Black Lives Matter

Several loyal MR readers requested I cover this topic.  My views are pretty simple, namely that I am a fan of the movement.  Police in this country kill, beat, arrest, fine, and confiscate the property of black people at unfair and disproportionate rates.  The movement directs people’s attention to this fact, and the now-common use of cell phone video and recordings have driven the point home.

I don’t doubt that many policemen perceive they are at higher risk when dealing with young black males, and that is part of why they may act more brutally or be quicker to shoot or otherwise misbehave.  I would respond that statistical discrimination, even if it is rational, does not excuse what are often crimes against innocent people.  For instance, a man is far more likely to kill you than is a woman, but that fact does not excuse the shooting of an innocent man.

I also don’t see that citing “Black Lives Matter” has to denigrate the value of the life of anyone else.  Rather, the use of the slogan reflects the fact that many white people have been unaware of the extra burdens that many innocent black people must carry due to their treatment at the hands of the police.  The slogan is a way of informing others of this reality.

“Black Lives Matter” is a large movement, if that is the proper word for it, and you can find many objectionable statements, alliances, and political views within it.  I don’t mean to endorse those, but at its essence I see this as a libertarian idea to be admired and promoted.


You write "Police in this country kill, beat, arrest, fine, and confiscate the property of black people at unfair and disproportionate rates" -- that's false, disobligingly false, and easily disprovable. Spend some time looking into the data; it's easy to find. Shall I paste links, or is that too kindergarden? This is pure virtue signalling of the most ass-covering variety. Disappointing.

Please disprove Tyler's post with ease Danny.

(Number of white people killed by police)/(Number of white violent criminals) ~= (Number of black people killed by police)/(Number of black violent criminals). And also, police would have to shoot unarmed black men for 40 years at current rates in order to reach the number of black men murdered by other black men in the year 2012 alone.

The statistics are there, and they're easy to find.

Your equation doesn't disprove anything Tyler said. You could get equality with police responding perfectly to white crimes and never killing an innocent white man, then just shooting random black people until the equation balanced.

Um…check your math.

White people also kill white people in large numbers. What do such facts in any case have to do with police criminality and racism.

One would expect, based on common sense, that the number of police shootings within an area/demographic/any other variable would be related to the amount of times they are called into dangerous situations, which, in turn, would depend upon the crime rate.

A simplistic model, no doubt, but infinitely more complex than the "I hate black people. Lets shoot them" model of police-civilian interaction.

Your fake statistics rely on characterizations from the racist cops discriminating against the victims.

How many of those police reports claim the victim was violent, armed, or resisting arrest? And then how many times does video surface to show that the victim was none of the above?

You can prove anything you want with fake numbers.

"how many times does video surface to show that the victim was none of the above?"

Damned few. And in cases that do, the officer is charged and often convicted.

Oscar Grant
Terrence Crutcher
Walter Scott
Eric Garner

Immediately come to mind.

If all statistics are fake then how can you make the claim that blacks are disproportionately shot by the police? All estimates of violent criminality in the U.S. have much higher rates among blacks than whites, and higher among whites than Asians. Why is no one complaining that Asians are let off the hook and whites disproportionately burdened?

Your statistical inference, while "kindergarten" is totally flawed, and that's one of the points of BLM.

The denominators in your silly equation are "observed" numbers, not actual numbers. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the "observations" are totally biased. Counting the number of violent criminals, whether white or black, is observed to be close to counting the number of violent criminals indicted or convicted of violent crime. That black people are far more likely to be pursued by the police and convicted by courts for the same crimes and degree of evidence (e.g. marijuana use) as white people should suffice to convince that the true count of "# of white violent criminals" or "# of black violent criminals" is a latent variable that is certainly far from equal to what is observed.

Assuming observed = unbiased estimate of latent is the problem that the BLM movement is trying to bring out. Get with the program, dumbass.

Suppose for the sake of argument that Blacks have disproportionately high incidence of committing crime. What, in your opinion, would be an available unbiased measure of this?

If such measures are unavailable, why would you form conclusions with important policy considerations based on the naive and unlikely assumption that Blacks and Whites commit crimes equally? Are you suggesting that the data is biased in cases where guilt is subject to no doubt and the perpetrator's race is identified without error?

Are white people driving into Black neighborhoods at night and killing thousands of Blacks each year, and NOBODY, Black or White, is witnessing and reporting it. Is that what you think is happening?

When Black witnesses report Black criminals, is that part of a vast White Wing conspiracy to frame Blacks?

Crime victimization surveys consistently show that there is no bias against Black violent criminals. Get with the program, race traitor.

"Offender race" is actually an observed variable for most crimes (assault, sex offenses, armed robbery). The best evidence I've seen is available in the NIBRS dataset, which is compiled by the FBI from local police departments and covers over 25% of the US population. Black arrest rates are in line with, and generally lower than, black offender rates for all crime categories.

Blacks are being pursued at disproportionate rates by the police because they commit a disproportionate percentage of crime. No need for smugness, you're simply wrong here.


You write:
>> Are you suggesting that the data is biased in cases where guilt is subject to no doubt and the perpetrator’s race is identified without error?

No, the data is not biased. The inference is. That is because the data is incomplete. It is an observed proxy for crimes committed. It is not the same as crimes committed. If there is evidence to suggest that blacks are investigated, arrested, and convicted at a much higher rate than a comparable white population, then YES, there is NO REASON to believe the data when making inferences about proportion of criminality in various populations. As Mr. Cowen rightly stated, there is A LOT OF EVIDENCE that blacks and minorities are targeted disproportionately along the supply chain of the justice system (from stop and frisk, to more arrests, to worse lawyers, to more biased jurors, to more biased judges in regards to sentencing, etc.)

Not really. Please see the link.

I forgot which study, but it shows that by requiring one Black person in the jury pool, does not need to be part of the jury, would remove Black discrimination entirely. It would not be Black discrimination, but the entire society's bias view equally shared by everyone in the society.

Actually it's less then that: Prison population is 38% black and police shooting are 27% black - it's rational & logical to infer that police are making an effort NOT to shoot black people.

I really don't get the logic. Most of those in prison are no on death row so the suggesting that the numbers in prison should have any tight relationship to people getting shot by police seem odd. To me that's something of the core of the problem -- in the extreme, we see people getting shot by police because they had a busted tail light and an attitude or someone in a toy store who apparently doesn't know the isle is where the toy guns are calling 911 about a guy with a gun, a cop that's either too scared or too aggressive and a black guy that's too unaware of what's going on around him.

While it's not quite correct, I think we need to move to a standard closer to if the crime doesn't support a death penalty the cops should not be shooting the suspect but holding off that confrontation to get a better resolution.

Show us the numbers. But one problem with this is that your denominator is subject to racial bias as well. Black men are more likely to be arrested and get longer sentences for doing the same crime as white people.

I'm curious how you rationalize away the body count in Baltimore, Detroit, St. Louis, New Orleans, etc.

BLS is complaining about the unjustified shooting of blacks not the shooting of armed dangerous criminals. The relevant ratio for the unjustified shooting not to be biased is the number of non dangerous blacks to non dangerous whites that are killed. A proxy for this is if suspect was armed. One study has shown that the percentage of unarmed backs vs armed killed by police is twice that for whites even assuming honest reporting by the police. Even if you chose to use violent crime rates it is ratio of non crimanals of each race that should determine the ratio of unjustified shooting by the police if the were random.

Not sure how great a proxy this is. Michael Brown was unarmed. But would be interested to see the study anyway. An interesting contrast is that white cops are more likely to shoot a white suspect and black cops more likely to shoot a black suspect.

" And also, police would have to shoot unarmed black men for 40 years at current rates in order to reach the number of black men murdered by other black men in the year 2012 alone."

And they would have shoot about 20 million more to catch up to Stalin.

Blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime! They get shot by police proportionate to the amount of crime they commit.

Blacks commit half the murders in this country (with mostly Black victims), but Blacks do not make up half of people executed.

BLM doesn't call anyone's attention to any facts. It screeches misinformation.

Cell phone video and eye witness evidence has shown that ALL of the Blacks supposedly killed unnecessarily were resisting arrest. Many of them were armed. Most of them had criminal records, indicating their animus to law and order. For example, Alton Sterling was a convicted felon, imprisoned for, inter alia, illegal possession of a firearm. A witness reported him brandishing a firearm and threatening people. Police responded to the report, and Sterling disobeyed lawful commands for several minutes. Given that he was a repeat offender with a gun in his pocket, he clearly didn't want to obey. He resisted arrest. While it cannot be seen on the video, the police testified that he reached for the gun. Nothing in the video suggests otherwise.

In every case where the evidence supported the citizen (Walter Scott, Terrence Crutcher, Oscar Grant), the police officers were charged with homicide.

When all the factors are considered, justice got it right 100% of the time. This success rate is actually astonishingly high. I'm mortified that someone as smart as Tyler would fall for this obvious nonsense that defies literally the first couple of weeks in a Statistics class.

I'm surprised you still put so much weight on police testimony.

I put little weight on self serving testimony.

I put enormous weight on the presumption of innocence.

2015 statistics on murders and police killings in USA:
Police killings: 986. Of these, 495 of those killed were white (50%), 258 were black (26%), 172 were Hispanic (17%).
Murders: 15,696 total, of which 52% of victims were black, and in these cases over 90% of the perpetrators were black.

"Do White Police Officers Unfairly Target Black Suspects?"
"Using a unique data set we link the race of police officers who kill suspects with the race of those who are killed across the United States. We have data on a total of 2,699 fatal police killings for the years 2013 to 2015. This is 1,333 more killings by police than is provided by the FBI data on justifiable police homicides. When either the violent crime rate or the demographics of a city are accounted for, we find that white police officers are not significantly more likely to kill a black suspect. For the estimates where we know the race of the officer who killed the suspect, the ratio of the rate that blacks are killed by black versus white officers is large — ranging from 3 to 5 times larger. However, because the media may under report the officer’s race when black officers are involved, other results that account for the fact that a disproportionate number of the unknown race officers may be more reliable. They indicate no statistically significant difference between killings of black suspects by black and white officers. Our panel data analysis that looks at killings at the police department level confirms this. These findings are inconsistent with taste-based racial discrimination against blacks by white police officers. Our estimates examining the killings of white and Hispanic suspects found no differences with respect to the races of police officers. If the police are engaged in discrimination, such discriminatory behavior should also be more difficult when body or other cameras are recording their actions. We find no evidence that body cameras affect either the number of police killings or the racial composition of those killings."


Ha, we got you now, CRIMETHINKER! This post was just a trick to see who will stick his neck out!

Also, see Chinese expression: "Point deer, make horse".

I'm thinking that the most reasonable basis for deciding whether police are disproportionately killing a certain race is to look at the identity of cop killers. Makes sense, right? I'm genuinely asking. It seems obvious as I think about it, but it usually isn't a main point when the issue is brought up, so maybe those who have thought about the issue more have rejected it for a reason I haven't considered.

Please do post the data, Danny. I'm sure Tyler will print a retraction based on empirical data.

No retraction, my words are obviously true. Read them. I say "black people," not "black people conditional on some formula or adjustment you may have in mind." Proportionately more tragedy, more people killed, etc. About seventy of you are being obtuse.

Police don't have a duty to shoot people randomly in the streets. They have a duty and self interest to shoot people who threaten the lives of people, including themselves.

Your analysis is using the wrong population. Conditional probabilities are exactly what must be calculated here.

This is elementary and obvious. Clearly your bright mind is being clouded by emotion or, dare I say, mood affiliation.

Yes. I think Tyler would see this more clearly if he fully explored his off-hand comment that "For instance, a man is far more likely to kill you than is a woman, but that fact does not excuse the shooting of an innocent man."

No, it doesn't excuse shooting an innocent man. But it might explain why 95.8% of those killed by police are men, right?

It is not mood affiliation, it is terror.

Using one's public identity when talking about this topic, and talking a rational approach to the data, can easily lead to loss of employment, loss of atatus, and shunning from the academic community. The left is vicious.

The upside is very, very limited. So Tyler took the rational, perhaps cowardly, stance. Robespierre Would be proud.

"Tyler must secretly agree with me" is one of the most pathetic rationalizations I have read in my life.

I look forward to his next post about Male Lives Matter to which you could presumably apply all the same arguments.

Respectfully, you are being obtuse if you can't see that the essence of this movement, whatever it's statements is anti-peace, order, domestic tranquility, reason, and justice.

Says who? There is no basis in fact for your claim in fact.

You didn't just say "disproportionate"; you also said "unfair". Surely more than a simple count is needed to assess that?

"Fair" isn't the standard.

"Justified" is the standard. Police aren't judges. They are making decisions in the midst of conflict, in a fog of war, with only a few seconds to react. Case law has long held that police have broad discretion in the use of force. You might believe that that discretion is unwise and has a disparate impact on certain groups, but the trade-off of indecision pushes the burden onto police. Surely in a public policy debate, blue lives really do matter. Just two days ago, two police officers in Orlando were killed by a fugitive wanted for murder. One of the police officers was a Black woman. Does her life matter?

More than 90% of the victims of Black homicide are Black. Do Black victim lives matter?

"Black Lives Matter" begs the question. It asserts that society believes otherwise without any supporting evidence. Cops and the justice system arrest, try, or shoot Black perpetrators BECAUSE the lives of their Black victims matter. They are disproportionately punished because they commit more crime.

Murders of cops, and especially ambushing BECAUSE they are cops has increased rapidly with the rise of BLM. The movement and our feckless president has this blood on their hands.

BLM is a race baiting insult to all white people, and a dangerous policy prescription.

You wrote "unfair", which does not have a simple definition, so I don't think your words are "obviously true" respective of the narrow point of killings per Roland Fryer's working paper statement that "On the most extreme use of force -- officer-involved shootings -- we find no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account"." ( Abstract, ).

My view is informed by Roland's work as well as the below link, which suggests that narrative-informed assertions based on a group's oppression status are not a good guide in this case.

The social justice movement continues to be a kernel of truth, covered in miles of BS and obfuscation in the pursuit of power.

Fryer's paper has several parts. The one that says that police don't shoot disproportionately is based on a survey of ONE metro area, Houston.

National level meta analysis shows otherwise

no tyler, you are a coward who is trying to virtue signal your way to sounding important. The fact that you wouldn't consider adjustments to raw data is absurd. you would do so with every other economic statistic. You can still look at raw racial stats, but not to adjust for crime is patently absurd. Coward may be to generous.

Shouldn't it be conditional though? Men are far, far more likely to be killed by police than women. Wouldn't a "Male Lives Matter" movement be equally, or more, necessary?

Of 963 people the Washington Post has in its database of those killed by police in 2016, 923 were male and 40 were female. Meaning males were 95.8% of those killed by police, despite being only approximately 50% of the population.

Male Lives Matter would be necessary only to the extent INNOCENT men are killed by the police. Absolute numbers are entirely relevant here if you're not attempting to be a police apologist.

Mom, if you believe innocent black men are being killed by police, you must necessarily believe that innocent men are being killed by police.

To put it another way, would you say that:

"Police in this country kill, beat, arrest, fine, and confiscate the property of men at unfair and disproportionate rates"

is also "obviously true"?

Turkey Vulture,

Didn't see your comment. Now I feel stupid.

I tend to have that effect on people.

I starting a new movement called Men's Lives Matters. Police in this country kill, beat, arrest, fine, and confiscate the property of men at unfair and disproportionate rates as compared to females. As Tyler noted above, it's not fair to condition that based on any other criteria such as police might be more at risk when arresting men, men commit more crimes, etc.


With all due respect, who is being obtuse here? Why is share of total population versus share of persons "harmed" by police action the only acceptable basis for an analysis of whether police action has been "disproportionate"? I note you have not even attempted to establish that the number of innocent persons harmed is "disproportionate" you just assume that if the share of population is exceeded the number of innocent persons must be. If you asserted, or even just accepted, that style of analysis in any other context, you would be laughed out of the economics profession. Justifiably. As with college sexual assault, Trump voter's motivations, climate change and an ever increasing number of other examples, however, you seem to have very different standards for evidence and analysis when they are applied to your favored or disfavored groups.

Let try a thought experiment. Because of the terrible problem of perceived racism by police, we have now replaced human police with robots. All other facts and circumstances of modern life remain the same (blacks are approximately 13% of the population, commit approximately 50% of all crimes, "kill" 50% of all police robots, etc.) and the robots, although they are not capable of racism, are not perfect. For example, in difficult lighting conditions, their sensors sometime mistake wallets for guns or, if you prefer, they suffer from a software glitch which causes them, at random and very infrequent moments, to simply kill the nearest person to them. Does the percentage share of African-American's killed by police action increase from the current 40% or decrease?

Helpful hint: If, very sensibly, you "disproportionately" assign police-robots to neighborhoods where crime "disproportionately" occurs, if they "disproportionately" interact with criminals, witnesses to crime, and victims of crime of a certain ethnic group, who is going to be nearby when the police-robots the suffer the glitch?

