Five Race Issues Everyone Needs to Acknowledge

How ignoring some basic facts exacerbates our country’s race problem.

I remember having to explain to my then three-year-old why the Taliban shot Malala. It was a difficult conversation because he loves Malala, but it was easy to explain why killing is wrong and that the Taliban is evil. The world condemned the Taliban and, thankfully, Malala survived.

So when my now-five-year-old asked me why “they” killed Eric Garner, and why the cop isn’t going to jail, I felt a lump in my throat. How do you explain that to a five-year-old?

How do you explain that at all?

As a father, a lawyer, and an American of color, I find myself analyzing this issue from multiple directions. The reality is that Americans of color have a different experience than white Americans. Exacerbating this race debate is the amount of misinformation that exists, promulgated by those I’ll call “obstructionists.” I won’t use the “r” word to describe them because — as we’ll see below — open racism is not necessarily the issue.

This list is not exhaustive, but if we expect to move forward as a country, here are five issues about race in America we need to acknowledge.

1. America has a prison problem, and race has a lot to do with it.

America comprises 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of the world’s prison population. America has imprisoned more people than China — a nation that has four times our population. Moreover, black Americans receive on average 10 percent longer federal sentences than white Americans for the same crimes. White Americans use drugs five times more than black Americans, yet black Americans receive prison sentences for drug offences at ten times the rate of white Americans. (This and much more data on this lopsided reality is available here.)

Unfortunately, a biased criminal justice system perpetuates America’s race issues. We must return to justice and morality in how we deal with Americans and treat all Americans equally irrespective of skin color.

2. America has a police brutality problem, and race has a lot to do with it.

Americans are eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist. And police kill black teens at 21 times the rate that they kill white teens. With over 400 civilians murdered by police this year, our police force is an anomaly in the world. In fact, the United Nations has now asked the United States to investigate America’s unprecedented cases of police brutality.

The grand jury system also appears to be a mockery when it comes to police. In law school, they teach us that we can “even indict a ham sandwich.” But these days it looks like a ham sandwich is guiltier than the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

The overwhelming majority of our nation’s police serve with honor, compassion, and justice. That doesn’t mean a problem doesn’t exist, and it does us no good to pretend race isn’t a factor. Which brings me to my next point.

3. America has a racism ignorance problem.

A surprising recent Tufts and Harvard study found that white Americans believe they face more discrimination than do black Americans. Perception motivates behavior, and this misperception may help explain why many white Americans appear not to understand why Eric Garner’s murder is more than just an isolated death, but in fact part of a systemic apparatus of racial persecution.

It is worth reflecting on Dr. Martin Luther King’s wisdom: “[T]he Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate.” Too many white Americans refuse to acknowledge a problem exists, or are ignorant to it altogether. That ignorance and obstructionism perpetuates our race problems.

4. America embraces the myth of “black-on-black crime.”

You may have heard something along these lines:

  • 83% of black Americans killed were killed by black Americans, and this number has been as high as 88% as recently as 2012
  • 36% of black Americans killed were women, far higher than other races
  • Black Americans kill black Americans 4.6X they kill white Americans

Now here’s the kicker. All the above data is in reverse. In reality:

  • 83% of white Americans killed were killed by white Americans, and this number has been as high as 88% as recently as 2012
  • 36% of white Americans killed were women, far higher than other races
  • White Americans kill white Americans 4.6 time more than they kill black Americans

If black-on-black crime is an epidemic, then so is white-on-white crime and Latino-on-Latino crime. It is a fact and a reflection of our highly segregated society that the majority of murders in America are intra-racial.

Drop this myth. Stop this ridiculous narrative that black Americans are somehow more violent or more destructive than other races. It is a false, baseless, offensive, and destructive notion.

5. America embraces the myth of “black rioting.”

Violent rioting, looting, and chaos are not acceptable. Such actions harm civilians, destroy businesses, and create more hate.

