America Self-Flagellates to Atone for Phantom Social Injustice
According to the going narrative, the video of George Floyd being strangled while in police custody was a tipping point that exposed a deeply rooted societal issue of racism against black Americans. This underlying issue apparently becomes manifest as violence by white people, and particularly by the police, who are actively "hunting" black people, as LeBron James suggests.
Floyd's death, we are led to believe, set off a shockwave of mass thievery, violence, and destruction in cities across America, a reaction that many progressive apologists are attempting to justify as "the voice of the unheard" when it comes to addressing racial violence in our society.
Despite the fact that this narrative has become common belief, it requires countless illogical contortions to conclude that it's true. Let's document how someone must arrive at that conclusion.
The first leap of faith requires an assumption that Derek Chauvin and the other officers involved were arresting and unreasonably assaulting George Floyd because he was a black man. There is plenty of evidence that Chauvin was a bad cop, but there is little evidence that Floyd's race was the officers' motivation for their crime against him, much less evidence that there was an intent by any of them to murder Floyd. However, the images of a white cop assaulting a black suspect are meant to serve as a substitute for evidence currently supporting the narrative, and we're meant to buy it wholesale.
Once you've firmly concluded that Chauvin must have been "hunting" Floyd in order to commit violence against him because he was a black man, you have to take the second leap of faith. This requires the acceptance of the doctrine peddled by Black Lives Matter movement since the fake "Hand Up, Don't Shoot!" narrative began after the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. That is, you have to believe that there is an epidemic of cops killing unarmed black men and that George Floyd is a symptom of that larger societal issue.
That claim falls apart under the simplest scrutiny. As Elliot Kaufman of the Wall Street Journal reports: "Why do we pretend there is an epidemic of U.S. police killing unarmed black people? Only nine such shootings and 19 of unarmed whites in 2019."
That might be shocking to someone who'd been devoutly imbibing the Black Lives Matter dogma these past years. But should this revelation cause you to question the narrative, there's an explanation for it, which is leap of faith number three — those statistics don't take into account demographic proportions among the population. Blacks constitute only 13 percent of the population, while whites constitute 72 percent. This is meant to signify that, relative to societal representation, unarmed blacks are killed at a higher rate than whites.
In sum, what we should be looking at, the promoters of the narrative say, is the total number of blacks killed by police officers relative to demographic representation. A common statistic cited is the total rate of fatal police shootings, which, between 2015 and June 2020, stands at 30 per million of the black population and only 12 per million of the white population.
This, naturally, leads us toward addressing the question with proportionality in mind. Providing verifiable citations to support his claim, Leonydus Johnson offers on Twitter:
For every 10,000 black people arrested for violent crime, 3 are killed
For every 10,000 white people arrested for violent crime, 4 are killed
I'm going to keep tweeting this until someone can explain to me how this is possible if there is truly pervasive racial bias in policing
As Johnson tells his countless detractors (the fact that Johnson is a black man undoubtedly exacerbated the backlash), "when you control for violent crime rate, the disparity vanishes. That means that whatever disparity exists in total pop[ulation] or total arrests is not due to race."
The logical conclusion suggested by these data is that disproportionately more blacks are arrested for violent crime than are whites, and that is because blacks commit violent crime at a higher rate. At this point, progressive race-hustlers demand that if you don't take leap of faith number four, you'll forever be labeled a racist.
Leap of faith number four is believing that blacks are arrested more often for violent crimes not because they are actually committing more violent crimes, but because our racist justice system is uniquely focused on arresting and incarcerating blacks for violent crimes because of systemic racism.
Let's examine a bit of evidence on the rate of violent crime among blacks and whites. As Heather Mac Donald observes:
Between 2012 and 2015, blacks committed 85.5 percent of all black-white interracial violent victimizations (excluding interracial homicide, which is also disproportionately black-on-white). That works out to 540,360 felonious assaults on whites. Whites committed 14.4 percent of all interracial violent victimization, or 91,470 felonious assaults on blacks.
That's more than a rounding error in the data, to say the least. This indicates a trend in race relations that is unmistakable, however impolite it may be to notice it.
Now, let's review all that you have to blindly accept as truth to believe that George Floyd's horrible death was the spark that ignited a festering rage about a racist status quo in America that glosses over all the violence that black Americans suffer at the hands of white Americans. First, you have to believe that Derek Chauvin acted on a racist impulse, an assumption for which there is little or no evidence. Second, you have to believe that Floyd's death is a symptom of an epidemic of unarmed black Americans being killed by police, though that contention is thoroughly refuted by numbers. Third, you have to accept that blacks are disproportionately killed by police, despite evidence that any disproportionality in police killings of white and black Americans disappears when you control for violent crime rate. Finally, you have to presume that black Americans are epidemically at risk of becoming the victims of violent crime at the hands of racist white Americans, when the data prove beyond all doubt that the opposite is much nearer to the truth.
That's a complex set of beliefs predicated on very little substantial evidence. But it's believed with religious zeal anyway. As the great economist Thomas Sowell has observed:
Some things are believed because they are demonstrably true, but many other things are believed simply because they have been asserted repeatedly and repetition has been accepted as substitute for evidence.
This narrative, a vicious and dangerous lie, does not enjoy much evidence supporting it, but it certainly enjoys repetition, and a cultural priesthood is demanding signs of faithfulness among American institutions. Consider that Major League Baseball is now being criticized for being too slow in publicly showing support for the Black Lives Matter lies, thus supporting the cultural acceptance of the narrative. The NFL has now apologized, saying that it was wrong about the player protests. Apparently, George Floyd's death, and the horrifying spate of violence and destruction that ensued afterward, made Roger Goodell come around to the idea that kneeling during the one minute that everyone is asked to stand and remove their hats out of respect to our nation is not disrespectful, after all.
Such penitential posturing aside, solving the problems presented by this false narrative will also entail the usual political prescriptions, like free government health care and wealth redistribution to address income inequality and some new (and indescribably dangerous) ones, like the abolishment of the police department in major American cities.
The tragedy in all of this isn't just the wholesale assassination of the truth. It is the missed opportunity to achieve national unity. Nearly everyone who watched the terrible video of George Floyd being strangled by a police officer for nine minutes was outraged and demanded justice and accountability for those involved. This could have led to a fruitful conversation about police brutality, reform of policies for apprehended suspects, and justice for George Floyd and his family. Instead, progressives have used the incident to spread their preferred lies in order to foment racial animus and, ultimately, to destroy our nation as we now know it.