Actually, bmcburney alludes to this above, so I want to focus on the issue:

If we were to try to hone in on one statistical comparison that could be made to try to determine if any given race or sex was "disproportionately" killed by police, what would that be?

It can't be simple portion of the population. There is a wealth of evidence that men, and especially young men, are more violent than others. We would expect them to get into more confrontations with police, more of which escalate, and more of which lead to shootings. Even if there were no other differences between two racial populations, if one racial group is substantially younger than another (or more male), I think we could reasonably predict that group would be over-represented among those killed by police (and over-represented in various other ways). Just taking a quick look, this 2013 Pew report has the median age of white males in the US at 41 and black males at 31.

I think one reasonable metric would be to compare it to the identity of cop killers. If all or almost all cop killers are men, we might reasonably expect that those killed by cops would be mostly or entirely men. If it is instead 50/50 male/female, we would think something seems off. Similarly, if 70% of cop killers were white and 10% black, but it was instead 50/50 white/black in terms of killings by police, we would think something seems off.

I did a very brief search and found this:

"In 2013, 44 percent of cop killers were white, 37 percent were black and 11 percent were Hispanic. Last year [2014], 54 percent were white, 26 percent were black and 18 percent were Hispanic."

Whoops. Here is the Pew report for the median ages:

The numbers from the Newsweek article are questionable and somewhat misleading. According to the FBI, the long term (10 year) average is that 40% of felonious cop killers are black.

There is evidently a rough equivalence between the percentage of black people killed by police (as compared to the total killed by police) and the percentage of black felonious cop killers as compared to others (both approximately 40% and both "disproportionate" to the black share of US population). However, this is obviously an apples to oranges type comparison. As to blacks and others, most deaths at the hands of police are justifiable and most killings of police by others are not. If Tyler were really concerned about the loss of innocent life, rather than the loss of lives (innocent or not) which can be blamed on people he disfavors for other reasons, he would more likely be a "fan" of "blue lives matter" rather than the other. About a hundred cops get killed every year, some by accident, some intentionally. It is self-evidently impossible to find one hundred "non-justified" killings of black people by police every year. Even as to those cases which make the news, the evidence most often supports the police or at least shows an absence of malicious intent.

Obviously, in a country of more than 300 million, you will find some absolutely unjustifiable killings by police every year. Of course, one is too many and in any particular case the evidence will show, or fail to show, the fault Tyler wishes to apply wholesale to others. But BLM is not about improving police training or selection. The only public policy implications are that police are forced out of black neighborhoods with obvious consequences for those that remain in those neighborhoods. For anyone who sincerely cared about innocent lives, or even "black lives", this would surely cause a "fan" to reconsider the value of the movement. But BLM is not about public policy, it is about narrative. As we would reliably expect Tyler to point out if the subject matter were different, BLM is about lowering the status of some and raising the status of others. So Tyler, cui bono?

I agree with you, Danny. Reason is a slave of feelings. You were no exception, Tyler.

>Spend some time looking into the data; it’s easy to find

...And yet somehow you've failed to notice the similar magnitude and quality of evidence speaking *against* your point as for it. If you don't post your evidence, there's no call for opposing viewpoints to post theirs. Are we having an argument about BLM, or crime statistics, now? Is that even two separate arguments? Questions I think maybe you avoid.

His statistics are exactly on point. If Blacks commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime, then they are EXPECTED to suffer a disproportionately high rate of adverse police interactions across the board from searches to detention to arrest to being shot.

If you want to claim that the arrest statistics are motivated by discrimination, at least you are in the ball park of logic and critical thinking. But I don't know how you can conclude with any available evidence that Blacks are no more likely to break the law and engage in violence. The CONVICTIONS for Black on Black homicide tell a very different story than what you are telling.

And even if Blacks and Whites committed crime at equal rates, this statistic doesn't affect how offenders ACT in the presence of police. The suspects who are killed by police could be INNOCENT of the crime but GUILTY of resisting arrest and threatening police with deadly force.

I'm rather skeptical of Tyler's claim, too. But it is absurd to treat this as a simple analytical question, where "the data" obviously disproves it. This is a complex thing to study, any analysis must decide some starting assumptions, and those assumptions are likely to be informed by your prior viewpoint. Therefore, not surprisingly, actual study of this issue has found various, conflicting answers.

'I’m rather skeptical of Tyler’s claim, too.'

The one where more innocent black men are killed by police than innocent white men? For example, how often have you heard of a white man gunned down in a Walmart because he was carrying a BB gun? Along with both the 911 call and police report being a set of lies?

Or the one that now due to pervasive video recording, both in stores and through smartphones, it is no longer possible to simply accept police lying at face value? Again, like that Walmart case - 'In the video, police arrive after a customer calls 911 to report that Crawford is pointing the gun at people. That caller, Ronald Ritchie, has since changed his original story and said Crawford was not pointing the gun at anyone. Police, however, released a statement after the incident saying Crawford was “waving a rifle-type weapon at customers, including children.”

The video shows that within seconds of police arrival, they descend upon Crawford and apparently fire two shots. One hits him in the elbow, and the other in the side and travels through his body, piercing major organs. There is no appearance of struggle or resistance by Crawford before police fire the shots.'

Luckily, infowars fills in the gaps of what the police were told - 'The witness who phoned police, ex-marine Ronald Ritchie, reportedly told 9-1-1 he saw Crawford “walking around with a gun in the store,” and that he was “loading it right now,” and pointing it at customers and children.

He “was just waving it at children and people. Items…. I couldn’t hear anything that he was saying. I’m thinking that he is either going to rob the place or he’s there to shoot somebody else,” Ritchie said.

Innocent bystander Angela D. Williams, 37, of Fairborn, also died following the shooting.

The county coroner said she was “apparently running from a dangerous situation inside the Walmart store when she collapsed. She was taken to Soin Medical Center where she died at 9:14 p.m.” In a sad twist, the mother of two was due to be wed on Saturday.'

Interesting how that innocent bystander also dying never made the media radar screen (assuming one trusts infowars as a source, of course). But then, most people claiming all lives matter really don't care about everyone anyways, and are generally fine with ongoing police perjury when it comes to gunning down people.

Anecdotal evidence, even extremely compelling, tragic anecdotal evidence, does not prove a systemic pattern of black people being victimized at "unfair and disproportionate rates".

A systemic pattern could be shown by analysis of the data. And it seems such to me that analyses provide contradictory and ambiguous results, not clearly supporting the idea that there is systemic race-based maltreatment by police. This is why I'm skeptical.

Also, your claim that BLM critics don't really care about "all lives" because someone dying of a heart attach was not a top headline is just a cheap shot. Come on. Every death is a tragedy, but clearly not every death from a heart attack is front page news.

Well, since we are all new to America, and have no experience with her social mores or police behavior, we will have to begin a study forthwith.

For instance, if a friend from the south told me that his aunt shot a black man because he stood on her porch, knocked on her door, and that the police just took the body away, the end, I should ignore that.

It is just a story, not data, we have no real experience.

Individual racist incidents should not be ignored. They should be condemned, opposed, and when criminal they should be prosecuted vigorously.

However, it is deeply flawed to assume there is a systematic problem, and then take steps to address that, based on a story or collection of stories. We really, really, really need data to show that such a systemic problem exists. Otherwise we are in danger of doing things that are at best a waste of resources and at worst actually cause harm. In this case, for example, actions taken to restrict police in response to perceived bias may make it harder for them to do their job, and therefore increase crime. And this crime has victims too. Maybe this is a price we have to pay in order to address a very real, serious problem. Or maybe it is a tragically misguided mistake. We won't know if we don't seriously look at the data.

Having been subjected to the American news feed for 60 years, not to mention not a few "just us white guys" conversations, I think anyone who does not see systemic racism: 1) doesn't understand the word "systemic," 2) is a liar, or 3) is young and hasn't gotten out much.

'Anecdotal evidence'

Well, at least we have gone a step forward. 20 years ago, before the pervasive recording of events, such things were just called, occasionally and when the evidence was irrefutable, 'tragic mistakes.' Most the time, they were called fully justified, and in keeping with the proud tradition of the police to protect and serve the community.

'A systemic pattern could be shown by analysis of the data.'

Again, what data? At this point, an attempt to even accurately record the number of people killed by the police is basically new. Though having an effect - 'A new US government program to count killings by police, which draws on data collected by the Guardian, has recorded a sharply higher number of deaths than previous official efforts.

Homicides by police were logged by the Department of Justice’s new system at more than twice the rate previously reported by the FBI, according to new data that was published by the department on Thursday.

Officials said their new method for counting “arrest-related deaths” should improve the “reliability, validity and comprehensiveness” of information on killings by police, after the weakness of previous efforts was exposed.'

The actual link, by the way, is

'Also, your claim that BLM critics don’t really care about “all lives” because someone dying of a heart attach was not a top headline is just a cheap shot.'

Maybe, maybe not - that incident, officially according to infowars, had two innocent victims, not one. All these commenters talking about how all lives matter, but they cannot even cite an example of their concern for innocent life with one of the incidents at the beginning of BLM?

Ever notice how often non-black murderers are gunned down? Like in Ft. Lauderdale, where the police shot a man in similar fashion to what happened in a Walmart? Well, maybe not similar fashion, since the man in Ft. Lauderdale wasn't shot - after all, the police in Ft. Lauderdale knew they were on camera in a way the police in the Walmart incident clearly did not care about, and of course, the man killed in the Walmart had not just committed mass murder.

Just another anecdote, of course.

A lot of stuff that "everybody knows is true" through the accumulation of experience and anecdotes is just plain wrong.

Interesting argument, Dan. Would you say more of what we know about the world is true or false?

The Bayesian logic presumes, requires, a role for "priors."

Beware the availability heuristic. Police shootings of unarmed blacks are a lot more likely to get media attention right now than police shootings of unarmed whites. However, we have pretty good data, thanks to the Washington Post and the Guardian.

From the Washington Post's excellent front end for their police shooting database, there were 29 whites and 6 blacks shot by police in 2015 while carrying toy weapons.

That doesn't say anything about whether police are too eager to shoot blacks vs whites. But it demonstrates that media reports aren't a good guide to statistics--there are something like a thousand civilians killed by police per year, and we hear of a tiny fraction of them. That fraction is not randomly selected, its determined by the existence of protests and public outcry, and by the stories that media outlets want to tell.

Exactly right.

Only p_t could be so adept at making a potential ally into an enemy.

So true ... racism was solved when Lincoln freed the slaves .. sorry, I mean when Civil Rights act was passed ... oops, no, when Obummer was elected. So whenever black people complain about racism its clearly just to make white people feel bad about themselves. Oh, and global warming is a Chinese Hoax, you can provide health insurance for everyone without an oppressive mandate and you can cut taxes and increase spending and balance the budget. #MAGA!

I'm suspicious of the state and police over-reach so I'm a bit ambivalent about this. But haven't their been at least three studies now that show white police officers shoot black people at either the same or lower rate than minority officers?

Here's one:

Then there's the Fry(er) study mentioned elsewhere on this thread. And finally the DOJ study in Philadelphia.

I haven't seen anything showing white officers shoot minorities at a higher rate, which is surely the evidence required for a racist police force.

As for BLM itself, I think have to respectfully disagree with Tyler on this. They have contributed a great deal of hate, anger and confusion to this issue, which almost certainly has led to a reduced police presence and more violence in cities already suffering. It's easy to abandon logic and reason for emotion but it rarely leads us to a better place.

So, police shoot at Black people (unarmed and armed) at a disproportional rate compared to other ethnic groups.

Unlike white and hispanics though, the rate at which armed and black people are shot at is not statistically different.

Black suspects are being treated as if they are always armed.

These rates vary widely based on population and ethnic composition, etc.

I forgot to also mention in my previous comment, Fryer's paper has several parts. The one that says that police don't shoot disproportionately is based on a survey of ONE metro area, Houston.

The paper I posted to indicates why this may have been based on the county level data of Houston.

I fault the MSM. The reason most people believe this tripe is the penchant of the MSM to spend thousands of hours of TV news and lines of print on fiascos like Ferguson and ignore or even intentionally coverup violent and criminal acts that don't fit the preferred meme. While there are police who make mistakes and do stupid things these are the exceptions and 99% of the police deserve our support. Look at the mess Baltimore has become exactly due to the BLM movement. All crimes are up and murders have more than doubled and all of it for the simple reason that the politicians and MSM are out to "get" the police. BLM is funded and directed by communist organizations whose intent is to destroy American democracy.. They don't give a hoot about black lives they are a political organization more intent on destroying than protecting. I suggest anyone who believes that the police as a rule are racist or over reacting spend Friday and Saturday night walking the streets of Baltimore or St. Louis and get back to us if you live and tell me how badly the police over react to the problems in black neighborhoods.

You're right. Cowen's characterization "at unfair and disproportionate rates" seems more like an adolescent sentiment from his youth in the 60s and 70s that he has yet to grow out of. We have all had those but have been able to come to grips with the facts as the years passed. Cowen gives no evidence whereas people like Heather MacDonald have offered substantial evidence that claims like Cowen's are incorrect.

It is a rather puzzling statement from Cowen, this anti-police throwaway phrase. Inexplicable, his preference for ideological adherence rather than evidence.

My reply above is to Disappointed Danny below.

Here's the data, make your argument:

Blacks fatalities, shot by police: 233 of 963 total, unarmed 17.

All other unarmed fatalities, shot by police: 31 of 730

Fisher exact test sez to not reject the null. Might be something but small numbers.

Also, "unarmed" is a bit broad. Could include resisting arrest. The armed rate doesn't show any racial bias when controlled for crime rates, so I'd be very suspicious of inferring any from the lower unarmed rates.

More anecdotal stories here but a friend of mine was pulled over by the police near his home for "driving suspiciously: through an intersection where four police cruisers, all lights on, have pulled over another car. The cop said is was suspicious that he was driving slowly -- below the 25 mph limit. My friend's version was with all the lights making it hard to see and clearly potential for people to be in the street or walking out from behind one of the cars slower was safer and respecting what the police were doing.

The response from the cop was that he could be tossed in jail for possession of a deadly weapon; his baseball glove and bat were in the back seat to the vehicle and according to the cop, the bat is classified as a deadly weapon.

My response was he should have asked the cop if he really wants to make the case and participating in America's sport, baseball, is really something he wants to make a crime. My friend, who is significantly darker skinned than my pasty white just laughed and told me I was just too white.

These are just not the attitudes we want from police. Case closed and no statistic matter here.

Yes, please provide links. Your assertions should be backed up with facts, logic or recognized authority. Otherwise your comment amounts to nothing but ad hominem disparagement of the author. If the author's statements are "easily disprovable", then disprove them. And while you are at it, come out of your cowardly anonymity and provide your real name.

“On the most extreme use of force — officer-involved shootings — we find no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account,” said Harvard economics professor Roland G. Fryer Jr. in the abstract of the July 2016 paper. Mr. Fryer, who is black, told The New York Times that the finding of no racial discrimination in police shootings was “the most surprising result of my career.”

Etc etc etc.

But, do you know what kind of familial relation ol' Rol Fryer has to BLM and the DNC establishment? Really. A black man provides the some factual data to dispute the narrative and immediately the pure and progressive seek to destroy. It is disgusting

Fryer's paper has several parts. The one that says that police don't shoot disproportionately is based on a survey of ONE metro area, Houston.

National level meta analysis shows otherwise

Plenty of debate about this 6 months ago when people thought it might actually move the argument (it didn't). Not only did the study show clear bias in every other category measured, but several articles seemed to rightly question his methodology on that point, specifically how he processed police reports in a way that didn't account for officers' own personal bias in reporting. This editorial was particularly enlightening at the time:

If white and blacks are shot by police with the same frequency, there's still the big problem of people being killed by the police. Then the error of BLM is the naivety of thinking blacks are the only victims. This may be a political mistake, their PR strategy may not be not optimal. But don't get distracted by their naivety and focus on the large number of people of any color killed by police.

I lived in Texas for a year when young. County police was confrontational while highway patrol was efficient. By efficient I mean I got a speeding ticket after speeding. No questions beyond driver's license and insurance, no stupid search. On the other hand, county police was always hunting for a reason for arrest. I lived in county where liquor sales ended at 5 PM. Once I to the liquor store 10 min before it closed and stayed in the parking lot talking with a friend, county police arrived and they made all the drama of hands up, body search, open the car trunk, hinting we had guns or drugs.....etc. If the county police really did intelligence work, there would be no need to harass peaceful people. The police creates dangerous situations for pulling people over for whatever reason and then try to find a reason for arrest. Arrests can be safer if they are planned.

Perhaps that's a good metric. Police can be evaluated by looking at the ratio of planned to fortuitous arrests. If most of arrests are originated from the police looking fortuitously an infraction it means they're not doing intelligence work. Organized, violent and repeat offenders are safe while peaceful people is harassed.

