Dear Mr. or Mrs.President,
A headline reads “UNARMED BLACK MALE KILLED BY LOUISIANA POLICE”. I reach for it, unsurprised, and preparing myself for the somber details, but this time it’s different. This time it’s not a man whose family I can only sympathize with. It’s not a man that leaves me wondering about the loved ones he left behind. This time it’s a picture of a person I’m all too familiar with. It’s a name I learned before I was potty trained and a story behind every laugh we shared. This time it’s mine, yours, and every black child’s father. This headline reads clearer than any that preceded it. This is the story of the young brother, the hard working father, and the student with a football scholarship. We read these stories forgetting that they could happen to anyone that meets one qualification; all you have to do is be black. Occasionally, upon hearing this, some will respond:
“But aren’t more white people killed by police than black people?”
Yes. Statistics show that there are indeed more white people killed annually by police than black people. This sole undeniable fact could be the one to finally put this debate to rest, if the amount of white people in America wasn’t almost five times greater than that of blacks. Taking that into account, if we were truly equal and equally as likely to be targeted by police, the amount of white people killed per year would be almost five times greater than that of blacks because of their population. But the fact of the matter is white people make up “62 percent of the population and 49 percent” of victims of police shootings (Bandler). African Americans “account for 24 percent of those” killed by the police “despite being just 13 percent of the U.S. population” (Washington Post) That means black Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be shot.
Now, just consider this, if equality actually applied to this situation there is no way that the percent of blacks killed by police could surpass the percent of the population they make up. Yet what the facts show is that that is the case. To put it simply, in an equal society the percent of people killed would resemble the percent of the population they make up. We wouldn’t have to fear our brothers being next. We wouldn’t be met with an overwhelming fear each time we passed a badge or the need to be more cautious than our fairer skinned counterpart. We would feel safety from those who are meant to protect us.
Sincerely, The 13 percent
"Aren't More White People than Black People Killed by Police? Yes, but No."Washington Post.
The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2016.
Bandler, Aaron. "5 Statistics You Need To Know About Cops Killing Blacks."Daily Wire. N.p.
,07 July 2016. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.