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Can’t deny race disparities

An April 28 Letter to the Editor criticized statements made by University of Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones regarding systemic racism. The letter illustrates the type of disingenuous arguments used to deny the existence of systemic racism in this country.

No evidence that racial animus was involved in the killing of George Floyd? Well, when has a White police officer ever purposely suffocated a White arrestee?

No proof that racism factored into Breonna Taylor’s death? Well, when have White police officers battered down the door of a White person’s abode, fired off 32 rounds in the process, and riddled the unarmed owner with six bullets? Taylor died from being shot, but the police didn’t even graze the other occupant, who fired a single shot in self-defense.

The letter writer also claimed that 92 percent more White people than Black people have died in police shootings since 2015. That’s less than twice as many, but the White population is 4.5 times as big as the Black population in the U.S.

A recent Yale study analyzed U.S. police shooting data collected from 2015 through early 2020. It compared the percentage of the White population killed in police shootings with the percentage of the Black population killed in police shootings.

In a non-racist society, the percentages (rates) should be about equal. However, the study found that Black people were killed by police at 2.6 times the rate of White people. Unarmed Black people were killed at three times the rate of White people. Those findings represent proof of systemic racism.



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