But rioting has nothing to do with race. One Facebook meme during the Ferguson riots wonderfully summed up the response to the ignorant myth that “only” Black Americans riot: Screenshot 2014-12-04 08.43.33 copy

Black Americans experience ongoing frustration and anger at a system that has historically and contemporarily discriminated against people of color. That is a human emotion, not a “black” emotion.

I still don’t know how I’m going to explain Eric Garner’s death to my 5-year-old. But I hope we can appreciate the above five facts and keep an open mind about working together to resolve these race issues. And I hope when our children become parents, they won’t have to worry about having to explain to their kids why police killed a man on the street and walked free.

Image: New York City protest via Shutterstock.

The opinions in this article belong to the author.

Qasim Rashid
Written by

  • Carol Lowry

    Excellent article. I intend to carry it around with me so I can intelligently counter the ignorance that I too often hear throughout the day.

  • GabriellePrendergast

    #4 is an intentionally obfuscating and basically meaningless use of statistics that you should be ashamed of. You left out the key piece of information required to make a complete analysis which is that black people are victims of murder at nearly FIVE TIMES the average rate (51/100,000 as opposed to 12/100,000) and close to TWENTY TIMES the rate of whites (among those aged 10-24 – rates for older age groups are similarly skewed but not as dire). Criminologists have long maintained that the majority of crime is INTRA-racial. The issue is not the percentage of crimes that are intra-racial but the absolute imbalance between black victims and white victims (six to one). It is a terrible disservice to black victims of violence (no matter the source) to suggest otherwise.

    • Qudsia

      If you had read carefully, he did not present the initial statistic, rather cleared the obfuscation created by the statistics quoted against black people. It was simply an apples to apples comparison. What you quoted about black victims being 5x more numerous than white victims reflects the international phenomenon where there is more crime among those living in poverty compared to those well off, regardless of race. And racial discrimination has a LOT to do with keeping segments of society in poverty.

      • GabriellePrendergast

        I did read carefully and I know the statistic presented is not the real one. In actual fact the “real” statistic is that 91% of Black American murder victims were killed by Black Americans. So compare that the statistic presented about white on white violence and you could also conclude that ‘whites are the most at risk of INTER-racial violence in America’. About 9% of Black murder victims and 17% of whites are killed by someone of another race. Ooooo, scary. Let’s all lock our doors against those scary brown people. Statistics can be used to hide anything or show anything. The statistic quoted in item #4 is an attempt to show that “black on black” violence is not the problem that many people think it is. Well, okay, consider this: if African American teens were twenty times more likely to die from the flu what would you think of someone who tried to make little of that number, tried to hide it, or tried to tell you it was a myth? Myself, I’d punch them in the face.

        If the horrific numbers in murder statistics among Black Americans aren’t real then I’m thrilled, as are, I’m sure, the families of the victims who will expect their loved ones to come home any day now.

        As for the international phenomena of which you speak – only an idiot doesn’t realize that the problems in African American communities can be traced to poverty (though there is poverty among minority groups elsewhere in the Western world and the murder rate doesn’t even approach that in the USA. The USA murder rate is three times what it is in Canada for example. Sensible people blame this on guns). And anyone with an open mind tries to understand how institutionalized and individual racism contributes to intractable poverty. But the post above doesn’t address this issue at all, least of all in item #4.

        The conclusion the writer makes “Stop this ridiculous narrative that black Americans are somehow more violent or more destructive than other races. It is a false, baseless, offensive, and destructive notion.” is itself false if the writer is relying on statistics to back it up. Nearly 50% of American murder victims are black. 91% of the perpetrators in these cases are black. So roughly 45% of murders in the USA are committed by a black person? When they make up 13% of the population? But yeah, there’s no real problem here folks, nothing to see, move along.

