The Balitmore riots have added fuel to the already raging fire, reigniting discussions about the issue of racial disparity in the US. There are two undeniable facts; racial inequality is still very prominent in the US and nothing excuses the usage of excessive force by law enforcement. At some point however, we have to think objectively, sometimes it is racial bias but sometimes it really isn’t.
Consider the following: African Americans are nearly three times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be poor, almost six times as likely to be incarcerated, and only half as likely to graduate from college. The average wealth of white households in the United States is 13 times as high as that of black households.
Yes the black man may not be afforded the same opportunities to education, may grow up in disenfranchised neighborhoods and further subject to ‘racial screening’ for employment. That does not ALWAYS equate to ‘he got the job because he is white and I’m black’. It may have been that the white man had a better interview than the African-American or Latino man.
Could it be that when the young African American man makes his first $100,000 it is spent on gold chains and watches? Does it then mean that the question now becomes are our young African American men making wise financial decisions? Why is a young black man or woman growing up in a predominantly black neighborhood frowned upon for speaking standard English or reading? This is by no means a blanket for every situation in America, heck it’s not a blanket scenario for even the majority, but it does beg the question, are we being 100% objective in our thinking?
Now back to my opening statement, the African-American or Latino may have been targeted because of what law enforcement perceived to be suspicious behavior or a considerable threat. Could it be that the ‘issue’ at hand then becomes why our young black men are being arrested 30 times on charges such as assault and grand larceny? why our young black men have criminal records ranging from drug charges, minor crimes and involved in as much as 20 criminal cases? Does any of this sound familiar? Possibly not, because what we hear/read is how much of a saint these men were. The African-American or Non-white Hispanic man can actually be guilty of committing heinous or petty crimes. Mind you, law enforcement pledged an oath to execute their duties without partiality but would there be riots and national conversations about racism had an African-American police officer killed a young unarmed white man? or better yet, another African American? Would the conversation be about racial inequality or police use of force and just that?
In 2013, according to the FBI website, there were 2,491 Black or African-Americans murdered in the US. The race of the offenders were 189 and 2,245 whites and African American respectively. I found that interesting.
Our sometimes clouded judgement can prevent us from identifying the ‘real’ issue at hand.. that is all for now..