Yes the tragedy is that BLM has made it really difficult to address the problem of police brutality by making it a hyper-partisan issue

Are you sure that it is BLM that has made it into a partisan issue?

There's much better evidence for too many killings per cop per year than there is for any racial bias in those killings.

What's interesting, as in your post, is the wild difference in killing rates by municipality, even after controlling for the local crime rates. Police training matters.

Right. I think a lot of people, even law and order conservatives, would be open to arguments about keeping police in check. But BLM time after time chooses the worst, least sympathetic examples. And then they riot over these questionable martyrs.

Police in this country kill, beat, arrest, fine, and confiscate the property of black people at unfair and disproportionate rates. The movement directs people’s attention to this fact, and the now-common use of cell phone video and recordings have driven the point home.

The police most certainly do not. Well they may confiscate their property but if anything, Blacks are arrested and convicted at a slightly lower rate than their offending rates suggest they should. There is no cell phone footage that shows anything else.

I don’t doubt that many policemen perceive they are at higher risk when dealing with young black males, and that is part of why they may act more brutally or be quicker to shoot or otherwise misbehave. I would respond that statistical discrimination, even if it is rational, does not excuse what are often crimes against innocent people. For instance, a man is far more likely to kill you than is a woman, but that fact does not excuse the shooting of an innocent man.

Of course it does. If you are approached by a strange man on the street any sensible person will behave differently than if approached by a woman. Which is why men are often lured into bad situations by women and rarely by men. Police do not perceive a higher risk with 1. men, 2. young men and 3. young Black men. They are at higher risk. They should be allowed to behave appropriately. It is not racism. Black policemen are actually more likely to react violently to other Blacks than White policemen are. It is rational.

I also don’t see that citing “Black Lives Matter” has to denigrate the value of the life of anyone else.

It doesn't have to. But it does. For one thing it is being used to justify the murder of policemen.

Rather, the use of the slogan reflects the fact that many white people have been unaware of the extra burdens that many innocent black people must carry due to their treatment at the hands of the police. The slogan is a way of informing others of this reality.

As if people do not know. Again Blacks are not being victimized by the American legal system. They are arrested and convicted at a lower rate than their offending suggests they should. What is worse BLM suggests this is a problem with racism. It isn't. The Detroit police force is more likely to use force, legal and illegal, now than in the past. Even though it is a mainly Black force answering to an entirely Black - and politically very Black - set of authorities. Coleman Young was not a secret member of the KKK.

“Black Lives Matter” is a large movement, if that is the proper word for it, and you can find many objectionable statements, alliances, and political views within it. I don’t mean to endorse those, but at its essence I see this as a libertarian idea to be admired and promoted.

What is the libertarian idea? That Black neighborhoods should be No Go areas where law and order does not apply? Where what order there is, is the work of the free market in drug gangs? The Baltimore police force is losing members and cannot recruit new ones. Everyone knows that the authorities will hang any policeman out to dry if he defends himself so no one will enforce the law. This is a direct and entirely predictable result of BLM. How is that helping anyone? The main victims of Black crime are poor Blacks. They are victimized by crime at a rate vastly disproportional to the problems with the police. They deserve our pity. Because their lives do matter.

Thank you SMFS, I find nothing to disagree with. Let me change one of Tyler statements to this :

"Black people in this country kill, beat, and confiscate the property of black people at unfair and disproportionate rates". I think that's the real problem, but Tyler is not providing any admirable and promotable Libertarian idea to fix this

+10 ...

TC doesn't believe his own post. The mendacity is sickening.

We live in a strange time. Extraordinary cucks keep commenting on internet blog comment sections; So Much For Subtlety, Cliff, Art Deco, Just Another MR Commenter, and even JWatts, and yet no one has anything insightful to say because none of them have any real vision for a different, better kind of future.

The reasons why we have arrived at this strange place are as surprising as it is mundane. Many of the commenters were shocked, and horrified in their impressionable youth after seeing a huge BBC in a porno magazine. Rather than face up to the realities and challenges to their manhood presented by the BBC, they retreated into a simpler version of the world in order to hang on to what was left of their manliness. As this fake world group, more and more cucks went along with it because the simplicity and lack of threatening black cocks was reassuring. People such as So Much For Subtlety formed entire political belief systems around the fear of the giant BBC and its disruptive powers, covering and hiding their deep-rooted anxiety with soft sounding scientific reasoning.

But as more Cucks retreated into this fantasy world, the forces of blackness gathered outside threatening to pierce the fairy-tale bubble with their giant BBCs. When beloved internet blogger Tyler Cowen expressed his support for the blacks, the shock of this intrusion into the fantasy world created by the cucks left them confused and angry. Soon they awoke to find their wives had been banging black dudes this whole time and all of them - So Much For Subtlety, Cliff, Art Deco - were simply just old cuckolds.

Ok, I LOLed.

And shouldn't this post have been written by Tyrone?

I rather like Doctor Who. And all those effete costume dramas make it seem pretty easy to assert more masculinity than one sees manifest.

There's The Eastenders, I suppose. Can't really live up to that conception of masculinity, but mostly the BBC poses no threat at all.

Do you get paid a commission every time you use the word "cuck" or something? Because literally every single post from you contains it or some variation of it, and it kind of diminishes any actual point that you might be interested in making.

Dude I'm from 4Chan we say "cuck" like its a bodily function.

it kind of diminishes any actual point that you might be interested in making.

Was he interested in making a point?

No there wasn't a big point except to insult people although I do believe the political and social views of most of the readers here derive from repressed sexual traumas.

Fuck off JIDF.

Why not say "Jews" like you mean instead of "sneaky" acronyms

I'm opposed to an ideology and a pattern of behavior, not a race.

Oddly though, black police officers also think this - 'Seventy-two percent of both white and Hispanic officers say they see blacks killed in police altercations as isolated incidents, but only 43 percent of black officers agree. A majority of black officers say those deaths are a sign of broader problems between police and black citizens.'

A large number of the confrontations were between black officers and black suspects.

But would your side agree that Police in this country kill, beat, arrest, fine, and confiscate the property of its citizens more than is optimal and that this disproportionately falls on blacks?

Perhaps you could justify your slander of BLM with data. Because.., it really just sounds like you resent blacks standing up to police killing their youth. Maybe white people should do the same instead of bending over for them all the time.

"How a controversial study found that police are more likely to shoot whites, not blacks" via

Shooting fish in a barrel now.

That study does not address the issue raised by BLM, which is about unjustified killings.

The study only addresses justified killings. Of course there are other problems with it such as the fact that it effectively allows police officers to define whether it was justified. Also it hasn't been peer reviewed.

Each year approximately 7,000 blacks are murdered, and 94% of the murderers killers are their black brothers and sisters.

Given America's racial history and racial racketeers' need for wasteful, but profitable, employment, black on black crime is overshadowed by the symbolism of white police killing unarmed black thugs.

I want to know is precisely to whom do black lives matter.

Is it George Soros? Is it Michelle Obama? Is it the Congressional Black Circus? Is it white liberal (redundant) scum? Who?

"Apparently, black lives don’t matter to blacks. How do we know? Because if black lives actually matter, blacks would stop killing each other. Blacks would stop committing genocide against themselves by aborting more black children than they allow to be born. Blacks would stop consigning generations to poverty by having the majority of their children out-of-wedlock. Blacks would stop treating education as punishment and instead treat it as an opportunity. [...] . . . black lives don’t matter to the black people doing the vast majority of killing blacks." See The Bookworm Room website July 2016

Here's a fun statistic making the rounds. Each year more black youths are killed than were KIA in the (what?) ten years Vietnam War.

Yeah, black lives matter.

Not that you'll do this, but anyone who cares to look knows that the black community is quite concerned about these issues. Many black church leaders emphasize these points quite strongly.

They're also terrified their sons will be murdered by the police.

Actually we know that is not true. Since Coleman Young was elected and dismantled the Street Crime unit, police brutality in Detroit has gone up. Blacks are now more likely to be shot by police - both justifiably and otherwise - they are more likely to be beaten, they are more likely to be tortured by police.

The Black community does not give a damn about this. There is no political pressure to do something about Detroit at all. We also know that mandating diversity in effect means hiring less qualified minority police officers. It also means beatings and shootings go up. Not only do Black community leaders not care about this, they demand more of it. The solution for Ferguson was more Black police officers which will mean, in time, more shootings but by Black police officers. And so no one will care.

It looks a lot like many Church leaders are not concerned about their sons being killed by Black police officers. Only by White ones.

There's a reasonable number of anecdotal cases for unjustified killings of blacks by police. But the plural of anecdote is not data, no matter how often you repeat it.

Also, saying there are unjustified killings doesn't establish a racial bias in those killings a la BLM. The police doubtless commit unjustified killings of other ethnicities too.

Study finds police fatally shoot unarmed black men at disproportionate rates - The Washington Post

That study was neither published or peer reviewed by the looks of it. And the comments take it to pieces. It does not consider context for instance. Police could shoot more people in dangerous neighborhoods and so kill more inner city Blacks than suburban Whites and still not be racist.

Fryer, the economist who wrote that paper, argues that *Houston* police do not disproportionally kill black offenders.

He also argues that "nationwide, black and Hispanic civilians are indeed more likely to be manhandled, handcuffed or beaten by the police — even if they are compliant and law-abiding" (quote from WaPo wonkblog).

I would be very interested to see more data. (Both posts by Danny refer to the same study.)

Yes, this is what I got from Fryers' paper, too.

At first glance, it looks like that rate of blacks and whites getting killed by the police tracks quite closely with their rate of getting arrested. The obvious guess to make there is that each encounter with the police has some chance of going wrong and ending up with someone getting shot, and blacks have way more such encounters per capita.

Some of that may be due to prejudice/profiling on the part of police, but it seems like mostly this reflects the fact that blacks commit crimes at many times the white rate.

"getting killed by the police tracks quite closely with their rate of getting seems like mostly this reflects the fact that blacks commit crimes at many times the white rate."

There is a logical mismatch between these two. Committing a crime != arrested. Even if there is no bias in killings conditional on arrest, there may be a bias in arrest rates that lead to a bias in killing rates, no?

Yes, you're right, those could be different quantities. My understanding is that the rate of blacks and whites being shot by police tracks reasonably well with the arrest rate for blacks and whites. That suggests (along with Fryers work) that police probably aren't enormously more inclined to shoot blacks than whites--instead, each arrest has some small chance of going badly enough that someone gets shot, and blacks get arrested at a higher rate than whites.

As best I can tell, blacks also commit crimes at many times the white rate. However that's a different claim--the idea about police shootings tracking with arrest rates works equally well whether the higher arrest rate for blacks is based on higher crime rate, racism, or some other thing.

The problem with Black Lives Matter is that it reduces a very real problem with statism and police brutality to a fantasty scenario of systemic racism.

When the statistics fail to support that fantasy--and indeed thoroughly refute it--the larger battle is lost in the fog.

BLM is toxic and lamentable; Tyler swings and misses.

*fantasy, pardon. See also Sam Harris on BLM for a clear-headed analysis.

We have a "white nationalist" movement that denies "systemic racism."

Step back and look at that for what it really is.

Whatever systemic racism exists, it fails to show in vast swaths of data on US policing. The numerate and intellectually honest will in this case deny systemic racism, whatever their feelings on white nationalism.

Having lived in America for about 60 years, I can remember that race has always been an issue, from MLK, through Roots, and incremental improvements until Obama .. and then the backlash.

It is frankly astounding to me that anyone with any experience of America can pop in, mid 2010s, to there is no racism, blank slate, and it is your burden to prove otherwise. "Meanwhile of course we are White Nationalists because racism is good."

In terms of police data, if anyone has lived 60 years in America they should know that while many policemen are virtuous, reporting is uneven to say the least. Some counties have no rapes because it turns out some countries just don't record them.

Especially suspicious is this 1-2 argument though, bound as it is: we are "White Nationalists," believe us that there is no racism.

I really don't get the fixation. Probably 97% of people who think BLM is ridiculous have no affinity for white nationalism.

Nonetheless the standard leftist logic runs: White nationalists don't like BLM, therefore if you don't like BLM you are David Duke. It's so dumb I don't even know how someone could think it and read this sentence at the same time.

I am not a leftist, and I only need to read these pages to get the deep binding from "white nationalism" to "there is no racism" to "antiracism is the real problem."

Another good MR comment combination is "I believe in HBD, and coincidentally I think antiracism is a problem."

Do you ever notice a link between "antiracist" and "I hate white people"?

Lol, you made a tactical mistake there.

Good people have been opposing racism in America for 200 years. Related history here:

It is actually part of the new White Nationalism that an old virtue has been turned into a slur. If you think "anti-racism" is bad, or against white people, you are a racist or a useful fool.

Sorry, those are the two options.

Is any commenter on this blog a white nationalist, or do you just like to think so? Personally I think it's clear that racism is alive and well, among people of all races, but that systemic racism against blacks is unlikely to exist, since I have seen little evidence of it despite many people being very concerned about it, including a large % of academia. The most blatant systemic racism is against whites and Asians. There's no disguising racist hiring, admissions and contracting policies which are supported by the government at all levels including the judiciary. Sorry, but I just don't think we should be telling people they can't go to college because their skin is too yellow.

"Heorogar" cops to it just below. I remember other admissions. I don't think it was just "Heorogar" repeated.

Guilty as charged. Make the most of it.

Here's another systemic racism: 90+% of blacks voted (three or four times each) for Obama because he's black and he promised them free stuff.

I know. Racist! Populist! Nationalist! Red-Neck! Cracker!

anon, Everything you post, everything you know, and everything you believe is fantasy. Thankfully you shit out one-liners.

Which one of us is in-tune with our host?

I would love to see a good statistical analysis of racial voting patterns in the US. What are the odds multipliers for different races to vote for a candidate of the same race?

Blacks definitely seem to vote monolithically for black candidates to an extent that would raise comments if any other ethnic group was so cohesive. If 90% of white people had voted against Obama you would never hear the end of it. But perhaps SES factors and Dem selection of black candidates can explain the strange discrepancy. Perhaps.

I'm not holding my breath. No professional is going to look at the data and see how much of voting behaviour is predicted by racial bias for their own groups. No one. And the academy prattles about academic freedom!


Wow...3 or 4 times each...that's amazing...any data for that?

Also, it is amazing how much of the Black Vote Obama got..unlike other Democrats...what do they get...60% :-)

The war on drugs and the criminalizing on black people that has followed is systematic racism. For the same level of drugs use black people are much more likely to be arrested.

But not only that, the origin of it is racist. The reason the current heroin epidemic hasnt let to same tough on crime attitude, but instead a focus treatment (and for one president-elect, mexicans) is that it's seen as a white issue this time instead.

"For the same level of drugs use black people are much more likely to be arrested. "

If a Black man commits robbery, is caught, and has a bag of weed in his pocket, he's much more likely to get a drug possession charge than a White man who just walking down the street, minding his own business.

I've heard a lot of people say that the origin of "the drug war" is racism. Why, then, does EVERY SINGLE COUNTRY prohibit drugs? Maybe it's something else?

"I’ve heard a lot of people say that the origin of “the drug war” is racism. Why, then, does EVERY SINGLE COUNTRY prohibit drugs? Maybe it’s something else?"

American pressure is a big part of the reason and the origin why it's illegal most places. And few places are anywhere near as draconian as the US:

Well, the level of drug use is based on survey results, since it is a victim-less crime. I wonder if they also do surveys asking if the survey respondent has committed violent crimes and what the difference in response rate is. I agree that is some evidence of racism but not very strong. There could be other reasons for higher arrest rates in that situation, such as living in areas with higher criminality, participating in open-air drug markets, etc. For crimes where we have better data, blacks do not seem to be arrested at disproportionate rates.

"I also don’t see that citing “Black Lives Matter” has to denigrate the value of the life of anyone else. Rather, the use of the slogan reflects the fact that many white people have been unaware of the extra burdens that many innocent black people must carry due to their treatment at the hands of the police. The slogan is a way of informing others of this reality."

The big problem with discrimination against black people in America and other countries of the New World is the pervasive denial of a huge number of non-blacks of structural racism. One can only properly fight the disease after acknowledging its presence. I'm not one of those people who think race relations in America did not move an inch since 1960s or even 1990s, the situation is much better but it's nowhere near it should be.

When you try to expose "black on black" crimes to show those who "truly kill black people" you should bear in mind that they are basically neighbors killing neighbors and if most blacks live in poor parts of town, with poor schooling and other harsher conditions than average white American, you have a segregation problem that traps blacks into a vicious circle of poor housing/poor schooling/little trust in institutions/rage/violence. Give people the opportunity to compete fairly and serve them justice fairly, that's not asking much and for the matter, I kinda like Trump's nominee for Education and her pro charter schools position as much as I have very little face in Mr. Sessions to improve the justice system for the black folk.