        I realize this is an uncomfortable reality. I also realize, unlike a lot of people, that these statistics are the symptom of a larger problem, the root of which is certainly a centuries old racial bias. But denial doesn’t help anyone. The Huff Post think piece that is quoted in #4 is also perpetuating this denial by neglecting to include the actual statistic “Why is Black intraracial violence depicted as some rare Pokémon in crime discussions when it is only slightly more prevalent?” ARGH! Pick up a statistics manual. Percentages don’t tell you actual numbers.

        • Qudsia

          Makes sense.

          • GabriellePrendergast

            Appreciate that. This kind of statistical gaming has been driving me crazy. I personally know or knew several victims of violence – both inter and intra-racial – including two victims of murder. To hide the numbers representing their experiences as a way of making dubious political hay is reprehensible.

          • Qudsia

            I can understand that. I also empathize with the other side though. Numbers can be presented factually but without proper explanations of the various correlating factors, and are often used to build and fuel stereotypes. Perhaps as a reaction there is the tendency to move in the opposite direction, whereas a fact based middle ground would be more productive.

          • GabriellePrendergast

            I can certainly understand that too. The problem is that when you hear two things are that are bullsh*t, the third thing sounds like bullsh*t too (excuse my language). And when it comes to disadvantaged groups the world is very unforgiving of this phenomena. For example each rare incident of a false rape claim (as the Rolling Stone story retraction just in the last few days) sets the entire discussion of rape culture back years. I’m not black so I can’t speak for that group, but as a woman I am so frustrated with the Rolling Stone journalist right now I could smack her. It’s unfair that marginalized groups need to be extra careful with their facts but that’s the way of the world right now. When someone states a “fact” that can be debunked with two google clicks it weakens the whole discussion. This is why I’m also disappointed with Rashid, because the rest of this piece is very much on point .

          • Qudsia

            I felt the main thrust of Rashid’s point was that statistics can be used in distorted ways. To me it seemed a valid argument against the particular use of statistics he was trying to debunk. But then that was all the more reason to mention the discrepancy in numbers that does exist. Hopefully these comments are being read and next time that point will be presented in better context.

        • James

          Spot on, GabriellePrendergast!

  • Ronnie

    “Americans are eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist.”

    Provocative statistic. If one listened to most of American talk radio, one would be under the illusion that terrorists are lurking around every corner and a threat to every American, while the police are our (white) knights in shining armor.

    Don’t get me wrong … terrorists certainly exist and are certainly a threat that must be taken seriously and addressed. Further, most cops (in most places) are decent to great human beings who perform a vital service for the public. That said, let’s put it in perspective, folks.

  • Ed Reed

    Ok now here is what is wrong with your basic premise Qasim:

    The death of Mr. Garner convicted felon with three
    outstanding cases pending and over 30 convictions, with morbid obesity and
    hypertension not to mention asthma died because he refused a lawful order by
    police. There was a senior officer there a Black female sergeant. He would be
    alive today if he had not refused and resisted the officers! While you may
    think the choke hold was extreme you don’t put a gun on to go to work every day
    and face these people. By these people I mean felons with attitude! Did you see him his size? Well I am 6 feet
    and 400lbs and it will take more than a few officers to put me on the ground.
    Only thing is I have never refused an officers request for ID or a search! Why
    you might ask? Well because I never have broken the law and never had a problem
    with police. I have been stopped about 14 times for various reasons never been
    arrested only one time put in handcuffs (a case of mistaken identity released
    in about 40 minutes). Was I upset at the officers… no they were doing what I
    pay them to do their job! Just as the officers in NYC were doing when they
    responded to a compliant from a minority business owner about Mr. Garners
    activities. One of the big problems with all these protesters is none of them
    are tax payers with anything to loose. No job or property because they are on
    public assistance or this other group of protesters the college kids who are
    clueless and live off of their parents!

    Can you site when white Americans last rioted and burned
    down businesses and police cars I can but can you? (Just an FYI Vancouver is in
    Canada not the US) I can site the last 15 times blacks have rioted and destroyed
    businesses in the US! And I am not talking about the riots of the 60’s which I experienced
    first hand and saw the destruction of my home city of Camden, NJ. I am talking
    about just in the past 20 years.

