There is a contingent of alt-right trolls who patrol the internet, radio shows and public conversations to quickly dismiss any real-world discussion about police brutality, state violence or how society devalues the bodies of black people. Their argument is always the same: Black people commit a disproportionate amount of violence; therefore, black people make up a disproportionate portion of the victims of police violence.
These practitioners of “racialism” (the belief that black people are genetically inferior and predisposed to violence) conveniently ignore evidence that dismantles their theories (like the fact that blacks and whites in the same income brackets commit crime at the same rates, or why unarmed, nonviolent black people are killed at five times the rate of whites). Instead, they chalk up every report and complaint as media bias and liberal sensationalism. According to them, black people have overblown the entire police-brutality issue with fake outrage and unwarranted fear.
Maybe they are right. Maybe all the people of color who have complained about cops since before the existence of cellphone videos, before the advent of 24-hour cable news, pretelevision and even before the invention of radio are all paranoid. Maybe generations of unrelated, disparate black people all have the same coincidental, irrational fear.
Instead of listening to disparate opinions, maybe we should concentrate on numbers. To figure this out, let’s compare police brutality with the numbers associated with some of the most popular white fears and see how they stack up:
Killed by a Terrorist
Every political conversation eventually lands on the premise that Americans (pronounced “wyt pee-pull”) are not safe because of the spread of terrorism. Between the Islamic State group, al-Qaida and any brown-skinned person wearing a hijab, the proverbial American panties are perpetually in a bunch.
So far this year, 197 black men have been killed by police officers, while 50 Americans have been killed by terrorist activity on American soil. In fact, the chances of anyone in the United States dying in a terrorist attack are 1 in 20 million.
If the Caucasian suburbanites get to stay awake at night concerned with Quran-reading bogeymen coming to get them, they can’t complain about us worrying about the boys in blue because mathematically, death by police is far more likely than death by terrorism.
Obama Takes Away Your Gun
According to a 2014 analysis by ProPublica, a black male teen is 21 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than a white male teen. Now let’s compare that number to the perception that the black president is going to abolish the Second Amendment. Here is the likelihood that jack-booted thugs are going to kick down your door and take your guns:
It has never happened; nor will it ever happen. In the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, he has signed only two gun laws. Both of them made it easier for gun owners to carry weapons, and according to a very scientific algorithm devised in a cave 10 million years ago and verified in laboratories at MIT and IBM, 21 is greater than zero.
Raped or Murdered by a Black Man
I challenge you to go to any right-wing blog or website at random and see how far you get before you stumble upon a white man lamenting how black people rape their women (they are really obsessed with the raping white women thing; you should check it out) and then kill them indiscriminately.
Considering that 84 percent of white murders are committed by white people, and white people kill more children and elderly people than any other group, it is statistically irrational for whites to fear black people. Realistically, they should shake in their boots whenever another white person approaches them. I wonder why they don’t? Maybe it is the media. If watching murders of people who look like you is a basis for an irrational fear for white people, why can’t black people feel the same way about cops?
White people are really afraid of “illegal” immigrants, and when they say “illegal” immigrants, they mean Mexicans. They never mention the fact that while an estimated 5.8 million unauthorized Mexicans lived in the U.S. in 2014, 5.3 million illegal immigrants are from other places. Of those 11 million people, an estimated 8 million have jobs. Statistically, the Mexican unemployment rate is lower than the black unemployment rate.
To be fair, many of these jobs are low-paying and require very little training or education, which makes it perplexing why white people think Mexicans are taking all the jobs. Also, the same Bureau of Justice statistics that show poor whites and poor blacks commit crime at the same rate also point out that poor Latinos commit crime at lower rates. So relax, Timmy, no one is in Guadalajara dreaming of crossing the Rio Grande to come take your middle-management position or carjack you for your 2007 Camry.
Lately, in states where white people only want white people to vote, one of the biggest tools in accomplishing this goal is restricting voting rights. As if reducing the number of polling places, decreasing the number of days for early voting and making it harder to vote via mail isn’t enough, their biggest tool is the institution of voter-identification laws. They claim that it helps reduce voter fraud, even though the Washington Post examined 14 years of ballots and found 241 incidents of voter fraud out of 1 billion votes.
During the same period of time, law-enforcement officers shot and killed more than 3,000 men of color. In-person voter fraud is rarer than a black man raping a white woman while a terrorist opens the door for Obama to confiscate their guns. Yet every state below the Mason-Dixon Line has passed stringent voter-ID laws and no laws regulating police oversight.
Vilification of the White Man
This is the ultimate white fear. It is the seed from which all other Caucasian conspiracies germinate. According to them, white people are becoming the enemy. White men are being marginalized by women and people of color. If you believe the people infected with white fright holding on to the tattered remnants of supremacy with white knuckles and an arthritic grip, America has declared war on white, male Christians.
Instead of presenting factual evidence backed up by statistics, I simply realize that any group of people that controls every branch of the federal government, 46 of the 50 state governorships, 99 percent of the banks, 495 of the Fortune 500 companies, every television network, movie company, six of the seven major music companies and every single lawmaking body in the country, but still fears and complains about the decline of the country they control, will never, ever have a rational, fact-based conversation.
Not when they can just shoot you in the face.