The problem with talking about "structural racism" is that it is basically delusional magical thinking. It is like blaming Jews for all the problems with the world. No one has come up with a consistent or reasonable definition of structural racism. As it cannot be described, it cannot be fought and there is no program aimed to end it - a sure give away it doesn't exist. It is just the go-to explanation when in fact there is no evidence of real racism.

Blacks live in poor housing because the people who live in those houses are poor tenants. We are living in a period where previously worthless inner city real estate is becoming billions of dollars of assets simply by removing the Black residents and replacing them with Yuppies. There is virtually nowhere in America where the housing would not be worth millions if Whites lived there. The same with schools. Schools are poor because students are unmotivated and ill-disciplined. Take a great school and change the students and it becomes worthless. Change the school again and it becomes successful.

But by all means, we should give those Black students who want a good education a chance to get a good education through vouchers. Does anyone really think it will make a difference?

The only thing aside from HBD that makes sense is what Thomas Sowell has often spoke of (and been tarred, feathered, and lynched by the left because of), is the Great Society destroying the black family. As a young parent I see firsthand the influence I hold over my child. When people compliment his excellent manners it is a compliment to my work, not his genes. Welfare destroyed the black family, black self-determination, black pride, and black hope.

When people compliment his excellent manners it is a compliment to my work, not his genes.

NOPE. It's actually genes - sorry to say but your work as a parent doesn't matter much (see Brian Caplan's excellent analysis and proof of this).

I partially agree with the posters, i think tyler is just trying to improve his street cred with NYT. However, most of the posters seem to suffer from amnesia. US state was until the 60s, just like South Africa's apartheid in many ways, and basically, drug laws and your ridiculous justice system ensure it remains an apartheid...

@Inconenient Truth

Every nation has drug laws, and I don't see what's so "ridiculous" about our justice system.

Yes there was a lot of systemic racism in southern states 50 years ago, I agree. But do similar racist institutions exist now?

From now on, all your job applications your must list your name as DeShaun.

If DeShaun is unhappy about the call-back rate on his job applications, wouldn't it be pretty simple for him to just put Shaun instead? I'very never understood this.

There is certainly some number of non-black employers who, sight unseen, will call Shaun in for an interview over DeShaun, and Sean before either candidate, purely due to anti-black prejudice -- perhaps their own, perhaps their clientele's.

That said, one factor that the racism-in-identical-resumes stories seem to overlook is the reality that each employee of color carries with them the risk of a racial discrimination lawsuit, thereby making them potentially more expensive to fire, and therefore, more expensive to hire. The name "DeShaun," in particular, signals that this candidate most likely comes from a household that actively embraces black American identitarianism,* and is therefore likelier (i.e. than a black man with a "white" name) to regard any criticism or perceived slight as being racially motivated.

Of course, there is a risk of lawsuit by *not hiring* DeShaun, but that is one instance rather than a months- or years-long tenure wherein the employer must second-guess every promotion, pay raise, disciplinary action, etc. (I think a similar dynamic helps to explain the male-female wage gap, although the choice of major and pregnancy/time-off-for-the-family elements are probably more important there.)

*I would be interested to see by comparison how DeShaun's resume performed against Mbwana's or Babatunde's

Right after you change yours to something exceptionally low class and recognizably white.

"The problem with talking about “structural racism” is that it is basically delusional magical thinking" you're not far away from saying "there's no such thing as racism".

In fact, the real problem with racial discrimination is when it affects negatively your ability to compete in a free society and it is a reality in America. Is it better than three or two decades ago? Sure it is. Do I expect it to get better in the near future, sure I do and we are surrounded by good signs despite some appalling news here and there.

Assume that blacks like to live in poverty or are too lazy to triumph on their own has been the biggest myth spread both by liberals and conservatives for different reasons.

I would not claim there is no such thing as racism. Look at the mentally challenged man tortured by four Blacks for entirely racist reasons recently. I would claim that White America has made a thorough, deep, comprehensive, good-faith effort to move away from racism in all its forms. To the point that racism does not play a significant role in the White community any more.

If Blacks have a problem competing in a free society it is not because of White racism. Virtually every White-run institution is engaged in a thorough, good faith effort to help Blacks. Which is why this "structural racism" is simply magical thinking. We have massive evidence for affirmative action of various sorts. We have lots of evidence for excuses being found at every level. We have virtually none for racism among Whites being an actual living problem.

I don't think Blacks like to live in poverty. On the contrary I think the fact that they do is a constant source of grievance. But I don't think that many of them are willing to do the sorts of things that will result in them not living in poverty. All too often it is easier to blame Whites for everything and collect free money than to pull up your trousers, go to school, study hard, and keep a job. It is like the feminists who are so concerned about the lack of women in Silicon Valley. They are willing to do anything to solve this problem - except study a STEM subject.

"I don’t think Blacks like to live in poverty. On the contrary I think the fact that they do is a constant source of grievance. But I don’t think that many of them are willing to do the sorts of things that will result in them not living in poverty. All too often it is easier to blame Whites for everything and collect free money than to pull up your trousers, go to school, study hard, and keep a job. It is like the feminists who are so concerned about the lack of women in Silicon Valley. They are willing to do anything to solve this problem – except study a STEM subject."


"They are willing to do anything to solve this problem – except study a STEM subject."

WHOA! Hold on here I was in total agreement but like STEM? Come ON! This isn't the time to get into this argument but STEM is for losers buddy. You really want to convert black people into become part of civilized society by having them presue careers in a field where they'll earn some shitty 60-70K salary and by the time they're in their late 30s they'll be obsolete and too expensive so they'll be training their replacement Raj from Hyderabad before slinking off into permanent unemployment? Look man, major in STEM just means you're a nerd and sucker, Don't ruin your arguments by going down that old path.

I do not think blacks in the USA live in poverty. About two thirds earn middle class or rich incomes and very few people in the USA consume at levels see here:

Blacks in the US have the same average income as most Western Europeans right?

"“The problem with talking about “structural racism” is that it is basically delusional magical thinking” you’re not far away from saying “there’s no such thing as racism”."

What's the difference between "structural racism" and "racism?" "Structural racism" as I understand it, is supposed to imply that certain institutions discriminate against Blacks, but those who claim it don't feel the need to cite any actual evidence for said institutions being racist. All that's required in their mind is to prove that "racism" exists, and, of course, they are the ones who get to decide what "racism" means.

Structural racism is the one that matters and it's not about specific "institutions with head quarters". Institutions are people after all, and racism has been built on prejudice throughout centuries and the same logic of preconceived ideias about particular groups you barely know still is the basis of discriminatory actions against people of specific backgrounds. It's subtle, doesn't need to be loud unless you are an Internet troll.

I like BLMLK Jr.'s reply. It shows what Structural Racism really is. There doesn't have to be any evidence of it. It is subtle, that is, evidence-free. No one has to be actually doing anything. It is like radiation - you can't see it but it is everywhere. It is just an out come you do not like or something that makes you uncomfortable.

Like witchcraft.

Pretty sure you mean it's like the ether. Radiation exists and has real effects.

@So Much For Subtlety

If it was 1975 and you asked a white South African what's racism the response you would get from this very same person in 2017 could be the exact opposite. Racism has very different effects if the racist in cause has power. Get yourself in the side of those racists without a powerful social/institutional structure to make their views advance or go without proper punishment and you will become a joke. On the other hand, the day you find yourself among "the powerful bunch" you will see the difference.

Racism still alive buddy. It was worse decades ago but it's alive well, this forum is the scientific proof of it. Preconceived ideas will help you dig for "evidence-based" excuse to deny it but it will not make the world any better, denial will not solve any problems.

Structural Racism of the sort that Tyler Cowen is indulging in in this post is blood libel 2.0, now against all whites rather than jews.

When Tyler fears the data, he just says the word "tragedy" and bleeds a little. Round of applause.

Remember, the best thing about "structural racism" is that it is immeasurable and un(dis)provable! That's not a bug - it's a feature!

"The big problem with discrimination against black people in America and other countries of the New World is the pervasive denial of a huge number of non-blacks of structural racism."

Why are you singling out the New World? The same pattern occurs in the old world too.

"if most blacks live in poor parts of town, with poor schooling and other harsher conditions than average white American"

How do you prove that the "schooling" is poorer? How do you separate that from the "schooled?" Studies have shown that the large majority of charter schools are no better than neighboring public schools. The ones that do, I strongly suspect, are using un-PC methods like harsh discipline and creaming. I'm disappointed about Betsy Devos who strikes me as a classic cuckservative but luckily education is mostly a local issue.

"Black on black" crime is just smoke and mirrors and conflating issues to blur the fact that state-sanctioned violence is different from violence among the non-LEO citizenry. No one laments "white on white" violence and uses it as a cudgel against white people to justify racial profiling against white people. If the police in this country profiled white people for heroin and contraband the way they profile minorities, the outcry against police violence would be very different.

Scott Alexander wrote up a meta-analysis that found little evidence of racial discrimination in the American justice system:

That said, some of those cell phone videos are terrible. American cops are too violent. But I don't know that it's biased towards or against any race.

'But I don’t know that it’s biased towards or against any race.'

If it was in any way, shape, or form not biased to benefit white people, the police would be promptly replaced for not doing their proper duty. Well, at least in a place like Northern Virginia, that is. Maybe where you live it is different.

Yes, clearly all institutions in a place like Northern Virginia are biased in favor of whites. However, this article claims that there's a blatant bias in favor of black students in Virginia colleges:

The Center for Equal Opportunity, a Washington, D.C., think tank that opposes policies that give preferential treatment according to race, analyzed 1996 admissions data supplied by ten colleges: the College of William and Mary, George Mason University, James Madison University, Longwood College, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Military Institute and Virginia Tech.

Instead of average scores, the study looked at the median score, the number that exactly half the students scored above and half scored below.

At all schools, the median SAT scores for blacks were below the scores for whites.

Obviously the claims in the article are total fabrications because if they weren't, that would mean that prior_test2 is full of shit, which surely cannot be true.

That's not what he concluded though.

"Overall I disagree with the City Journal claim that there is no evidence of racial bias in the justice system"

That's in his summary

If BLM was what Tyler explained it to be I'd support it too.

Just like almost all of these identity group movements. The movement is, at its heart, anti white male.

99.7% of scientists agree that white privilege is an undeniable fact. I am not in a financial position to even question this fact in my workplace.

I am starting to get the feel that Tyler is hyper careful to not say anything that could characterize him as a member of the Alt-right, even though a large number of this blog's audience are Alt-right. BTW, the first time I ever heard of HBD was on one of Tyler's posts. I can't see him bringing that up again these days.

Where did you get the stats on Alt-right visitors to this blog?

I would say alt-Lite rather than alt-Right.

It is so disturbing to listen to the millionaire trust fund mediaites talk about white privilege (because their equally wealthy brown friend catches clerks following him in stores) when there are vast monochromal, poor white communities that suffer, free from any privilege. White privilege is an attempt by high status whites to shit on low status whites to assuage their own guilt and heighten their own privilege. HRC acknowledges white privilege but chelsea still gets an 8 figure wedding and a platform to demean whites who WORK for 30k.

If you're white and only earn like 30K maybe you SHOULD be demeaned. Maybe not as an individual but as a group.

You caputured the whole left in that 1st sentence. Bravo.

I'm not a leftist but like 30K is a joke, if you're earning 30K in America and were born here and are white, and don't have any kind of impairment you're being taken for a sucker.

If you're poor and white you're just a victim of globalization and if you're black and poor you're either lazy or a thug.

Which is why when Charles Murray published an op-ed a few years ago arguing that successful people need to start calling low-education, low-income whites "bums" to motivate them to work harder, there were universal cries of outrage on the right. If Chelsea Clinton demeaned low status whites in this manner, I'm sure you can easily provide an example.

So BLM defenders have moved from show me stats to stats don't matter

I think the problem is that virtually no one here has skin in the game. No one here has worked as a policeman. No one has had to face a man in a dark street who may well be armed, at least not on a regular basis. No one has had to intervene in a dangerous situation in a very bad neighborhood. I doubt anyone has even had a work mate shot dead.

No one here lives in these neighborhoods. In fact I bet no one here even drives through one.

Let those who have worn the blue uniform and patrolled a mile in their shoes cast the first stone.

Yes good point. It's just something to bicker about for a bit of fun.

Well, you also could say "I think the problem is that virtually no one here has skin in the game. Very few people here belong to a demographic (combining age, race and neighborhood) that could make a cop see you as potential danger, shooting you at the first signs of eventual danger"

Sure. So it is just specious status signalling. Policemen do a dangerous and difficult job. But if we strike a meaningless pose in the Staff lounge, we can get brownie points from our colleagues.

You're such a child. Yes, let's not discuss any topic that we don't have direct, personal experience with on a daily basis.

I did not say we should not discuss it. I suggested we ought to be humble in the face of our ignorance of a situation beyond our imagination. We need policemen to do their work. Society is better if policemen do their work. That we should engage in irresponsible and, to us, cost-free status signalling while making sure more poor people die reflects very badly on us.

If people care so much, they should volunteer to be policemen.

After the 7/7 shooting (five officers killed), the Chief of the Dallas PD invited the city's BLM protesters to sign up for the force. Apparently, there was a significant increase in applications during the following weeks, although I'm not sure how that's panned out long-term, especially given the city's high-profile pension troubles.

The fun part is, if you're black in a racially divided Western society, regardless of were you live or work your encounters with the police will be tense, at best. How many black friends do you have sir? Talk to them and avoid your gut instinct that tells you "they're just a bunch of whiners".

Indeed that is true. But when I have talked with Black friends about various things, they do not recount problems with the police. The danger they usually face takes the form of them asking someone to move their car only for that person turning out to be a gang banger who took that as disrespect or the like.

They know perfectly well that the real risk to their life and limb comes from young Black males.

Still by all means, let's agree most of us have no idea what it is like to be Black and dealing with the police on a daily basis. Let's them consider what the BLM alternative is - police-free No-Go zones in American cities. Is there anyone naive enough not to realize what that would mean in practice? Does anyone think that the crime rate would go down? In fact we have done this already and the murder rate has spiked. Civil Rights comes with the death toll. Maybe some of the time that death toll is worth it. Most of the time probably not.

If there is a problem it needs solutions. The only solution here is aggressive policing. The alternative is Chicago.

I can predict your comments the day Tyler blogs about "Mexican bad hombres"... reading your comments I doubt you have "black friends".

Doubt away. I look forward to the day that Tyronne blogs about Bad Mexican Hombres.

In the meantime you continue to have no argument but bad faith accusations of racism.

The "only people at the front lines of an issue deserve an opinion" is and always has been sophistry.

I was a prosecutor. Does that count as sufficiently close to the battle to deserve an opinion?

I agree with your argument, but perceive BLM to be an anti-white male movement which, if given power, wouldn't stop at microaggressions and statistical discrimination. For God's sake, Symone Sanders is a black leader who outright says that white men have no place in DNC leadership and that the Chicago 4 wasn't a hate crime. BLM's motte and bailey is: a black person can't wrong a white person - white people hold societal power. Sorry, but I don't have any power, and HRC, Mark Zuckerberg, and for that matter GMU faculty aren't the ones who are at risk for potential "retributive" violence.

Ah yes centuries of slavery and Jim Crow were erased by a few pen strokes in the 1960's. Or maybe blacks are poor and don't do well in school because their great grandparents could not own property and were whipped by slavemasters for learning how to read. on black crime!

Black family and education indicators were better post slavery than post great society. Do you have any explanation for that?

Yes I'm familiar with the theory that the availability of social welfare programs has a stronger causal relationship with black poverty and dysfunction than centuries of slavery, lynchings and segregation. It is frequently trotted out by racists to paint over their hatred.

So you have no actual counter-argument except bad faith accusations of racism? Fine.

If segregation or White racism was the problem, removing that problem would result in improvement. Perhaps slow but improvement none the less.

That is not what we do in fact see. Segregation was clearly not holding anyone back.

I don't know what is inside your heart but it seems difficult to have good faith arguments with those who discuss racism and (defacto) segregation using the past tense. Those who pretend that LBJ's pen simply washed away the legacy of state-sponsored white supremacy are typically just racists, however pained they are to admit it.

"Segregation was clearly not holding anyone back."

Do you really believe this?

Brandon January 11, 2017 at 4:49 am

So no, you have nothing to say but bad-faith accusations of racism. The world has moved on since LBJ. The West as a whole has made a massive effort to move beyond racism. They have spent trillions of dollars trying to fix the damage done. None of it seems to have made much of an improvement. Anyone who insists it is still 1967 and refuses to acknowledge that White progress and a lack of Black improvement is not being honest or fair.

99 FG January 11, 2017 at 9:37 am

Either segregation was holding Black people back and just when it was abolished something equally massive came along and managed to impede Blacks as much if not more, or there were many things holding Blacks back and segregation was not the main cause or at least not a sufficient cause. It seems unreasonable, but it is hard to conclude otherwise. Admittedly well meaning but stupid White liberals probably are a force as bad as segregation for Blacks.