    • Gabby

      First of all, Eric Garner died from an illegal choke hold, if you watch the video he had his hands up and was not resisting arrest at the time. The officer should go on trial because he was using an illegal move which resulted in the death of Garner. This was proven by the medical examiner that asthma was not the cause, it was the choke hold. Although his asthma caused him to loose breathe quicker.

      2. Just because Garner was heavy set does NOT make him a threat. Police officers are trained to handle these situations and people who weigh more than them. There were at least 4 police officers present during the incident with Garner. No excuse for why they felt threatened by an unarmed man regardless of his history.

      3. Many of the protesters (including me) are tax paying citizens with jobs and A LOT to loose, probably more to loose than you. During the protests I’ve met University Professors, politicians, college students, teachers, Mothers, Fathers, and so many more people. (of all races)

      4. I can name three incidents when white people rioted over silliness.
      a. Keene riots of 2014
      b. San Francisco 2012 when the Giants won the World Series
      c. Knoxville Tennessee 2010 when their coach was removed from his position for Sexually abusing children
      And from these few (of many) examples you were only a few clicks away.

      Also, black people have suffered a great much, and from the words of my white colleague, “I am extremely surprised at the amount of resolve that the black community has shown in the past few months and years. I thought you would have burned this country to the ground by now with the way you all are treated.”

      And with that leave these discussions for people who know honestly care to be informed on race in America and not try to shoot down every statement which discusses race in America and the lack of willingness to confront and change the racial tensions here. You are not a POC, you have not lived as one (it doesn’t help if you know one either) it is different living in America as a POC and especially as a black person. To you and other white people reading this, stop trying to make your opinions heard in situations like this if you’re just going to oppose what Black people are saying. We always have to hear what you have to say, listen to us for once with out trying to defend your reasoning.

      Thank you

    • Asher Frost

      Did you see the video? Could you then tell me what kind of resistance it is to put your hands up and not move? There is a video that clearly shows what happened.

    • A P Montague

      San Francisco Giants win 2014 World Series and riots broke out and on and on. Seemingly after any major sports victory (and many times losses), riots (primarily white people) break out and fires, violence and destruction seem to be accepted as “part of the norm”, but when people of color riot, suddenly it’s something altogether different since it’s not sports related. I don’t condone this type of behavior from ANY sector of the population, but I can understand about a minority people “have had enough” and lose their tempers. As a Native American, I know it all too well, but nobody wants to talk about the fact that Natives are even more likely to be killed by police than blacks.

      • Kevin

        Yes!!! Even back in the 1990s after freaking New Hampshire (or maybe it was Vermont) won the Div. 2 college football title game, that campus broke out in riots and the police arrested around 500 kids–mostly white kids. These kinds of things happen whenever there’s a championship of some sort–fueled by alcohol consumption, of course. Sporting events cause more riots than does racism.

      • Gabby

        This so true Native Americans are killed by Police at such a high rate as well!

    • Kevin

      Ed, you’re out of touch with reality, clinging to white supremacy as if it were lifeline. Get over it! White people suck more than you care to acknowledge.

    • AverageJoeSF

      I was in San Francisco when the (mostly white and affluent) Giants fans trashed businesses and burned city vehicles in 2012. I watched them do the exact same thing again in 2014 – both times not because of any perceived injustice, but because their team WON. Black Americans have far more legitimate reasons to be upset with society than do white Americans, but they don’t riot any more often. Your “facts” are incorrect, you assumptions are deeply flawed, and your unsupported assertions of the comparative behavior of black vs white Americans are pitifully transparent.

    • James

      Perfectly said, Ed.

    • LDS150

      Ed Reed is just a tr oll.

    • rlpincus

      Next time watch the video with your eyes open.

  • John Holland

    Great article had many good points. A couple things that were not addressed and apply to all races are how many of the crimes were gang or drug related and the decline of the number of 2 parent families.

