A Vancouver radio station recently unpublished a story titled “BLM resorts to ’emotional blackmail,’ argues Black SFU academic.” The station wrote on twitter that it regretted any “harm” done by the story. The article featured an interview with Sonia Orlu about her essay “Why I do not support the Black Lives Matter movement.” The following is an excerpt from that essay.  

In response to the assertion that Blacks are “systematically targeted for demise,” every recent compilation of crime statistics in the United States shows this statement to be categorically false (Canada has no comparable robust reporting on race-specific crime statistics). In fact, per the 2018 US National Crime Victimization Survey, the only group of people systematically killing Black people are other Black people and overwhelmingly so. The Bureau of Justice Statistics also reports that “the offender was of the same race or ethnicity as the victim in 70 per cent of violent incidents involving Black victims.” This directly confronts assertions, especially by celebrities and politicians, that Black people are “literally hunted,” as Lebron James put it.

Yet another pernicious falsehood is the claim that there is a genocide of Black men by the police. To be clear, police brutality is a pervasive issue for all races and needs to be addressed. At the same time, there is no empirical evidence to suggest cops are systematically targeting Black people or that every fatal outcome between whites/cops and Black people is fuelled by racism. To bring it back to current events, there is no objective justification for the assertion that race played a primary role in George Floyd’s death, for example.

In short, there is no definitive conclusion that racism plays a primary or significant role in citizen deaths at the hands of the police. Research, so far, has not “proven” the hypothesis that (white) racism is to blame for racial disparity in the use of force. Any such attempt will be correlational at best, with a variety of variables to consider. Equally as important but rarely addressed, what explains the underrepresentation of other minority groups?

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