The toll in black lives is why the BLM movement is not worthy of anyone’s respect

By Lorenzo

African-Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be poor than Euro-Americans. African-American males are more than twice as likely to be shot (not necessarily fatally) (pdf) by police than Euro-American males and perhaps 3.5 times more likely to be unarmed and killed by police. Are these results because the colour of their skin or because of the consequences of poverty?

There is no difference between the male rate of death by homicide between Euro-Americans and African-Americans in rural US (pdf). The more urbanised the locality, the greater the disparity in their homicide rates. Is that because of their skin colour, or because of social dynamics in different types of localities?

Obviously, when it comes to death by homicide, locality counts far more than ancestry.

The shooting of Michael Brown, and the riots that followed, in Ferguson in 2014 led to a massive increase in anti-police activism and police pulling back from urban African-American communities. What were the consequences of that?

Source: CDC Leading Cause of Death reports.

Source: Health US 2017, Data Finder, Table 29.

The consequences were thousands of extra deaths, extra violent deaths, as African-American males killed each other in increased numbers. Those lost black lives were many, many times greater than the number of African-Americans killed by police. Especially they were many, many times greater than the number of unarmed African-Americans killed by police.

Is there a problem with police violence in the US? Absolutely, and it affects people, particularly poor people, of all ancestries. It also varies enormously by region, far more than by ancestry of the person killed (or of the police who killed). The way to tackle it is to build a coalition of citizens to have better trained, more accountable police.

For every egregious case of an unarmed African-American man killed by police there is an equivalent case of an unarmed Euro-American man killed by police. The problem is with police procedures, police training, and police accountability.

To turn it into a problem of race is to turn these issues into a posturing falsity, a matter for performative outrage not remotely based on the truth. Effective solution can only come from working what is the case, not posturing falsehoods about what is going on.

Urban African-Americans have reason to be angry with police forces that fail to protect and serve them. The real police failing is all those unsolved homicides (pdf) in those urban localities which lead to more (pdf) homicides. But that is a failure of police to effectively connect with those communities. To have enough detectives, enough forensic services, enough police who know the local area.

The police are not the great danger. The lack of effective policing is what costs thousands of black lives every year.

It is precisely because black lives matter that the BLM movement is not worthy of our respect. For what they do is not based on taking the violent deaths of thousands of African-American males in the cities of the US seriously.


  1. Posted July 2, 2020 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Sorry but I thought the BLM was all about policemen killing black people. not just homicides overall.

  2. Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Not Trampis @1. If the consequences of activism are the police pull back and thousands more African-Americans die, then those black lives should also matter.

  3. Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    You are missing the point.
    The protesters want the police to pull back from
    murdering black people.
    Even the authorities realise this.

  4. PB
    Posted January 4, 2021 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps when Black people pull back from murdering Black, and White people, then the Police may see a need to pull back.

  5. FS
    Posted February 4, 2021 at 3:41 am | Permalink

    If more money is spent on social programs to lift people up instead of spending it on policing that clearly isn’t working, then it can lift these people out of poverty and give them economic opportunity, then maybe there wouldn’t be so many violent crimes. We must fix the problem by looking at the root cause of the issue rather than by trying to overcorrect it with heavy policing.

  6. Posted February 4, 2021 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    [email protected] Hispanic communities have similar levels of poverty, but much lower levels of violence, than African-American communities. Welfare spending up went massively in the 1960s and so did violence. Welfare enables people to live more chaotic lives, which feeds bravado culture.

    It is not “heavy handed” policing that is required, but effective policing. It is not a solution on its own, but unless bravado culture is reduced, progress will not happen.

  7. Barry
    Posted February 27, 2021 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    I want to ask an uncomfortable question.
    Is their situation and problems related to a lower average IQ than European derived people ?
    I have seen a few reports of IQ tests along those lines.
    I notice similar trends in Arabs and Southern Asian Muslims as they have for many thousands of years being marrying their cousins and there are many reports on that subject because of the high numbers of Arab and Muslim children in special schools in the UK.
    Not an easy subject but one that must be addressed.

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