  • IDRACULA

    Just tell your kid the truth

  • Jason B

    He forgot one stat concerning problem #4.. Blacks make up 13% of the US population but commit 54% of the murders. Can’t ignore this one all together. Raw numbers don’t tell the whole story. Per captia stats are more telling. Makes the writer guilty of the exact thing he claims is the problem.. Selective data.

    • Joe_the_Troll

      ” Blacks make up 13% of the US population but commit 54% of the murders.”

      What is the origin of this statistic?

      • AverageJoeSF

        Fox News, of course.

    • LDS150

      “I am White and not a racist” – First of all, you don’t capitalize “White” – second, I think you are.

      We are talking about institutionalized racism, not if you “like” your neighbor. Do cops harass you for standing on the corner? Walking by with your hands in your pockets in Detroit in winter?

      And you missed Chris Rocks point entirely, but not surprising.

      • https://twitter.com/matthewmientka Matthew Mientka

        Chris Rock is not exactly an intellectual. But I agree with your point about distinguishing among varying definitions of racism. But you discount anti-white racism too quickly. It exists.

      • Jason B

        The Good thing is.. And this is why I don’t have wrinkles or ulcers.. The good thing is.. I don’t give damn what you think. 🙂

    • LDS150

      From Politifact: “We couldn’t find a single report detailing the nationwide percentage of people who are charged with homicide and are ultimately convicted — let alone a racial breakdown for that question.” Wonder where you got that 54%?

      • Ina Shumaker

        he pulled it out of his a s s

      • GabriellePrendergast

        Consider that 91% of crime committed against African Americans is INTRA-racial. Then consider the horrifying fact that African Americans make up 45-50% of murder VICTIMS in the USA. Then consider that about 8% of crime against whites is committed by African Americans (about 17% overall committed by non-whites so I’m estimating a little less than half by AA) and do the math. The is the Devil’s Arithmetic, no doubt about it. But these ARE facts. I have checked them from a number of sources.

        I’m saddened but not surprised to note that exactly what I predicted would happen to this discussion, because the the erroneous and obfuscating use of statistics (see my comment below) has happened. The whole issue has been called into question with both sides sniping at each other.

    • James

      Well said, Jason B!
      I too was a victim of violence by a *group* Black youth simply because I was White. But you know what everyone? I don’t hate or fear Black people because of that, nor do I hate those who attacked me. I felt *sorry* for them because I could see the pain and fear on their faces because they didn’t know how else to deal with what drove their futile hatred. I was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, and most importantly, I was *alone* -against 12! Were any of the perps alone, you can bet they wouldn’t have risked assaulting me, much less if there were other men with me. Not only that, but they waited until I was walking *away* from them and struck me in the back of my head with a 2×4 with intent to kill me! It was an act of desperation and cowardice. I was almost knocked unconscious and could have died either from that first blow, or striking my head on the sidewalk when I went down, or from the many blows I would have received had I not managed to stay on my feet, turn around, and stand my ground. Fortunately, I had years of training in martial arts and was able to fend them off; but they lost 90% of their nerve over the fact that I didn’t go down like they expected. And when I actually began to fight them off as they came at me in waves, they quickly realized they had made a mistake, and they fled.

      Before the violence ensued, I even tried to reason with them that we didn’t know each other and should have no reason to feel animosity towards the other, but they just wouldn’t hear it. I didn’t want to fight because I didn’t want to hurt them. I saw they were acting in ignorance and pain. I felt sorry for them because I knew attacking me wouldn’t change their situation, and in fact would only likely lead to further trouble down the road for them if their attitude didn’t change.

      There was a beautiful moment though in all of that. Among them was an 8 year old girl who darted out from them to grab my arm and escort me away. Unfortunately, that was when my back was turned, and one of them seized the opportunity like a coward.

      As J.K. Rowling said, “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends.”

