Sometimes I hear a statistic that rocks me to the core and when it comes from statistical wonder boy, Nate Silver, and it becomes doubly depressing.
According to Silver, the man who most accurately predicts elections with his FiveThirtyEight blog, being black in America is a dangerous as living in Somalia or in several other war torn countries. For white people, though, the murder rate is about the equivalent of Finland, Chile or Israel.
According to Silver:
Black Americans are almost eight times as likely as white ones to be homicide victims, in other words.
So for white Americans, the homicide death rate is not so much of an outlier. It’s only modestly higher than in Finland, Belgium or Greece, for instance, and lower than in Chile or Latvia.
In fact, an equivalent homicide rate to the rate of black Americans can’t be found in any industrialized country.
Instead, you’d have to look toward developing countries such as Mexico (22.0), Brazil (23.6), Nigeria (20.0), Rwanda (23.1) or Myanmar (15.2) to find a comparable rate.
Now, before the trolls begin to say “but that’s because they’re killing each other,” that’s true, to a point, but white people kill white people. Murderers tend to kill people they know and we are still a disturbingly segregated country.
That aside, just from a criminal justice perspective, black people are far more likely to be killed by police than are white people. Annually, more than four times more black people (per capita) are killed while in police custody than white people. Black people are also more than twice as likely to be unarmed when they are killed by police.
When people on the right object to the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, they are ignoring the fact that white lives already matter and that can be proven by the homicide statistics in this country. We need to start seeing black people as individual human beings. When a black person commits a crime, it’s not an indictment on the entire race, anymore than Dylann Roof is representative of all white people. Could you imagine walking out of your home to go to work every day knowing that you’re eight times more likely to be murdered than your white coworkers are?
Featured image via Wikimedia.