We are two generations past the end of segregation. We are trillions into spending on the problem. Progress? Not much. The Left has to continue to fight the same old battles - capitalists in top hats taking to the barricades - because to admit as much would be the end of their demands for power.

"Segregation was clearly not holding anyone back."

"It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance" Thomas Sowell.

Read more sir. It will help you.

Golden Elephant January 11, 2017 at 10:05 am

Read more sir. It will help you.

I do like that Sowell quote. The fact remains that if segregation was the main problem, getting rid of it would have resulted in some improvement. Perhaps slow, but it would be there. This is not what happened.

That is not a justification for segregation. It is just the way it is. Something else is keeping Blacks down. Whatever that is, no one seems able to discover. Hence the magical thinking on the Left. It is the Invisible Racist Fairies. There is no evidence but they must be there!

So if you think I need to read more, what would you recommend?

SMFS: Segregation was clearly not holding anyone back.

I'm beginning to think you're a sock-puppet caricature created by some lefty troll from Salon or Mother Jones.

Poor blacks are in the state they're in for the same reasons poor whites are in the state they're in, just with racial conflict acting as an added accelerant. Structural shifts in the economy--deindustrialization, mass automation, corporate consolidation, etc.--dissolve the economic foundation of local community, setting off the downward socio-economic spiral. Social and familial bonds are strained and disrupted. Opportunity evaporates. Desperation leads to self-destructive behavior--crime, substance abuse, casual violence, etc. The lucky and the competent find their way out, leaving the rest to their fate. The community decays, scaring off outside investment which in turn accelerates the deterioration. Dysfunction breeds more dysfunction. Decay leads to more decay. Welfare--be it Medicaid, food stamps, or whatever--is just a band-aid on the tumor.

With blacks, add in the failure of integration since the 1960s. Whites didn't want blacks to integrate and took steps to hamper the process (e.g. redlining, etc.). And, as it turned out, many blacks didn't really want to integrate, either. Hence, the development of black cultural nationalism, "diversity" as an ideology (which is really just "separate, but equal" by another name), and the codification of grievance as a central pillar of African-American ethnic identity via critical race theory, the demand for reparations, and so on.

Poor blacks need what poor whites need: strict paternalistic institutions which keep them in line combined with economic investment and development.

FUBAR007 January 11, 2017 at 11:20 am

By definition Blacks are not in the situation they are in for the same reason poor Whites are in the situation they are in. Many poor Whites are the exception in an otherwise functional culture for one thing.

Blaming structural shifts is more magical thinking. This doesn't seem to bother countries that do not massively subsidize personal irresponsibility, fecklessness and family breakdown. Oddly enough. But we probably agree that welfare plays a role.

I still don't get why people complain about redlining. It means that Blacks got to live in some really nice parts of the world for next to no money. Once it was abolished, they started to get pushed out of places like Brooklyn and now even Oakland. They have been pushed out of Compton. But no matter. It is irrelevant.

Hence, the development of black cultural nationalism, “diversity” as an ideology (which is really just “separate, but equal” by another name), and the codification of grievance as a central pillar of African-American ethnic identity via critical race theory, the demand for reparations, and so on.

And there is the problem.

Poor blacks need what poor whites need: strict paternalistic institutions which keep them in line combined with economic investment and development.

I am not sure I agree with this but one thing is sure - it is not the policeman on the street's fault. He did not drive away industry. He did not fund schools badly or insist that discipline was a White conspiracy. He did not, probably, sneak into the bedroom of teenage Black girls and get them pregnant before doing a runner. He is just dealing with the consequences. It is unfair to blame the man who gets this tontine of bad outcomes for those outcomes. It is like blaming the street sweeper for dealing with dog mess.

SMFS: Blaming structural shifts is more magical thinking.

Bullshit. Socioeconomic outcomes aren't independent of socioeconomic conditions.

This doesn’t seem to bother countries that do not massively subsidize personal irresponsibility, fecklessness and family breakdown.

Ending every welfare program isn't going to magically transform welfare recipients into responsible, self-reliant, and resourceful citizens. Desperation doesn't bring out the best in people; it brings out the worst. Desperation doesn't incentivize responsibility; it incentivizes panic. They'll just turn to crime instead. Sure, you can arrest and incarcerate them, but then they're just back to subsisting on the taxpayer dime. You can't exile them, either, as there's no unclaimed, habitable frontier to deport them to.

Either due to a lack of resources or an outright lack of ability (i.e. addiction, plain stupidity, poor impulse control, whatever), these people are not capable of functioning on their own. Some portion of them just need access to resources, and they'll be fine. For most, though, that's not enough (hence generational poverty). They need to be told what to do and, when necessary, be compelled to do it. That means paternalistic institutions to run their lives unless and until they demonstrate they can do so themselves.

You white Americans have this weird ideological disease which causes you to spit the word "racist" at each other self-righteously every five minutes. You're a sick bunch, enjoy your multiracial empire of lies.

Disproportionate does not imply unfair.

I would respond that statistical discrimination, even if it is rational, does not excuse what are often crimes against innocent people. For instance, a man is far more likely to kill you than is a woman, but that fact does not excuse the shooting of an innocent man.

Yet if MRM men were driven by statistical disparity between men and women killed by cops to run around the streets with banners screeching about misandrist cops and proclaiming "Men's Lives Matter", you can imagine what the response (rightly) would be.

Shouldn't there be a movement called Male Lives Matter?

Agreed. Far more "disproportionately" targeted than Blacks.

We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.

It goes further into the realm of unintentional self-parody in their 'About' page:

In which they blame all their problems on state violence and white supremacy, the very first of which being that "Black poverty and genocide is state violence." Tyler, of course, is careful to include in his post a qualified endorsement which allows him to claim 'support for the movement' while at the same time disavowing anything 'objectionable' within it, which clearly must include several of BLM's foundational principles.

'Superbe! Magnifique!' (with his tongue in his cheek)...

I can't fathom why anyone would assume honorable intent, peaceful means, and just causes from radical Marxists.

For sure, most people who aver support of "Black Lives Matter" would find the hermeneutics of the founders to be mostly crazy if they bothered to read it, so it is true enough to say that is not "what the movement is about."

But then what "the movement" seems to be is the casually informed in support of opposition to a caricature drawn by some monomaniacs. Maybe that's a good thing--it's better than opposing the opposition to the caricature, right?-- but I am afraid I don't share Tyler's enthusiasm.

reducing the problem to a racial issue ensures that nothing substantive will be done about it.

Thereby reinforcing police power to do as they please.

The solution (not the endless round and round of talking points) is to reign in accountability.

ACTUALLY FIRING THE GROSSLY NEGLIGENT might be a good place to start....

Where has Obama been on this? If I were black, I would be nothing but disappointed in his leadership. Maybe that's why they didn't vote for Hilary.

Its not like police unions and criticisms of men in uniform are politically explosive and salient issues in America.

What could Obama do about, no one accused the FBI, so it is not a federal matter.

I think the main problem is much more general: the brutality and easy with which cops recur to violence. I suspect as TC that it is particularly common against black or Hispanic people, but I suspend the judgement because there are so many contradictory studies that you need to dedicate an important part of your time to be able to express a solid opinion.

The problem of cop violence in the US is epidemic. Radley Balko of the WaPo is in my view the best journalist that has chronicled and analyzed the growing militarization of police. Ironically it happened mostly in the last couple of decades, during which violent crimes have declined massively. By the way, I suspect that the cops are not only growing violent, but also coward. In Orlando, for example, they waited few hours before entering the club through a wall with an AFV. They knew the guy had only a semi, a rapid reaction by a swat team or even normal cops could have given the killer the time to kill a couple more hostage at most, possibly nobody. How many people inside the club bled to death in those few hours? I suspect we will never know, no authopsy results have been published as far as I know. Dallas is another example. Sending a remote controlled bomb. Did they think the guy was armed with a Javelin system? They should have tried to capture the guy alive to extract info.

And then the myth of these heroes in the street risking their life to protect. Police is only the 15th most dangerous job in the US. Cops have 13 death every 100.000 employees per year, agricultural workers the double, loggers almost ten times more: And of course they enjoy all the perks of public parasites, first of all the pensions.

I live mostly in Honduras, not a particularly safe place (we have now 80 murders every 100.000 people, for 5 of the last 10 years the country has been the most dangerous in the world except Syria). When I visit the US I am scared when I am approached by a cop. As Jeffrey Tucker once stated, in the US every little transgression can be punished by the death penalty, it only depends on the level of resistance you put up.

You see the problem as a policing problem.If only police were kinder and gentler, not so aggressive in the street and backed off from racial profiling, it would be a better world. This experiment was just ran in Chicago this year. Guess what, murders are up. Criminals love BLM.

I consider private property the most fundamental human right. It is from the property of my body that all other negative rights are derived. So I believe that an effective policing is paramount. I also believe that competing policing agencies would make a better work at much lower prices than the monopoly we have today, but this is another matter.

It is likely that in certains area of Chicago an aggressive preventive policing is warranted, I do not know it for certain, but It may well be the case. And racial, or whatever other type of profiling, is obviously rational, if you have scarce resources you should apply them where the data show they will make the most difference. Young males with obvious "colors" or outfits that suggest they are part of a gang should be checked more than 90 years old ladies in wheel-chairs.

Said that, the aggressive attitude of American cops is widespread. It starts at the airport with immigration officials, and it continues everywhere, poor and conflicting urban areas or safe rural towns.

One might think that this attitude depends on the fact that in the US guns are widespread, so police must be in the defensive, compared to other countries. But this rebuttal does not explain why the increasing militarizion of the police in the last couple of decades, or, for example, why in Switzerland, were almost every male is in the military reserve and therefore has a fully automatic military grade rifle at home, plus all types of hunting gear, crime and policing are absolutely not an issue.

I am not an expert of this issue. But what I can tell you, is that I am more scared by an American cop than a cop in Honduras or Salvador.

Switzerland is a fairly homogeneous country. They don’t have too many non-Europeans foreigners, few Africans. They don’t let foreigners from these countries own guns: Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Algeria and Albania, ( notice Muslim countries).

I quote the WSJ today ( Jason Riley). “ There were 4368 shootings in Chicago last year, according to the Chicago Tribune crime database. Almost of all the shooting victims were black and more than 99% of the shootings were carried out by civilians not cops . Obviously, young black men in Chicago don’t roam the streets in fear of getting shot by the police”

That’s right, their biggest fear by far is not the cops and BLM has nothing to say about more than 99% of the shootings. They can’t make political hay out of it.

I continue from the same article “ in 2012 blacks committed 560,600 acts of violence against whites ( excluding homicides) and whites committed 99,403 acts of violence (excluding homicide) against blacks”
The real question (elephant in the room) is “ Why are African Americans so much more violent than European Americans (whites) ? What does the Libertarian philosophy has to say about this ?. How should we fix it: what is the libertarian view ? Import Swiss policemen. Privatize the police ? Will that fix this violence problem ?

There seems to be a lot of variation in police killing rates by area, even if you control for local violent crime. And of course, European police killing rates are much lower, even controlled for crimes.

It's not unreasonable to conclude that _some_ US policing is too violent and could be improved without sacrificing effectiveness.

"Ironically it happened mostly in the last couple of decades, during which violent crimes have declined massively. "

Fox Butterfield, is that you?

No, I am not. I am just a dude that like to be informed of what he is talking about:

Missing the reference. Sometimes Granger causality is actually causality.

There are a lot of explanations for the decrease in crimes. Violent police behavior is not one of them.

"There are a lot of explanations for the decrease in crimes. Violent police behavior is not one of them."

Jarl, I was referring to the most common reasons proposed by scholars to explain the decrease in crimes. In the wiki post about crime above, you can read the 7 most common, including the famous theory of abortions in the 60s and even one that linked the previous increase to lead poisoning, or something like that. The first explanation is indeed an increase in the number of cops. But the theory that a higher grade of violence by cop has anything to do with the decrease in crime is not part of the 7. The militarization of police is something that seems not to have relationship with the crime context, it looks almost endogenous. Again, Balko is a foremost expert on this, and I consider "the rise of the warrior cop" the best book on the matter, if you have time, try to read it. Here there is a recent article of his: By the way he is not a liberal in the American sense. He is slightly libertarian.

"I live mostly in Honduras, not a particularly safe place (we have now 80 murders every 100.000 people, for 5 of the last 10 years the country has been the most dangerous in the world except Syria). When I visit the US I am scared when I am approached by a cop."

Well, that settles it. You are more afraid of the cops that you are of Honduras. What is statistics in the face one man's claimed fear? Fear is proof that there is something legitimate to be afraid of.

Isn't the problem with BLM that they promote the idea that blacks are unfairly targeted, which isn't true, but leads (this erroneous notion) to blacks resisting police when they shouldn't, leading to more legal problems for blacks?

It sounds like TV is in favor of something that makes life worse for blacks.

BLM is an "idea to be admired and promoted ". TC you really believe that or are you just after more street cred from BBG and NYT

It's signalling. And not necessarily for that, maybe he just wants to be invited to parties by his social circle at GMU. Humans are social animals, those calling him a "coward" should consider whether they'd do the same thing under their real names.

For once tyler - i applaud you. you were able to show the problem every single libertarian from rothbard to hayek to ron paul has: RACE. libertarians have a gigantic race problem. looking closer, its not a race problem. its a black problem.

sure, i mock you for being a krugman/picketty stalker. sure, i mock your grandfather dress code. sure, i mock your assitant/secretary, alex. sure, i mock your pathetic blog.

BUT STILL - BRAVO. showing these fake economists what they really are. "no, the police are great especially since ive never been a black person and have no idea what the fuck i'm talking about"


This is a completely gratuitous and totally groundless attack to libertarians. I am a pretty radical one, who makes you think I am racist? You don't even know me. And what about Lysander Spooner or Benjamin Tucker? Do you think they were racist abolitionists? And Karl Hesse and his work with the New Left against the war in Vietnam? No blacks there? And how in hell could you bring Hayek in this, which by the way was classical-liberal, not libertarian?

It is true that libertarians believe that being a racist is an individual right, because if you have the right of association you also have the right of dissociation, but almost all libertarians I know are not racists. We simply believe that being an asshole is a natural right, provided you do not initiate violence.

You are guilty of making that most peculiar of rethorical fallacies: an ad-hominem attack against an anonymous opponent. Regarding my community college Econ professor, I never formally studied economics in my life, i am simply an entrepreneur. And what does even mean "die gay in slav hell"?

It is you that in the previous post said "every single libertarian". While I aknoledge that Paul might be a bit racist, and maybe Hoppe too, I don't know what you are referring to in the case of Hayek or Rothbard. BTW, one was Jew and the other grew up among Jews.

I'd have thought that it's, ahem, whitewashing your problem with the murderous bullies in your police forces to suggest that the problem is just with, or disproportionately with, black victims, unless the evidence is overwhelming. And anyway, 'disproportionate' to what?

As for BLM, the Admirable Sailer recently carried a rough calculation that BLM, Obama, Holder, and Hillary are responsible for an extra 6,624 American murders in 2015 and 2016. With enormous restraint, he didn't compare that figure with the number of murders perpetrated by the KKK during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I don't know it compares with the death rate of innocents from the bombs and drones of your presidential Nobel Peace Prize winner. But 70 bombs a day, on average, during 2016 must kill a fair few innocents, in a way that might be justified only if the USA were fighting for her existence. But she isn't.

Declarations of interest: the only two American blacks with whom I've held conversations left me in their debt. The only person who ever mugged me was white.

When did the Admirable Sailer get off the boat?

Because we have a long way to go to return to the crime rates of 20 years ago -

Which links to this fairly concise summation of distorted perceptions - 'The headline in this year's Jan. 16th St. Louis Post-Dispatch was frightening by any standard: "Bloody St. Louis sees 7 killings; 3 arrests." The piece went on to detail six shootings over a 13-hour stretch that killed seven people, including a single mother of two and a hotel night manager.

But just as it's never pointed out that thousands of aircraft landed safely on the day of a plane crash, a little perspective can place this tragedy in some context. Violent crime in St. Louis peaked in 1993, and in 2013, the last year for which data is available, the violent crime rate was lower than it was in 1985.

Today, the national crime rate is about half of what it was at its height in 1991. Violent crime has fallen by 51 percent since 1991, and property crime by 43 percent. In 2013 the violent crime rate was the lowest since 1970. And this holds true for unreported crimes as well. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, since 1993 the rate of violent crime has declined from 79.8 to 23.2 victimizations per 1,000 people. Americans who lived through the 1960s and 1970s remember the fear associated with a real surge in violent crime. In fact, the violent crime rate increased by 126 percent between 1960 and 1970, and by 64 percent between 1970 and 1980. The Brennan Center recently issued a report examining 14 theories for why crime declined in the U.S. so dramatically since the early 1990s. According to our empirical analysis, the greatest contributing factors in the crime drop were aging population, changes in income, and decreased alcohol consumption.

