On Memorial Day, George Floyd died on a city street in Minneapolis. He was handcuffed by police officers and was lying face down with the knee of a police officer on his neck for over 8 minutes, the last two minutes of which he was unresponsive.
Subsequent to Mr. Floyd’s death, protests, riots and lootings have erupted around the country. Everyone has apologized to everyone for everything. Drew Brees, NFL quarterback, apologized for saying that he will never support disrespecting the flag. His wife followed suit with “tears in her eyes” and claimed, “WE ARE THE PROBLEM”. Basketball star LeBron James connected Mr. Floyd’s death to Kaepernick’s kneeling. Basketball announcer Grant Napear was widely decried as racist and fired for tweeting “All lives matter”. Corporations like Uber, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon swiftly modified their banner announcements from “stay home, save lives, wear masks” to “Stand with Black Community”. Hollywood celebrities donated money to bail out rioters. If you decided not to wade into the debate, you are not off the hook as “Silence is Violence”. By now, if you haven’t apologized for being a racist, you are clearly a racist.
The premise behind the protests and rioting is that there is “systemic racism” and police brutality. Let’s examine the facts. The most comprehensive source for data on this topic is the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The BJS conducts a Police-Public Contact Survey (PPCS) every three years. For the year 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, 53 million (or 21%) Americans 16 or older had police contact. Of those contacts, just two percent experienced threats or use of force. As for the racial breakdown, 3% of Blacks experienced threats or use of force. As for police involved killings, in 2018, 399 Whites and 209 Blacks were victims (Source: Statista). Compare that with 2,925 black homicides, 2600 of which were Black-on-Black homicides (Source: FBI) during the same year. While every death is a tragedy, it is important to contextualize: Any unwarranted aggression by a police officer must be fully prosecuted. When you have nearly 700,000 police officers (Source: Statista) and 53 million contacts, the .00001879% of interactions resulting in death is clearly the exception, not the rule. Besides, if Black lives truly matter, shouldn’t the primary focus be on the 2600 deaths and not the 209 deaths?
One final point: Justine Ruszczyk Damond. In July 2017, Justine Damond, a 40-year old unarmed woman, was shot to death by Mohamed Noor, a police officer, in Minneapolis. Mr. Noor was later convicted of third-degree murder. There were no riots, no memorials, no marches. There was no mention in the media of Ms. Damore being a white woman and Mr. Noor being a black Muslim officer, neither should there be. Just like with Mr. Floyd, unwarranted aggression resulted in the loss of life, as simple as that.
Turn the clock forward to the present day. Everyone knows George Floyd as the black man and Derek Chauvin as the white cop. Conveniently, there was no mention of the ethnicity of two other officers at the scene, one of whom was black and the other Asian. While fanning the flames of racial passion helps gain “street cred” for politicians to land multi-million dollar book deals, athletes to sell their $200 shoes, media to out-woke each other on a sensationalist story and Hollywood celebrities to signal virtue, it tears the country apart by pitting one race against another. The America I know is fair to every human being, regardless of race. This is a country where people from everywhere around the world flock to for a bright future, one that is based on equal opportunity. The claim that a large number of Americans are racist is pure nonsense. The data shows no evidence of “systemic racism”, the shameless self-serving propaganda of certain groups notwithstanding.