The atrocities of African Americans have become a global concern. The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement sparked by the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis has led to an increased focus on police violence against Black people.
During a CBS News interview, Donald Trump, president of the United States, was asked why Black people were dying at the hands of law enforcement. “So are white people. So are white people. What a terrible question to ask. So are white people. More white people, by the way. More white people,” answered Trump. This response has intensified his rhetoric against the movement in recent weeks. He has only downplayed police violence against Black people. Hence, it becomes crucial to find out if there is any truth in his statement or not.
Matthew Miller, a professor of Health Sciences and Epidemiology at Northeastern University, found that Black people are shot and killed by police at twice the rate that white people are. According to a database maintained by The Washington Post, approximately 1000 people are shot to death by police in the United States every year. Out of which, the majority are white people. This is because white people account for the majority of the U. S. population. The Black people represented only 12 per cent of the total population of states which were studied. However, they made up 25 per cent of the deaths in police shootings.
This indicates that Black people are killed at a rate higher than their proportion to the national population. It was also found that the racial disparity was more pronounced in those cases in which the victims were unarmed and offered minimal or no threat to police.
Trump’s statement was an attempt to mislead the question. He addressed it without identifying the intent or underlying problem. Why police are shooting or killing people, no matter Black or White, is a wider question that needs to be addressed here.