…and that’s the point.
I have a lot of white conservative friends who love to insist “ALL LIVES MATTER!” To which I can only say:
The fact that all lives matter goes without saying really, unless you’re not keen to the idea that murder is a crime and morally incomprehensible.
But I think it’s become obvious that some lives matter more than others.
Let me explain. Statistically speaking, there are an inordinate number of deaths by police action of black people than white. If the percentage of the black people in our country is 12.3%, then one would expect only 12.3% of the victims involving the death of citizens by police officers to be black.
However, according to the incidents reported by police themselves, 26% of all deaths at the hands of officers are black. That is double the amount one would expect, well outside any reasonable margin of error (which could be generously expected to be no more than 2%, yielding around 15% of incidents at most). Put simply, one in four people killed by police are black when only 1 in 8 people in the general population are black.
Strictly numerically speaking, there are more white deaths at the hands of police officers than black people, but that’s because there are more white people. 50% of all police incidents involving death of citizens are of white people, but this too is outside what one would expect when the latest census measures the white population at 62%. Again, the 50% rate is well outside the reasonable margin of error– one would reasonably expect 62 percent of all people killed by law enforcement officers to be 62%.
There are one of two possible explanations for this discrepancy:
- Black people are more likely to be involved in criminal activity by nature.
- There is an inherent, systematic racism at work in the actions of law enforcement officers.
The first of these two explanations is inherently racist itself. That one racial or ethnic group is naturally more inclined to crime and therefore more deserving of potentially lethal treatment under the law is at the very heart beliefs held by the KKK and the Nazi Party.
So, which is it? You can only stand behind one of these arguments. If you are reasonably enough to accept the second explanation– that there is an asymmetric treatment of black and white lives in any situation faced by police, then you can understand why it becomes necessary to remind law enforcement officers in particular that Black Lives should Matter, when they obviously do not as much as white lives do.