issue, specifically with the African American community. Race tensions have always been around and made out to be something larger than what it is, however modern day social media and the internet have made it much easier and more accessible to everyone around the world. When we begin to scroll through social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook we are bound to see a story involving race. Most recently the main stories involving race have also been involving police and shootings. Therefore, naturally as human beings we will begin to sympathize with these individuals and believe people of their culture may possibly be getting targeted. The truth however is these people aren’t getting racially profiled. The media loves to stir things up in the public to create more stories to cover. When we look at the definition of racial profiling it is said to be, “the discriminatory practice by law enforcement officials of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on the individual’s race, ethnicity, religion or national origin.” The definition proposes the argument that officers arrest or kill certain citizens purely based off of the color of their skin or beliefs. However, we can’t jump right to conclusions without looking at the evidence and a larger cultural issue we have at hand. Think of it this way, yes most police departments are dominantly Caucasian with a small percentage being another ethnic group. Although, then look at the areas with the most crime and you get a dominantly African American community. Therefore it is hard to say an officer that is white is always racially profiling a certain group when that group makes up the majority of the crime in your area. When we begin to look deeper into the arrests and killings involved with police officers some interesting statistics show up. First, let’s look at where the common everyday African American citizen lives. According to pbs.org, since 1999 it has been recorded that close to 70 percent of black families or individuals live in the cities or inner-ring suburbs of America. Next, when we begin to look at crime rate in America we find out that most of the United States crime takes place in the Cities of the United States. According to the “New Observer” the worst murder rates take place in Detroit , New Orleans, Newark, St. Louis, and Baltimore; these all being majority black communities at an average of 62%. Crime has been rising for years and even in the past year crimes such as homicides, rapes, assaults and shootings has substantially grown. So naturally when more felony’s are committed in an area it’s safe to say law enforcement will appear in those areas. The officers will be on higher alert and will most likely engage in more action if crime has risen. In an article written by the National Review they used statistics from the Post that said American police had fatally shot 965 people in 2015, 564 of those killed were armed with a gun, 281 were armed with another weapon, and 90 were unarmed. This means that 70% plus cases involving fatal shootings are after an officer is put into danger, defending himself or defending someone else. Unfortunately, these communities with high crime rates tend to reside in the inner-city. The most dominate race in inner-cities happens to be African American and Latinos. According to pbs.org “Across the nation, four out of five whites live outside of the cities and 86% of whites live in neighborhoods where minorities make up less than 1% of the population.” In contrast, 70% of Blacks and Latinos live in the cities or inner-ring suburbs.” With these factors connecting one another we can see now why it seems to be that more and more African American men and women as well as Latinos are being arrested more often. A major misconception is that African American men are fatally shot the most, when in fact only 4% of all fatal shootings performed by officers each year are on African American males. And the reason mostly black males are fatally shot is simply because general areas with large black populations tend to have high crime/death rates. In the National Review article written by David French, he said blacks “commit homicide at close to eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined….among males between the ages of 14 and 17, the interracial homicide commission gap is nearly tenfold.” French went on to say “In 2014, for example, while black Americans constituted only about 13 percent of the population, they represented a majority of the homicide and robbery arrests. 82 percent of all gun deaths in the black community are from homicide. For whites, 77 percent of gun deaths are suicides.” Therefore, it is fair to agree that cops aren’t trying to racially profile anyone; they are in fact doing their job. The most interesting fact that comes up is actually in the arrests themselves. Even though these communities are dominantly African American, statistics presented by the FBI say, “In 2013, 68.9 percent of all individuals arrested were “white,” 28.3 percent were black, and 2.9 percent were of other races.” Furthermore, the FBI report claimed, “white” individuals were arrested more often for violent crimes than individuals of any other race and accounted for 58.4 percent of those arrests. The article goes on to say that whites account for the most juveniles as well. Although, even with statistics proving that cops are simply just doing their job and trying to protect the non-vigilantes; black communities are still in an uproar over the death toll. Thus, movements such as “Black Lives Matter,” have stemmed from this. The protests have progressively gotten more violent. Law enforcement is now under attack, the best example coming from the protest in Texas where six cops were fatally shot.
A main issue however that is always brought up last is that these statistics may be true, but why is there so much crime to begin with inside the inner cities? The real answer stems from poverty and gross income for individuals living in those areas. On the website Definitions.com they define Gentrification as a trend in urban neighborhoods, which results in increased property values and the displacing of lower-income families and small businesses. The reason this method is controversial is that it essentially puts all the poor people together, thus making new opportunities harder and keeping them in poverty. When anyone is desperate to make money we tend to make questionable choices to help our families and ourselves. Therefore, crimes in those areas are more prevalent. The magnitude of the overall issue in America today has to do with much more than race. But the main topic of conversation is always race and that falls on the media.
The media loves to cover stories involving race. The perception of the public is highly influenced by the media. If the media is always showing the wrong from officers or stories involving a white cop and a black criminal, of course the public will grow a perception of racist police officers. Public perception is everything. This was imminent in the financial crisis of 2008. The public perception began to dwindle as more media coverage bashed the banks for losing money. People began to get scared and pulled out of their shares out of pure fear presented by negative coverage. According to Salvatore Colleluori and Daniel Angster, over 70 percent of crime coverage is based around African American arrests or killings. Like the famous actor Morgan Freeman said in an interview on 60 Minutes, “the reason there is still racism is because we keep talking about it.” Think about that, if we simply stop talking about racism it will slowly go away. African Americans have the same rights as whites; they are recognized as everyday citizens. This doesn’t mean there isn’t racism in the world, but we need to stop blaming a group of people based off an incident by one person. Cops are there to do their job and not to start race tensions. People make individual choices to break the law it has nothing to do with race. A white man is just as dangerous as a black man and we should still understand that. We should also understand law enforcement is here to protect us. Not everyone is a criminal and if we simply listen to the law no one will be a criminal.
- French, David. “The Numbers Are In: Black Lives Matter Is Wrong about Police.” National Review. National Review, 28 Jan. 2016. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.
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