While writing the last post, I was about to insert a sentence about the Tagesthemen news broadcast aired last Thursday between the first and secocnd half of the Germany-France soccer match. However, I couldn't find it in time.
But now I have!
As I watched the news segment about the recent killings of two black men by police, I practically did a spit-take when the voice-over narration stated (here (g) at about 7:00) that "black men are 9 times more likely to be shot by police than whites". As the last post shows, that certainly can't be right. Yet it was broadcast to something like 30 million (g) Germans, most of whom surely swallowed it like the credulous lemmings they are.
The assertion in the German TV news was probably based on this Guardian article, which notes that young black males were nine times more likely to be shot by police than other population groups. But that statement is completely meaningless on its own, unless you live in a world in which 75-year-old grandmothers are as likely to commit rape, armed robbery, or assault as 21-year-old men. (If you do, you have my condolences).
Why might it be the case that young black males are more often the target of police violence? If you guessed that one reason might be that they commit more crimes, you are right. Here is a graph from The Color of Crime, a survey published by a nativist-conservative website in the US (As with all websites, I don't endorse everything you might find there, but I have never seen a critique of this report as inaccurate):
Blacks make up 13% of the population, but nationwide account for approximately 50% of murder suspects and convicted murderers. That is, they commit murder at a rate almost four times higher than their representation in the population. And the comparison with arrest rates in other racial groups is shown by the chart above. In New York City, blacks were arrested for murder at a rate 30.9 times higher than whites.
Not 30.9 percent higher, 30.9 times higher.
Even if you attributed 2/3 of this disparity solely to biased policing, multiple arrests, arrests which didn't result in conviction, etc. (absurdly unlikely, given that murders universally have the highest clearance rates and the most reliable convictions of all crimes), there would still be a staggering racial disparity. And the disparity in shootings -- unlawfully firing a gun -- is almost 100 times.
The racial disparity in criminal offending varies from region to region, and it is smaller than New York's in many regions. But it is very large -- a matter of multiples, not percents -- everywhere in the USA. And everywhere measurements are made, young black males top the list of social groups most likely to commit violent crimes.
Anyone who discusses biased policing in the USA without mentioning these uncomfortable facts is playing you for a sucker.