      • AverageJoeSF

        What a fantastic story! You must be really super-human, fighting off 12 men by yourself – and after they hit you in the head with a 2×4! Strange, though, that your “years of training in martial arts” let you foolishly turn your back on a confrontation with 12 hostile men, AND somehow magically made your head so tough that a 2×4 hit “with intent to kill” didn’t even weaken you. What a kind soul you are, reasoning with them and understanding their frustration! It almost sounds like a movie!
        But.. are you sure it wasn’t just one eight-year old girl?

        JK Rowling would sneer at your transparent, corny, self-aggrandizing fiction.

  • A P Montague

    I don’t condone this type of behavior from ANY sector of the population, but I can understand about a minority people “have had enough” and lose their tempers. As a Native American, I know it all too well, but nobody wants to talk about the fact that Natives are even more likely to be killed by police than blacks. This fact is completely left out of the stats presented in this article. the main reason it doesn’t get as much publicity is that Natives are vastly outnumbered by every other major ethnic group in this country (blacks number more than 45 million where Natives are approx 1.5 million).

    • AverageJoeSF

      Thanks for sharing your perspective! Many modern Americans generally think of their native populations with admiration, but most people have no awareness of the disgraceful conditions in which many Native Americans really live.

  • http://that1chickk.wordpress.com/ that1chickk

    Excellent analysis. One of the best I’ve read so far. Everyone has a different perspective when you read something. I think he has a good foundation and grasp on the issues.

  • Thomas Robbins

    Most folks in this country know why we have a race problem,it is not because whites don’t like blacks it is because hard working Americans black or white are sick and tired of having to take of people who run around and piss and moan about how BAD there life is and want do anything about it,these folks have the same opportunity as everyone else and if you say they do not then you are full of it,they are raised the same way there parents were and stand there and say they have been cheated,they cheat themselves by getting pregnant at 14 and saying they cant finish school,or commit petty crimes in the name of racism,by the time most people in poverty are 16 they have 2 children on welfare because the father of these kids do not care,and all the mother wants in more free money. As far as Mr.Garner goes it was a sad thing,the police did not know about his medical condition,it is very plane in the video that the man did not want to be arrested,he did not want to show I.D.because he had warrants on him,so with that being said what are the police to do,the store owner had complained about this man affecting his business,are the officers supposed to look over this,no,they have to do there JOB,if you let the patients run the hospital,well you understand.lets say this you believe that crimes that are committed by folks in poverty should be overlooked? And from what i see you have not lived in America long enough to know what the problem is.Why wont someone stand up and tell these folks the truth our, society is set up so anyone can get ahead as long as you are willing to work for it.

    • AverageJoeSF

      Equal opportunity in America is a myth for many people. Yes, most people can generally get ahead with hard work, but to say that black Americans receive equal treatment from the police and the courts is is deluded fantasy.
      White kids get in trouble too, but they don’t face remotely the same consequences when they do. I know this firsthand.
      I understand that you don’t personally dislike black people. If you can’t admit that our society still places them at a heavy disadvantage, however, sorry Thomas, but your stereotypes and your denial are part of the problem.

  • Robert Ledgerwood

    Racism is the culprit. It’s not a black or white issue. It’s a racist issue and their are plenty of those aholes around from all colors. None of my friends of color or of Asian decent are racists and we all get along great and don’t understand why everyone is trying to make this a white on black thing. It’s time to stop blaming each other for our own problems and help our fellow americans to succeed..
    Al Sharpton is a racist and so is half of our Congress. We need to rid our society of those bad influences..

    • AverageJoeSF

      Good luck. Fully half of the country petulantly insists that racism is no longer an issue in America. Even lots of my “liberal” white friends talk about people of color as some kind of noble abstraction, but still lock their doors when they see brown people on the street as they drive through a neighborhood. Our negative stereotypes are deeply ingrained, and we can’t simply get rid of the people who hold them. Anyone who thinks all ethnicities get equal justice in America is deluded. Making the police truly accountable to independent civilian oversight would go a long way toward building trust.

