Posted on September 24, 2020

Blue Truth Matters

Heather Mac Donald, The American Mind, September 21, 2020

The Black Lives Matter movement trades on Americans’ ignorance about the demographics of criminal offending. {snip}

Activists and their media enablers present racial disparities in police activity—be it stops, arrests, or officer use of force—as prima facie evidence of police bias. They generate those racial disparities by comparing policing data to population ratios.

In New York City, for example, a little over 50% of all pedestrian stops conducted by the New York Police Department have a black subject. But blacks are slightly less than a quarter of the city’s population. Voilà! Proof of racism, declare the mainstream mediaDemocratic politicians, and virtually the entirety of academia.

Census data is the wrong benchmark for evaluating police behavior, however. The proper benchmark is crime rates {snip}

Blacks in New York City commit over 70% of all drive-by shootings, according to the victims of, and witnesses to, those shootings, who are overwhelmingly minority themselves. Add Hispanic shootings to black shootings and you account for nearly 100% of all shootings in New York City. {snip}

Such disparities exist in every American city. In Chicago, blacks commit about 80% of all shootings and murders, and whites less than 2%, though both blacks and whites are each a little less than a third of the population. {snip}

Officers cannot use their lawful powers of enforcement, in other words, without having a disparate impact on blacks, since blacks commit the lion’s share of violent street crime. {snip}

{snip} Blacks resist arrest at four times the rate of whites, according to one study; a decade’s worth of data show that black males make up over 40% of all cop-killers, though they are 6% of the national population.

The press touts the fact that blacks are two and a half times more likely to be fatally shot by the police than whites. Predictably, that favored statistic uses the irrelevant population benchmark. Substitute a homicide benchmark, and the ratio reverses. When homicide rates are taken into account, whites are three times more likely than blacks to be fatally shot by an officer.


Most police departments make it difficult, if not impossible, to get racial data on criminal offending. {snip}

To counter the anti-cop narrative, public officials should require police and sheriff’s departments to publicize criminal offending and victimization data. {snip}


To test the broader narrative that blacks are under lethal threat from generalized white supremacy, police departments should publish data on interracial victimization, comparing black-on-white with white-on-black crime. Nationally, blacks commit 88% of all interracial victimization between blacks and whites, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. {snip}