This chart shows the dramatic increase, and equally dramatic drop, in violent crime in the U.S. over the past 50 years.'

Dude I love how in a discussion over BLM you thrown in Obama drone strikes - I didn't realise BLM was part of the Obama administration. Great Analysis.

You mean black lives don't matter in Somalia? Glad you've cleared that up.

Black lives don't matter anywhere. I don't know if my post came off as sarcasm I was agreeing with you dude. BLM and the Obama administration are one in the same so when Obama does a drone strike those deaths go on the BLM/Clinton/Obama/Holder scorecard because BLM is guilty of whatever Obama does.

To restate my Declarations of interest: the only two American blacks with whom I’ve held conversations came over and banged my wife while I watched in my housecoat while drinking a glass of Scotch. Yes, I am well Cucked.

Oh God, the megabore is back. I blame that Putin.

Why? Did Putin cuck you too bro?

What does it take to get a ban? A guy whose only shtick is going on about cuckolds and BBC in every single comment isn't enough?

Seems like you've been taking in too much BBC recently Cliff, otherwise I don't know why you're so butthurt

Pure mendacity, Tyler. It's gross.

In Chicago, where I live two-thirds of the time, 700+ black people are dead because of inadequate policing mandated by an agreement between the city and BLM (brokered by the ACLU). (Not every murder of a black person could have been prevented by what one ordinarily thinks of as effective policing, but most could.) I guess black lives don't matter.

"For instance, a man is far more likely to kill you than is a woman, but that fact does not excuse the shooting of an innocent man."

So why not "Male Lives Matter?" Black people are killed by police at roughly three times the rate per capita as white people, but men are killed by police roughly twenty times as often as women. White men are killed by the police at several times the rate per capita at which black women are.

There are good reasons for this. But if we only care about the raw numbers, and not the violent crime rates, then it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the real skew is sex-based, rather than rate-based.

How about just lives matter? Because one of the more striking things about American policing is how often the police kill people - as noted in this handy comparison -

'In the first 24 days of 2015, police in the US fatally shot more people than police did in England and Wales, combined, over the past 24 years.

Police in the US have shot and killed more people – in every week this year – than are reportedly shot and killed by German police in an entire year.

Police in the US fatally shot more people in one month this year than police in Australia officially reported during a span of 19 years.

Police fired 17 bullets at Antonio Zambrano-Montes, who was “armed” with a rock. That’s nearly three times what police in Finland are reported to have fired during all of 2013.'

Or, one could simply link to a picture comparing how a police officer in Germany dealt with a (apparently drunk) man wielding a knife - he shot him in the leg from a few yards away - compared to police in NYC, who killed the (apparently mentally ill) knife wielder.

Of course, Germany is a socialist hell hole, and if the German police officer in the situation documented in the picture had killed the man, the police officer would have instantly lost his job, and been charged with a crime. Which undoubtedly explains why Germany, with its mamby-pamby police policies has a murder rate that .. oops, Germany has a dramatically lower murder rate than the U.S. Particularly the one involving police officers.

Isn't it interesting that a society that can send equipment to the farthest reaches of the solar system and beyond, produce other equipment that can identify people by the pattern of the iris of their eyes or the genetic markers in their saliva and successfully transplant the internal organs from dead people into others still feels compelled to use a rapid chemical reaction to drive a metal pellet through the body of a person that has failed to follow the instructions of a government employee. Technology of the 15th century is used to neutralize people, many of whom are to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Oddly research and development in this area has focused on increasing the lethality of weapons rather than finding alternatives. In the aftermath of a police shooting, the shooter's usual justification is that he was "in fear of his life". If that's in fact true, the policeman should be in another line of work. People with a fear of heights are unlikely to be effective steeplejacks.

Another disturbing facet of police work is the weirdly popular use of canines, a page right out of the Gestapo instruction manual. Of course a dog doesn't have the mental capacity to make decisions based on circumstances. He's trained to bite somebody, a tactic guaranteed to produce an injury. His use in law enforcement is part of a program that is meant to eliminate danger in any form for the police by exposing an innocent and less intelligent being to that danger. Maybe another option would be to lobotomize particularly athletic criminals and use them in the dog's stead. What would be wrong with that?

And it's not just dogs, either.

Wow - Chicago has a murder rate just above DC's in the mid-1980s, in absolute numbers, not as a percentage of population. Let us know when Chicago returns to numbers like 970 as in 1974 or 943 like in 1992. And it looks like Chicago might have returned to the number of murders experienced during the hellish year of 2002.

Sample size of commentators: ~43, dissenting opinions from "tyler be wrong yo" : 0

hmmmmm.....never seen such a unified opinion from this group. i wonder why...

b-but we're not racist. they commit the most crime. i watch law & order. brisco is no racist.

Isn't the joke about L&O that they have more White murderers than really exist in New York?

Whether we are all racist or not is irrelevant. BLM is a terrible movement. It preaches hateful things.

Jason needs to look at the data and cut out the mood affiliation. Yes, its possible that everyone who has ever examined the wildly high rate of crime in the African-American community is wrong and that it really is all racism but unlikely

American whites at it again. Snootily calling each other racist every five minutes.

As noted by others, Tyler fails to substantiate the claim that blacks suffer disproportionately from illegitimate use of force by the police (assumably compared to whites). It is in fact extremely difficult to establish if different races are differentially treated because there are large racial differences in offending rates. Here's another recent study that failed to find evidence for the discrimination hypothesis.

I think the BLM movement is a mistake. Firstly, an excellent case can be made that American cops use too much force--for example, it's just not plausible that American criminals are so much more dangerous than European ones that US cops must kill 100 times more people than their European colleagues. The rules for the use of force are too lax in America. However, by needlessly racializing this problem the BLM movement has failed to make common ground with conservatives and instead has made police violence an unsolvable culture war issue.

Secondly, the recent increase in violent crime in black communities almost certainly has something to do with the BLM's anti-police agitation. Even if the BLM managed somehow to reduce police violence--which is doubtful--such gains would be more than outweighed by the loss of life that the BLM's demonization of the police and valorization of violent criminals has caused.

Yes, it seems police kills too many people beyond accidents or very violent criminals. But, framing the problems as police kills more blacks than whites or latinos is not a way to get mainstream support.

'is not a way to get mainstream support'

Nope, not a drop of racism in America, no sir, we are all completely colorblind here. Why, if we only started talking about how all lives matter, we could reform the police in an instant.

Besides, why should that colorblind mainstream care about them? You know, those who are complaining about something that obviously the mainstream won't care about until the mainstream decides it effects them too?

More white than black people are killed by the police and those killings are probably at least as likely to be less than justified. What if there was a public campaign against police brutality where the demographics of those killed that the campaign highlights reflected the actual demographics of those killed, i.e., they'd be mostly non-black? What if the national media covered the killings of whites or Hispanics by the police under dubious circumstances with the same relentlessness and sensationalism that it employs when covering similar killings of blacks? If the implicit or explicit message of the campaign wasn't "whites are racist pieces of shit", but rather was something like "police brutality affects everybody and needs to be curtailed", would not such a campaign have a better chance for gaining mainstream support than BLM?

The movement is about hatred, not solutions.

"The rules for the use of force are too lax in America. "

No, they're secret.

I think I will never understand (so-called) America and its sad and most lamentable obsession with race, gender, religion, etc. All citizens of a country are siblings and must be treated in a fair and equitable way by the State.

If BLM had their own country it would look like this:

Oh, jimmy, why didn't you include the clip with the spears and the watermelons? You almost got there, but just couldn't bring yourself to do it, eh?

Very impressive, Tyler. I see you've learned your prog mantra very well.

Also impressive is your use of double-think.

Sure, black people are just like white people, only with dark skin.
How come I live as far away from the black side of town as possible ? Oh, just coincidence.

Isn't he in Lagos? Isn't that more skin in the game than Taleb drinking with a cab driver?

A clear proof of the racism in the system is the way the media treats the drug problem in each community. Black people doing cocaine, put them all in jail. White people doing heroine, those poor folks suffering from an opioid epidemic.

Tougher laws for crack cocaine were passed because people like Chuck Rangel demanded it. The main people pushing for such laws were Black because of what crack was doing to the inner cities. Once they got their laws, they started complaining. It is like Chicago with gun control. Everyone wants guns off the streets and out of the hands of criminals. No one is willing to actually punish people. Magical thinking again.

I like the idea of doing heroine I have to say. Wonder Woman for instance. But no matter. There is no actual racial disparity in drug enforcement.

Nicely said. I'm not a fan of yours, but I am a fan of this.

I have no data to go on, perhaps no one does, but there does seem to be a change in police attitude that matters.

Am I romanticizing policing or was there a time that the attitude was that the police officer's first duty was to protect the citizen, including the citizen s/he may be encountering at the time, and when the choice must be taken, take the bullet for the benefit of the citizen?

And now it seems to be more a military attitude, where primacy is the survival of the members of the police team, where the risk is in the citizenry.

If I'm close on this, it makes me sad.

I thought this was a good post. I'm guessing from a lot of the comments here that some were hoping for a different opinion, but I personally am mostly supportive. Maybe Tyler could do a follow-up post to address some of the more common objections?

Tyler "does not doubt" that blacks are victims of systemic racism. "Does not doubt" that something that cannot be well measured or even defined, Tyler does not doubt that it exists. It's a moral proposition, not empirical, that's why he's never doubted it.

Mr. Cowen has cultivated a reputation as one of our more thoughtful and nuanced social commentators. And yet when it comes to BLM, one of the most fraught and yet important social movements of the day, he gives a strikingly facile answer: "My views are pretty simple, namely that I am a fan of the movement." He goes on to back this assessment with obviously erroneous information (in light of Fryer's work etc.) He deliberately fails to contend with any of the real counterarguments against BLM: e.g. that it alienates white citizens whose support would be needed for even basic advances in American racial equality.

Consider also that Cowen avoided discussing BLM until now, when it is simply untenable not to discuss the matter.

The solution is pretty simple. Cowen has negative or lukewarm feelings to BLM but knows that in the media circles in which he aims to move, picking a fight with minority activists is a loser. As an economist his insights mostly lie elsewhere, so this is not the right hill for him to die on. So rather than stir the pot, he goes along to get along and writes a few paragraphs of pablum on BLM. But not without a wink and nod to those who would read closely.

Tyler is sometimes wrong, and I suspect he is here, but I've never known him to be disingenuous as you describe here. If he believed BLM to be wrong, he could easily say nothing about it.

Dude, it may hurt you to acknowledge this but smart people disagree with you all the time. Stop making weird conspiracy theories.

Doesn't a conspiracy theory have to include, you know, more than one person? The whole "conspiracy" party

"Conspiracy theory" is like "racism" a meaningless word used to avoid having to think critically.

More likely that Tyler actually agrees with BLM and doesn't mention it too much, because it's tangential and alienating. Tyler is a libertarian and libertarians are usually skeptical of over-policing. See Alex's posts on the same.

It's also a median position that American police are over-aggressive against minorities.

A median position that is not grounded in facts.

Even if there was incontrovertible evidence that police used more force on Blacks, this doesn't address whether that elevated force was necessary and proper in each circumstance. It also doesn't allow for reasonable variation in the use of force according to a police officer's discretion.

I have recently seen videos of people being slammed to the ground by police officers. The suspects are clearly resisting arrest. The only question that remains is whether the force used is excessive. It is quite presumptuous for an average citizen to determine whether an application of force is justified when their life and the lives of others are not on the line. It's even harder to gauge with any precision the quantity of force used. Something might appear violent but actually be reasonable. Take, as an extreme example, pro wrestling where the impression of great force is contrived.

Cops may escalate force as necessary to control the situation. Tables can turn on a cop in less than one second in a physical melee. Cops do not need to allow the suspect that opportunity. They have the authority and discretion to put suspects into submission.

I happen to agree with that the cell phone videos I have seen show nothing in almost all cases. If anything, BLM has LOWERED my belief that police use excessive force. But that doesn't change that it's still a median position that police use excessive force so it's not unusual to think Tyler holds it as well.

The problem with Black Lives Matter is that it is a name without a leadership, which means that within the group there are always people vying for a prominent leadership position, often by getting a name for him/herself by doing the most extreme or notorious behavior, like shutting down streets or highways.

Moreover, BLM, as an ephemeral movement, has shied away from aligning with more traditional civil rights organizations, and in some cases challenging them, which means that in the future, when BLM fizzles, a generation of young blacks will not have attached themselves to or identified themselves with the more civil rights organizations.

You made very good points.

The biggest issue with BLM is that it is just so tribal and chauvinistic.

They need to figure out how to deliver their message without being so antagonistic.

Food for thought:

Have you actually looked at the BLM website? Have you been following their association with BDS? I am all for BLM as a principle, but the movement itself is quite deplorable.

Here here. I agree with the principles Tyler wrote above, but the movement as a whole embraces shutting down highways and holding innocent people hostage.

The movement also has a large violence and crime problem. It occasionally addresses the violence, but it embraces and excuses riots.

That's right, Tyler. Be infinitely devoted to your beloved masters.

Looks like a post where I have to wait until comment #300 is up to wade through this efficiently...

Two things used to prove everything that never prove anything - the Bible; statistics.

So, a Washington Post article -

Two interesting things -

First, the police do not believe they have a structural problem - 'Two-thirds of the nation’s police officers say the deaths of black Americans during encounters with police are isolated incidents, not a sign of broader problems between law enforcement and black citizens, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday.'

Second, even when a majority of American citizens think the police have a problem, 2/3 of the police disagree with them - 'When a separate Pew poll asked Americans overall about black individuals who died in police encounters, 60 percent said the deaths represent broader problems between police and black citizens. But only 31 percent of police officers say the same, Pew found.

Police expressed cynical views of protests across the country following controversial deaths. The poll finds that 92 percent say protests have been motivated at least in part by long-standing anti-police bias; only 35 percent say protesters were motivated by a genuine desire to hold officers accountable.'

Clearly, the police have no problem with how the police act.

"the deaths represent broader problems between police and black citizens"

That's a pretty broad statement. There are definitely problems between black citizens and the police.....'

It would have been easy for them to ask a more specific question about whose fault it is, so why didn't they? Because it's pollaganda.

BLM is "essentially libertarian" much the same way that Donald Trump is essentially a poor Hispanic woman.

Tyler knows this, but the status anxiety he would feel by saying anything critical of BLM in public is absolutely paralyzing. So instead, he writes this drivel.

(I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt here.)

I don't know why it's so hard for libertarian blog readers to believe that a government service (the police) does a poor job in the more difficult neighborhoods.

If the post office can't even do a good, efficient and fair job, why would the police?

Understand that the readers here hate minorities first and fore most. Any sympathy with libertarianism is merely with the aspects of libertarianism that might hurt minorities but the core political beliefs of the readership here is "I hate blacks" first and foremost.

The question is about whether it does a worse job "serving" Black people. Does the post office?

It seems to me like public services in general are much worse in poor areas.

Schools are another good example.

Ain't this post, like probably many others, just one ol' hook?

Why get hooked?

I think the best plan for the country is to concede vaguely in, similar ways to Cowen, the validity of the BLM movement and to swiftly break up and weaken the activist base by bringing in the more rational reasonable parts of BLM into the system and process.

Sure! Right after you start singing the praises of Donald Trump and his MAGA movement.

You know -- to weaken his activist base, and bring the more reasonable parts of his agenda into the system and process.

Hop to it, now!

Because conceding and praising are the same thing!

Isn't the last four months of people nauseous virtue signalling about poor white people, their feelings and their horrible health outcomes enough?

If Americans had broadly "conceded vaguely in, similar ways to Cowen, the validity of the BLM movement", it would have lasted about a week.

Unfortunately it came at the very same time as the Alt-Right movement.

This helped extreme elements in both movements expand their control.

To the point where a very moderate statement like Cowen's can't be taken at face value. Amply demonstrated on this page.

To be clear about what I am saying, the push-back to BLM was immediate.

And that immediate push-back shaped its subsequent iterations.

Probably because it was a bollocks case defending a man who brutally assaulted a shopkeep. Entirely founded on lies like "hands up!"

I also think women face some discrimination but the "73 cents on the dollar" claim is also bollocks.

The problem is once you buy into certain beliefs about systemic racism, you'll believe whatever stupid bullcrap BLM spouts off.

"In 2013, the movement began with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin"

Based on what we learned since, Zimmerman was probably not the ideal of nonviolent social responsibility.

Still, a Hispanic guy attacked by a black male teenager at night for little reason is probably not the best start for the movement

"to swiftly break up and weaken the activist base by bringing in the more rational reasonable parts of BLM into the system and process. "

Balrimore had had Black mayors for decades. How is that working out for them?

So many racists on this site. But then why would I be surprised given the election.

Who has said anything racist? "Those who deny the existence of robots may be robots themselves" is that the idea?

If you wanted to persuade us you're not serious and don't know what you're talking about, it's well executed here.

Well, gee. Now that YOU'VE told us who's serious and who's not, our ignorant veils have been lifted.