  • James

    Sorry Rashid, but you’re ignoring significant realities here.

    You said that white-on-white crime is as much as black-on-black crime. That’s patently untrue if you look at credible statistics. The only true thing you said on this point is that the majority of murders are intra-racial.

    Then you said:

    “Stop this ridiculous narrative that black Americans are somehow more violent or more destructive than other races. It is a false, baseless, offensive, and destructive notion.”

    Um, sorry, but statistically speaking, it’s not, as any of us can see in the BJS statistics.

    You didn’t address the issue of *compounding factors* in criminal sentencing. There’s a host of reasons that have nothing to do with racism that lead to stiffer sentences for Blacks v. Whites. You said “for the same crime” but where is your source for that? Murders are not all the same. There are so many ways each murder can differ from another in circumstances. You conveniently skated around that.

    The real issue is poverty and lack of education; but scapegoating is infinitely easier. What else is new? You generally see more belligerence towards authorities from the disenfranchised. Belligerent people (deservedly) get more severe treatment by PO’s. Crimes are generally more violent and aggravated by people of low economic status (due to frustration/desperation), thus sentencing is more severe for them.

    Unfortutately, there’s statistically greater poverty and lack of education in the Black Community. This is the basis for the disproportional results we see in our legal system. It’s not about race today as much as the eroding legacy of racism.Things are actually getting better for the Black Community in our legal system though as a direct correlation to the lessening socioeconomic disparity due to the cumulative efforts to improve the socioeconimic condition for African Americans.

    While the actual incidents of Black crime are going down (as well as among all races), reports of racial PO abuse are becoming more common, but not because of actual incidents of abuse, but because of *increased coverage* by media that *alleges* abuse. This paints a skewed picture of what’s actually happening in our society. Racial PO abuse was certainly higher in previous years, but got far less coverage (fewer iPhones). But people make it out to seem like the incidents of abuse are increasing -because that’s what it looks like when there are more stories hitting the media of *fewer* incidents than in the past.

  • https://twitter.com/matthewmientka Matthew Mientka

    Yes, I agree that those figures for black-on-black crime are ridiculous, so let’s forget them. Looking at the same problem from a different direction, we find that the young black man is seven times more likely to murder ANYONE than the young white man. I’ve seen this argument trotted out numerous times the past couple of months, and it’s still a misnomer.

  • Andrew Roling

    Veterans whining about PTSD are just veteran-baiting, playing the “veteran card,” and making stuff up; PTSD is not real. I myself do not have PTSD, so how could any veteran claim to be suffering from PTSD??

    Yes – white people who are willfully ignorant about racism and want to deny its existence really DO sound as fuckin’ stupid and self-centered as the above example I used with veterans and PTSD.

    When black people relate their own personal, real life experiences in their daily life in dealing with racism, instead of infantilizing them by denying the truth of their own personal experiences and basically accusing them of lying, LISTEN to them and engage in a grown up conversation with them.

    It absolutely boggles my mind how a white person who wants to deny the reality of racism, thinks they can try to explain to a black person what it is really like to be black in America. The closest thing that we white people can get to in discussing race and racism, is through sympathy and empathy.

  • Dawn Gonano

    I know what you can tell your child about Eric Garner’s death. He was a repeat offender who was obese and had serious health issues, and he died of a heart attack after resisting arrest. So, this teaches us some important lessons: don’t commit crimes or resist arrest or hit police officers but if you do make sure you are in peak physical shape. Easy.

    Eric Garner is not the poster boy for innocents tragically mistreated by police some would like to make him. And an African American superior officer was there the whole time, so how does this thing have anything to do with racism?

    But of course the author leaves all that out. And other “statistics” in this piece are similarly twisted. Because this article is not really about trying to make race relations better. It’s about perpetuating the idea that all people if color are nothing but victims who are unable to do anything for themselves without the federal government stepping in. Oh yeah, and all white people are meanies.