I am also disappointed in Tyler's summary of his thinking but I would highlight slightly different aspects of the issue. My issue with BLM is two fold. It appears to have no problem with promoting itself through fabrication and bullying; E.g. the 'hands up, don't shoot' of the Michael Brown case. Second, and more seriously to me, is it clearly not concerned about black lives. It has become an anti-policing movement, which if that is what they want to be is fine, but such a movement is not one whose motivation is about black lives. A debate about black lives that discusses only the very serious but statistically small percentage of black homicides caused by police while ignoring the larger impact of policing on homicides is dishonest.

Going back to what Tyler said. He is correct that "Police in this country kill, beat, arrest, fine, and confiscate the property of black people at unfair and disproportionate rates" which is true based on population. It is also a weighted phrasing of the problem. It would be equally accurate to say ‘Black people in this country commit murder, deal drugs and commit larceny, primarily against other black people, at disproportionate rates’. Is there any doubt that both phrases describe highly correlated, if not the same, problems? Should the response to the two phrases be different? How would supporters of BLM react to the second observation?

From Heather MacDonald:

...fatal police shootings make up a much larger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths than black homicide deaths. According to the Post database, in 2015 officers killed 662 whites and Hispanics, and 258 blacks. (The overwhelming majority of all those police-shooting victims were attacking the officer, often with a gun.) Using the 2014 homicide numbers as an approximation of 2015’s, those 662 white and Hispanic victims of police shootings would make up 12% of all white and Hispanic homicide deaths. That is three times the proportion of black deaths that result from police shootings.
The lower proportion of black deaths due to police shootings can be attributed to the lamentable black-on-black homicide rate. There were 6,095 black homicide deaths in 2014—the most recent year for which such data are available—compared with 5,397 homicide deaths for whites and Hispanics combined. Almost all of those black homicide victims had black killers.
Police officers—of all races—are also disproportionately endangered by black assailants. Over the past decade, according to FBI data, 40% of cop killers have been black. Officers are killed by blacks at a rate 2.5 times higher than the rate at which blacks are killed by police.
Some may find evidence of police bias in the fact that blacks make up 26% of the police-shooting victims, compared with their 13% representation in the national population. But as residents of poor black neighborhoods know too well, violent crimes are disproportionately committed by blacks. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks were charged with 62% of all robberies, 57% of murders and 45% of assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009, though they made up roughly 15% of the population there.
Such a concentration of criminal violence in minority communities means that officers will be disproportionately confronting armed and often resisting suspects in those communities, raising officers’ own risk of using lethal force.
The Black Lives Matter movement claims that white officers are especially prone to shooting innocent blacks due to racial bias, but this too is a myth. A March 2015 Justice Department report on the Philadelphia Police Department found that black and Hispanic officers were much more likely than white officers to shoot blacks based on “threat misperception”—that is, the mistaken belief that a civilian is armed.
A 2015 study by University of Pennsylvania criminologist Greg Ridgeway, formerly acting director of the National Institute of Justice, found that, at a crime scene where gunfire is involved, black officers in the New York City Police Department were 3.3 times more likely to discharge their weapons than other officers at the scene.
The Black Lives Matter movement has been stunningly successful in changing the subject from the realities of violent crime. The world knows the name of Michael Brown but not Tyshawn Lee, a 9-year-old black child lured into an alley and killed by gang members in Chicago last fall. Tyshawn was one of dozens of black children gunned down in America last year. The Baltimore Sun reported on Jan. 1: “Blood was shed in Baltimore at an unprecedented pace in 2015, with mostly young, black men shot to death in a near-daily crush of violence.”
Those were black lives that mattered, and it is a scandal that outrage is heaped less on the dysfunctional culture that produces so many victims than on the police officers who try to protect them.

Can supporters of BLM point to one legislative accomplishment of the movement? No. Then there is nothing to conclude other than that the movement itself has been a miserable failure, and probably succeeded in turning conservatives away from criminal justice reform. I share their concerns and agree that reform is needed, but I fundamentally disagree with their methods.

TC, I salute you. I generally find your posts interesting but frustrating. But this is a great and useful post. Hopefully it inspires some readers to review their priors about BLM, structural racism, etc or at least understand that there are thoughtful people who disagree with their priors on these topics. I would also add that this is one of the best written post I've ever seen on this blog. It's clear and to the point and does not trail off into obscure allusions. I hope this style is a trend.

Thank you for your kind words, but no not a trend, sorry...!

"It’s clear and to the point and does not trail off into obscure allusions."

Perhaps. But it also contradicts the data, much of which is listed above.

As the DOJ study in Philly noted, the police there shoot more people than elsewhere, but black officers were more likely than white officers to shoot black suspects.

I don't think "the data" shows what you think it shows. Many researchers have concluded that police kills African-Americans, especially unarmed African-Americans, in disproportionate numbers.

"Hopefully it inspires some readers to review their priors about BLM, structural racism, etc or at least understand that there are thoughtful people who disagree with their priors on these topics."

It's a four paragraph post that makes no arguments I haven't seen made a thousand times elsewhere and cites no data. The only notable thing about it is that Tyler Cowen wrote it, the chance that he actually believes it is somewhere between 0 and 1 percent and closer, I think, to 0.

The upshot of a great deal of cognitive research is that logical arguments and facts aren't very good at causing people to change their minds. People are naturally predisposed to maintaining their beliefs and are really good at justifying them. In fact, throwing logic and facts at people tends to cause them to shut down and harden their opinions. One thing that does work, however, is when a trusted authority adopts a differing point of view. That is somewhat successful in making people think and reexamine their points of view. I see a TC as having some authority and credibility to the readers on this blog. I think the mere fact that TC believes that BLM has a legitimate critique is much more likely to cause readers to reconsider their priors than a long argument with lots of factual citations.

"For instance, a man is far more likely to kill you than is a woman, but that fact does not excuse the shooting of an innocent man."

You should have considered this point some more, as it would have shed a more nuanced light on your whole discussion. No, the fact that a man is more likely to kill me (or a cop) does not excuse shooting an innocent man. But it probably goes a long way in explaining why 95%+ of those killed by police are men.

Unless the objective were to promote a lot of banter on this blog, the better approach would have been to carefully examine the data, rather than use the rubric of BLM, which seems to stand for lots of things besides the facts.

We should not rest until the number of men and women killed is identical.

Zero would be nice.

I sympathize with Tyler on this one, although BLM sometimes seems hypocritical in its statements and actions.

In general the mistreatment would be a lot less harsh if:
- urban areas had stricter gun laws (largely taking lethality out of the officers work-day)
- higher requirements for becoming a police officer (better education, better pay)
- more codified law than the anglo-saxon common law caused informality, which makes justice intransparent and litigation expensive

The wholesale replacement of the police with a different group of people via "better education, better pay" reminds me of the call, which has been made at least all my life, for a whole different group of people to become teachers. The notion has latterly been extended to daycare workers: somehow a (large) group of exceptional and educated women - who have no interest in caring for their own children - must be found to care for strangers' children, in place of the very sweet, mostly preternaturally-patient, and rather stupid young women who currently do it. The Atlantic mag, I recall, in recent years made a similar argument vis-a-vis our armed forces.

How many of these "better people" are there waiting to be tapped for all these endeavours? I tend to think it would not be a sign of a healthy society if the "best" people - whoever they are - are drawn to criminal justice work, but that's just my own antipathy to that world, perhaps.

Feminizing the police force, as we have office work, might be interesting.

But if these new police are so smart - well, they probably would have the sense to stay far away from a lot of the situations the police get into these days, which might be good for their image, but mean they were not as devoted to their "duty" as we like our heroes to be.

"a lot less harsh if: – urban areas had stricter gun laws (largely taking lethality out of the officers work-day)". Good grief, how do you think that laws will disarm criminals who already own their weapons illegally?

If the laws were enforced they might work. But they are not. The Democrats do not want to punish their supporters by jailing them. They need to appear to their other richer supporters (who are the usual victims of urban crime) that they are doing something.

So that is why they concentrate on disarming rural deer-hunting Republican voters.

A mandatory five-year jail term for anyone with an illegal pistol would be popular with Republicans, would cut crime, and would reduce the number of young Black men dying. But it would not be popular with Democrat voters and so it won't happen.

The NRA (read Republicans) would actually be the main reason this wouldn't happen.

The NRA has always been in favor of enforcing laws against people who illegally own guns.

This is a blatant falsehood.

No it's blatant truth.

"A mandatory five-year jail term for anyone with an illegal pistol would be popular with Republicans"

So then let them pass legislation in states under their leadership that proscribe such a penalty. The DoJ program to prosecute common criminals illegally possessing handguns in federal court started under President Clinton. Are Republicans waiting -- like good limited-government federalists -- for a significant expansion of the DoJ and federal court system to handle all of these gun law violations or are they actively advocating legislation at the state level?

Back when Eric Garner was legally, but accidentally killed, I was sort of on board with your feelings about it. What put me off though, is that the legal realities of his death are not dealt with by the BLM at all. Eric was the guy allegedly selling single cigarettes on the street. A proper protest could be production as activism, in which tax-free (and therefore cheap) cigarettes are made and sold in NY. You could put Eric's face on the packs, and point out how nobody should end up dead just because of the NY government's greed.

But they didn't do that. They went to the Mall of America and played dead on the floor. They keep talking about Black lives mattering, but when they start talking about what they want done, they talk about things that will end up killing more people- especially more black people. Meanwhile, the media coverage of the riots encourage Americans- middle class and up- to think they want a militarized police force between them and the poorer areas of their cities. The wall at the border isn't going to be the only wall- we'll have walls all over the place, if people don't wise up. The technology is out there, the defense industry needs something to do instead of poking at Russia, and I doubt the media could do a better job of marketing it if it were trying. I don't think the media is trying, but the media has this unfortunate incentive to promote fear and chaos, because that's when people pay attention to the news.


I have no idea what kind of nonsense you just spouted, but I'm pretty sure it's BS since you didn't seem to grasp the basic idea behind the Eric Garner outrage.

For your simple mind: the BLM movement asked people to do a simple thought experiment. Imagine if Eric Garner were a white dude selling single cigarettes, an illegal act, no doubt, but one that would hardly result in the police choking him to the point of death. That would likely never happen because police wouldn't treat a white criminal suspect where the crime is not that flagrant in such an aggressive violent manner. The fact that there are Eric Garner incidents in the black community often tells you that the police are biased against blacks. BLM is bringing awareness to that fact.

Instead of at least dealing with this central idea, you went off on some comfy tangent about walls, Mall of America, blah, blah, blah.

He was not choked to death, he had a heart attack


Oh yeah. He's had a heart attack... was going to happen anyway. Could have been anywhere. It was just BLM's luck that the heart attack happened while the cops were choking him. Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

Thank you for talking about this so thoughtfully, Dr. Cowen.

BLM is just the current version of the Black Panthers, but with less snazzy clothes. It will have an equal impact

Is it possible that everyone is right?

Police in the US shoot far too many people.

Crime rates in african american communities are appalling.

The intensive policing strategy works, but it hasn't changed the fundamentals except in police departments. It seems to be okay to shoot someone for shoplifting.

This is a tough problem. The decay of cities happened because of out of control crime. New York became a place where people wanted to live because of the effective response to crime.

I heard an interview with a Chief of Police, I think Milwaukee. He says that the 911 system is broken and is driving policing strategies. Most of these situations could have been dealt with peacefully if there were resources and time. But there isn't, so they turn sour. These are tough situations to deal with; when police are involved there has been a failure of some kind and the people involved are emotional, distraught and probably out of control.

When a population decides that it is occupied by a foreign power it will respond predictably. That seems to be the dynamic here. If the solutions considered started from that assumption, how different would they be?

Anyone who cries racism in this question has nothing to add and needs to be vigorously removed from the conversation. If the solutions started from the assumption that race has nothing to do with it, how different would they be?

The electorate, many of them who remember the out of control crime situation a few decades back, are enjoying the current situation where you can go about your business without fear for the most part. Any solution that changes that will be turned upon with vigor and vehemence and quickly stopped. That is why the BLM movement has met hard resistance. All they seem to be offering is blame and increased crime.

Tyler -- there may be valid concerns. But to suggest we shouldn't condition this on some "formula" or "adjustment" is obtuse. Without considering key variables (such as crime rates by ethnicity), you could easily make similar statements that would sound absurd. You could simply take out the word "black," for example, and replace it with "men." See:

I could easily say this:Police in this country kill, beat, arrest, fine, and confiscate the property of men at unfair and disproportionate rates.

Again -- there are valid concerns about police brutality, but as an economist, you're obligated to back up your statement that police treatment of blacks is "unfair" relative to other races. And you haven't.


One of the central points of BLM is that your "crime rates by ethnicity" statistic is deeply flawed and biased, as it does not count all crime, but crimes that police choose to document, pursue, and arrest someone for.

No evidence for that. Your argument is that actually whites commit a lot more violent crimes but police don't care about white people so they never get reported?

Certainly true for drug possession. It stands to reason it's true for a lot of other crimes.

"I don’t doubt that many policemen perceive they are at higher risk when dealing with young black males, and that is part of why they may act more brutally or be quicker to shoot or otherwise misbehave.  I would respond that statistical discrimination, even if it is rational, does not excuse what are often crimes against innocent people.  For instance, a man is far more likely to kill you than is a woman, but that fact does not excuse the shooting of an innocent man."

I have read this over and over, I've held it up to the light, I've looked for elucidation in the comments, and I still don't have the faintest idea what Tyler is talking about. Of course no one wants an innocent man to be shot. But that has got nothing to with the real world.

Let's say that a cop is confronted by a person who is out of control, shouting violent threats against people, brandishing what looks very much like a gun, and who refuses to drop it. Tyler seems to be saying the cop would be acting wrongfully if he waited longer before shooting the person if it was a woman than a man.

Of course that sort of statistical discrimination is excusable. It's more than excusable, it is the right thing to do.

Jesus. For people who constantly whine about government oppressing you with taxes and regulations you sure are quick to dismiss actual government oppression that impacts people's physical bodies. You all incessantly go on about the difference between private and government force yet here you try to deny government force is a problem by pointing to private actions (Black people shoot each other! Whaaa!). It's like you all became flaming socialists all of a sudden. I wonder what it is about this specific issue which makes you disregard your rhetoric and priors? I'm sure it has nothing to do with your feelings about Black people. No. Absolutely nothing.

I think cops kill too many people. I don't think the relative number of people they kill of different races or sexes is clearly disproportionate given behavioral differences. A movement based around seemingly false narratives and racial identity does not seem to be a good way to effect positive change, and seems just as likely or more likely to increase societal division.

>you try to deny government force is a problem

You are something of a dope -- what is being denied is that partisan agitprop groups like BLM are a solution.

So what is the point of mentioning "Black on Black crime" if not to whitewash government killings? Other than to deny government violence is a problem.

"I’m sure it has nothing to do with your feelings about Black people. No. Absolutely nothing."

Feelings. It always comes down to feelings. Don't bother us with facts, logic, or reason, what matters is that we have the Correct feelings and you don't.

I think that the police and the legal system in the USA kill and harm people more than is optimal to minimize the harms from crime, but I am not convinced that it is more of a problem among blacks (seeing that blacks benefit from law enforcement among blacks, most black victims of crime are.) Now seeing that blacks interact more with police, if they are kill and harm people more than is optimal more of the burden will fall on blacks but the problem seems more general to me.

I think that if you identify the problem as only with blacks you may improve the situation.

Also as a male I expect to get more scrutiny from law enforcement than a female.

BTW ending the war on drug might help.

Totally agree with Tyler's perspective.

One thing I would add is that "blue live matter" and "all lives matter" are sort of like going to a cancer research benefit dinner and loudly proclaiming that "heart disease matters". It is true that heart disease matters, but it is gauche to undermine the focus on cancer in this venue and context. The folks trying to raise awareness and money for cancer will be annoyed.

That analogy only works if those people are going to BLM events and saying that. By the way you are trying to make the analogy work, you'd have to say it is gauche to have a heart disease research dinner anywhere at all given the existence of a cancer research benefit dinner, or that someone who says to his friends "I think cancer and heart disease are an issue and we should try to put resources and efforts towards both rather than choosing one over the other" is being impolite.

You are truly unaware of counter-protests?

Some ended well.

Counter protests still aren't analogous. Man the hard left troll quality has decline precipitously in the last decade.

And white lives matters is derangedly attacked any time it is used.

Ok, let's back up. A group of citizens feels their civil rights are violated. As is traditional in an open society, they protest.

Some other people actually think they should get out and counter-protest the "rights violated" group.

Yeah, that is exactly like disrupting the cancer dinner. Maybe worse, without an interest in curing anything.

The only thing analogous to the cancer benefit would be going into a BLM meeting and protesting or shouting "All Lives Matter" or whatever.

A counter-protest would be like, if federal funding for cancer research were cut and protestors went out to show their disfavor with that change, counter-protestors showed up with signs showing support for balancing the budget.

The essential point is that I believe Gil is trying to say there is something impolite about people generally saying "All Lives Matter" in response to the existence of the "Black Lives Matter" movement, likening it to showing up at the cancer dinner. I don't think so. I think, for some at least, it expresses the idea that to the extent the overuse of force by police is a problem, it is a problem for all races, and that the movement for change should not be based on racial identity or sloganeering.

Anyone else notice how the NFL was less pink this October? People got sick of that shit.

Likewise. Grateful for this important and spot-on post from Tyler. Thanks for the solid analogy too.

It is not clear to me that black people are shot more often in less-than-perfect interactions with police than white people are. But I do believe that black people encounter greater unfair negative interactions with police in general, and so they are more sensitized to the issue.

I believe the problem is a lack data-driven training of police. First, data on police shootings are not well collected on a Federal level. Second, police firearms training tends to be "shoot first before you are shot" as opposed to "shoot only when you have to" or "effective methods to defuse the encounter so no one gets shot".

I appreciate Tyler trolling the commenters once again, but to me BLM is a mixed bag. Policing across the country is in serious need of reform, but that focus often gets sidelined by the same old identity politics nonsense that has attached itself to the movement. Basic reforms like body cameras, reducing the power of police unions, and curbing civil asset forfeiture get a very tiny percentage of the discussion, and instead everyone is screaming about racism, as if that has a policy solution.

Also, BLM supporters make no distinction between cases where the killing was unjustified (e.g., Eric Garner) or justified (e.g., Michael Brown). This conflation is not going to promote reform.

So if we made major-city police forces 100% black, we would see police shootings drop...correct? I'll take the other side of that bet.

Jason Riley (who is black) today in the WSJ about police shootings and crime. Somehow he doesn't support BLM

Good Article, thanks for sharing

We won.


Putin won - though his slogan about making a country great again does not involve chants of 'Lock her up.'

Unlikely that Tyler reads this far down the comment thread, and undoubtedly a repeat, but....

When I see "unfair and disproportionate rates," I ask myself if Tyler is begging the question. This *is* the real question we want answered: are the rates unfair and disproportionate? Tyler believes the answer is yes, but does not tell us why.

Should we see blacks being shot at the rate they appear in the general population, or at the rate they commit violent crime and therefore interact violently with police.

And even after settling on one of these, we have to ask how racism can be the motivating factor if black police are more likely than white police to shoot blacks.

It seems we've leaped over these important questions to argue that BLM deserves support when it's rise preceded - not followed - a sharp reversal in the once falling violent crime rate.

Maybe it's that Straussian Irony thing again....

Tyler's post is so incongruous by his own standards, one wonders if he is secretly signalling his opposition to BLM.

Watching a bunch of white people, who go out of their way to avoid people like me, fight with one another over who is the greater friend of the black man, is hilarious. Reading the comments is like watching hockey for me.

Like Pittsburgh Penguins hockey or more like Toronto Maple Leafs hockey?

How hilarious are the ones who make it clear they don't like black people?

Usually I see Tyler back provocative posts with data. Not so here. Surprised that he would weigh in on such a flammable topic without showing his work.

Thank you for this. It's fascinating to watch supposed advocates of "small government" dismiss these very obvious concerns about oppressive government.

People are talking about BLM not police brutality. I haven't seen many people say police brutality is not a problem.

Actually many like SMFS are claiming BLM is worthless because police aren't too brutal, they are just doing their jobs.

Actually I do think a lot of police work is too brutal. Too often police behave as if they are an occupying Army. But I don't think they do so on racial grounds. I think they are inclined to do so in direct proportion to the risks they perceive. Certainly the police are much nicer to me now I am old than they were when I was young.

I would like to see more police training on de-escalation. I think that the use of force is too often the first choice.

However whatever else can be said, the solution is not for a group of incredibly privileged people to sneer at a lot poorer people actually enforcing the law. The people who read this created this economy, they created these laws, they created these governing structures. The blue collar workers patrolling the cities did not. They are not to blame. If we don't like the system, we need to change it. And before we criticize the police, we really ought to walk a mile in their shoes.

I wonder if the sympathy for BLM (in spite of seemingly racially balanced stats on police shootings) is due to the idea (possibly real) that class is disproportionately trumped by race when dealing with law enforcement. I.e., a white male with middle class trappings (clothes, car, speech, posture) is much more immune to a 'bad' police reaction than an otherwise identical black male.

Thank you for this post Tyler.

Wow, did this hit a nerve!

Facts first. I recommend "The Truth About Black Lives Matter" by Joshua Muravchik in the January 2017 issue of Commentary Magazine. It is sad reading.

I also recommend the writings of Heather MacDonald on the issue at City Journal.

I view BLM as a cousin of the 1960s Black Panthers, in that they both apologize for black gangsterism. In the aftermath of the Panthers, black lives were lost in large numbers in the killing fields of American cities. After BLM mobilized, we have seen a surge in black violence in black neighborhoods. Chicago is certainly in news, but other cities also. I very much believe that black lives matter, and I believe it so much that I condemn BLM for its cold hostility toward the forces that restrain black violence.

MR has one of the weirder comment sections on the internet.

Tyler makes the gobsmackingly obvious point that black Americans are subject to police violence at a rate that is disproportionate to their percentage of the population.

The usual suspects around here then shift the goalposts and say that black folks have more trouble with the cops because black folks commit more crimes in the first place. A veiled “they had it coming” sentiment.

None of them seem interested in asking the natural follow-up question: why do black folks appear to be more likely to be associated with criminality (as perpetrator or victim) than white folks?

To me the answer is obvious: centuries of deliberate policymaking have created and preserved a permanent black underclass. That underclass, like underclasses everywhere, has problems with criminality. I have yet to hear a plausible alternative explanation.

"Tyler makes the gobsmackingly obvious point that black Americans are subject to police violence at a rate that is disproportionate to their percentage of the population."

He never said "to their percentage of the population" which is why he got the response that he did. Logically, you would not expect it to be proportionate so indeed it would be blindingly obvious and pointless to say.

"To me the answer is obvious: centuries of deliberate policymaking have created and preserved a permanent black underclass. That underclass, like underclasses everywhere, has problems with criminality. I have yet to hear a plausible alternative explanation."

That is rather orthogonal to the point at hand. Your point seems to be that police are NOT the problem that causes this disproportionality. Rather, policies that promote a black underclass are the problem. So you seem to be in agreement.

No other topic that Tyler would post about would get his readers THIS angry. There's a reason they get so hyper-triggered by any talk of black people. Their whole world is built around an innate fear of the BBC.

Marginal Revolution is for them a Safe Space - exactly like those coddled college kids the MR readership also demands MR be kept as a Safe Space for them. Tyler has triggered them and now the shadow of the feared BBC has come to the fore.

I guess that is what explains why you are so angry. Is anyone else angry?

First: people are innately afraid of the British Broadcasting Corporation?

Also, this certainly isn't the most racist thread on the internet, but is pretty bad. I can't believe I actually read the phrases "race traitor" and "Segregation was clearly not holding anyone back." I know racists are far more active online than most people (that's what the alt right *is*), but really, here?

Just a quick primer to racists: believing that black people are inherently more criminal is, by definition, racism. If you believe that black people suffer from economic troubles at greater percentages than white people because they are less capable/competent/hard working, then you are, by definition, racist. If you fail to see how the first issue (if true) correlates with the second and how the second comes from a history of explicit racism (including slavery, segregation, redlining, lack of reparations...) in the US then you are at the very least not that bright. More likely you are racist.

As for the reasons that blacks tend to have much higher rates of criminal and violent behavior one is their lower average IQ of 85 compared to 100 for whites. Lower IQ's are associated with higher rates of criminal behavior. Another reason is the 2R allele of the MAOA gene which has a frequency of about 5.5% among US black males as compared to .1% among US white males and virtually 0% among Americans of Northeast Asian descent. Yet another reason is the somewhat higher androgen levels in US black males as compared to US white males.

T.C. You really stepped in it looks like. Thanks for having the courage to make your position known on this controversial subject. Unfortunately this thread is not unlike most of all the other discussions around race relations. With everyone so deeply entrenched in their own views and most concerned about proving their point I'm afraid there will only be more pontificating than solutions. "We" all would do well to always remember 100% of all statistics can be used to support any position 50% of the time. I guess Officer Slager truly was justified when he shot Walter Scott in the back 8 times at 10-15 yards. It was so obvious that his life was in danger from the video.

That was one of the worst ones, no question, but still an anecdote. The things the 'anti BLM' people are contesting is 1. is there really a systemic problem or just anecdotes and 2. even if there is a problem, BLM is a terrible movement and not helping matters

I'm with Tyler on this but that's where the opposition is coming from.

I think he stepped into it because his position doesn't seem very well thought out. He refers to "unfair and disproportionate rates" without explaining what a fair and proportionate rate would be, and without providing any evidence or even discussion to support his claim.

He then proceeds to make arguments about innocent people, but he never even claimed that "Police in this country kill, beat, arrest, fine, and confiscate the property of INNOCENT black people at unfair and disproportionate rates," much less supported that claim. So it just seems like a confused point. And when an intelligent and thoughtful person expresses a confused, fairly shallow point, I tend to think there is a risk that they have fallen victim to Tyler's favorite "mood affiliation" or the like.

FWIW, I am myself the victim of police brutality; the worst beating I ever took in my life was due to being guilty of being a redneck peckerwood driving a shitty car in a nice part of town . . . although to be honest, my foul mouth and defiant demeanor contributed to the severity of the beating. My experience with cops - and knowing the kids I went to school with who became cops - tells me that they are far from the pillars of the community. The people drawn to the profession are precisely the kinds of people who need serious supervision and restraint. So I strongly support the ideas behind BLM and know that they are correct . . . but on the other hand, the vehemence with which they responded to "all lives matter" turned me off of the formal movement itself.

Also, I am tepidly pro-choice, I have to say that anyone who purports to support BLM but who does not point at least a portion of their energy at the abortion-industrial complex and its disturbing racial disparity has a serious credibility problem.

Totally agree about the type of person who tends to drawn to Policing. This is an extremely important point.

All because TC asked for requests...

Here's a request as a corollary:

Discuss the appropriate libertarian policy response to bad luck and good luck. Should institutions, including but not limited to governments, ever intervene in the lives of individuals that have been affected by chance (i.e. everyone)? Extra credit for addressing the concept of positive liberty.

I look forward to the comments regarding empirical evidence of luck.

I'm a big fan of the movement to put a stop to police using unnecessary force, and to police using any level of force not called for by the underlying crime (for instance, Eric Garner selling loose cigarettes does not justify the level of force that caused his death, even if the alternative is he runs away successfully).

But I don't buy at all that policing is racially biased.

Examine the various "brutality" cases that BLM uses to justify its agenda, and at least half of them (Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, for examples) attacked their opponents first and forced them to kill them.

And even in the cases where the police weren't morally justified in using force, the "victims" nearly always start by swearing (and shouting other abuse) at the cops that goes far beyond what any white person in his right mind would do. I'm white, but if I behaved like that, the police would beat me up too -- and it would be my own fault for being an idiot. The police aren't racist just because they won't let you get away with things they won't let me get away with either.

" I’m white, but if I behaved like that, the police would beat me up too."
I can tell you from personal experience, that is true.

Neither do I believe that police officers are necessarily racist, but I do believe that they tend to develop a hatred of poor people. It is understandable, because that is who they are mostly policing and who hurl abuse upon them daily and put them in physical danger frequently. But that is all the more reason why we need to recruit a different type of person for police work.

"For instance, a man is far more likely to kill you than is a woman, but that fact does not excuse the shooting of an innocent man."

No, but it does (at least partly) explain why more innocent men are killed than innocent women.


Where is you evidence that "Police in this country kill, beat, arrest, fine, and confiscate the property of black people at unfair" rates?
I don't find it. "Unfair" is certainly not objective - maybe you could clarify. Do black people, in your judgment, kill/rob/maim/commit crimes at fair or unfair rates?

Hello MR commentariat:

I see every conversation about BLM on the internet get bogged down into data and defending the good people who are police. As a criminal defense attorney in Northern Virginia, I have this to add: I believe the data as to crime and police abuse of force is actually a proxy for urban poverty. Most urban poor people are, of course, black, but in some settings they're Latino or Korean, or some other minority group. Incidents of police brutality are rarer at the margin in, say, Appalachia. The empirical arguments get bogged down into attempts at establishing or controlling for racial animus. But the incidence of disproportionate prosecution and sentencing isn't the result of some racist cabal. I practice law in several diverse counties, with both republican and democrat politically elected prosecutors, with police who are a mix of races. But I've seen police and prosecutors respond to employment incentives to be universally draconian. What the non-lawyer arguments on blogs fail to account for is that across the strategic alternatives, the lower hanging fruits for convictions are young males on the street or in (poor, old) cars violating compliance laws. Not single family homes in suburbia. This is a product of 4th amendment case law, wherein your protection from warrantless search and seizure is a function of how private your setting is: standing on the street, in a car, in an apartment building, in a single family home, in a single family home set back from the street. The geographic and economic distributions reinforce the racial ones.

The fact that police use of force incidents turn out to be legally justified after the fact begs the question. In many instances, police are the only witnesses, and have qualified immunity. They often increase the likelihood for the need to use deadly force, and then cover themselves by claiming they shot in self defense. But why should police be so quick to shoot in the first place? aren't we entrusting them with our safety with their badge and gun, giving them power over the rest of us? Police do shoot civilians in the US at an alarming rate across the board. They have no disincentive not to. The video recordings of police shooting people, however, speak to the lie of the legal justification of their use of force. Just because they *can* shoot does not answer the question as to whether or not they should. Here locally a few years ago, a woman was having a psychotic episode at a store, she was wielding a knife. Everyone else in the store was evacuated. All alone, she was surrounded by 5-8 sheriffs deputies and when she ran away from two towards the others, they shot her. Completely legally justified. Absolutely unnecessary.

There are about 700,000 police in the US. Let's say 10% of those work in high risk environments. Let's say 10% of those have a potentially life threatening encounter lacking full information of what's in the other guy's head once a year. Let's say 10% of the time the officer makes the wrong decision in shooting a person dead. So that's 700,000 divided by 1,000. We expect without any animus whatsoever 700 wrong fatalities a year.

If you have a better baseline data to judge by what are your numbers?

All BLM does is encourage rioting and erode the already very low levels of trust and cooperation between blacks and the police. This makes things worse. The reality is that it isn't very hard to avoid getting shot by the cops. To improve the situation, the black community is going to have to meet the cops halfway, not view them as adversaries.

Tyler, the ideal situation is to have a society that enjoys great liberty (with light policing) and high order simultaneously. This is very possible provided you have a functional society with adequate social and civic institutions. But without that you are stuck with an unfortunate trade-off between a harsh police presence and absolute chaos. Your libertarian impulses misguide you in such situations.

Regarding "police brutality" more generally, in many cases I think the problem is more just incompetence (and failure to screen out headcases) rather than systematic racial oppression. Democrats push for affirmative action, residency requirements, unionization, etc., for police departments, all of which make it difficult to maintain a quality police force.

My views are pretty simple, namely that I am a fan of the movement. Americans in this world kill, beat, arrest, fine, and confiscate the property of Muslim people at unfair and disproportionate rates.

I don’t doubt that many Americans perceive they are at higher risk when dealing with young Muslim males, and that is part of why they may act more brutally or be quicker to shoot or otherwise misbehave. I would respond that statistical discrimination, even if it is rational, does not excuse what are often crimes against innocent people. For instance, a man is far more likely to kill you than is a woman, but that fact does not excuse the shooting of an innocent man.

I also don’t see that citing “Muslim Lives Matter” has to denigrate the value of the life of anyone else. Rather, the use of the slogan reflects the fact that many American people have been unaware of the extra burdens that many innocent Muslim people must carry due to their treatment at the hands of the Americans. The slogan is a way of informing others of this reality.

“Muslim Lives Matter” is a large movement, if that is the proper word for it, and you can find many objectionable statements, alliances, and political views within it. I don’t mean to endorse those, but at its essence I see this as a libertarian idea to be admired and promoted.

I believe the data suggests that police violence against black males is broader, more pervasive, and higher as a % of the relevant population, vs. muslim males. BUT, if you have data that suggests otherwise, I am ready to be convinced.

FWIW, I'd also argue that the justified grievances of another minority population do not detract from the relevance of the Black Lives Matter movement, but rather gives it more credibility.

Your grammar is very well Tyler:

Police in this country kill the property of black people at unfair and disproportionate rates.

Police in this country beat the property of black people at unfair and disproportionate rates.

Police in this country arrest the property of black people at unfair and disproportionate rates.

Police in this country fine the property of black people at unfair and disproportionate rates.

Police in this country confiscate the property of black people at unfair and disproportionate rates.

... a lot of racists comments here, a sample of how racists white people in USA are ... that's a fact!

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