With the recent uprise of protest from Black Lives Matter (BLM), the narrative that law enforcement is systemically racist has been in the forefront of media reports, as well as political agendas focused on the 2020 presidential election. The claim that police routinely shoot and kill unarmed black people is propped up by viral videos and media reports focused on showing the videos as proof that the system is racist to its core. The media runs the videos of unarmed black men being shot numerous times while videos of unarmed white men that are also shot and killed by cops seem to never come to light.
According to a Wall Street Journal article(source 1) in 2019 there were a total of 9 unarmed black men killed by police and a total of 19 unarmed white men killed. It would appear on the surface that those numbers show disproportional killings of black men due to the breakdown of the population. It gives the impression that black men are targeted at a much higher rate due to being so small of a minority. This narrative gives credit to the BLM movement and appears to be a real problem facing our society that is rooted in racism.
What this narrative never seems to account for or even investigate is if this is actually racism or is it due to over policing of poverty stricken areas due to higher crime rates that are present in poverty stricken areas. USA Today published an article (source 2) that breaks down poverty and shows that blacks have a total of 8.9 million people living in poverty and a total of 15.7 million white people living in poverty. This would show that in 2019 the percent of unarmed blacks killed would be 1.01% with the percentage of unarmed whites killed being 1.21%. By these percentages it would suggest that racism is not the problem at all because whites are being killed in higher numbers than blacks.
There are assumptions being made with my conclusion because of a lack of data in certain areas. The main assumption used is that the unarmed people killed were people living in poverty stricken areas and the justification for my assumption is that we don't see reports of any unarmed wealthy people being the victims in these situations and it isn't being reported in the Hamptons or Beverly Hills type areas. The areas these things happen in are mostly areas riddled with crime and drug problems that are usually elevated due to the poverty in the region. The areas are policed more strictly and the cops there do work with higher levels of anxiety due to the criminal activity and the higher risks of being hurt or killed themselves in these areas, thus leading to equal amounts of white and black unarmed men being killed when I see the deaths of unarmed people as being people suffering in poverty.
The theory that I am suggesting is that the real problem is systemic oppression of the poor. The fact that we have a for profit private prison system means prisons need to stay at full capacity in order to maximize profits. Therefore, people who can't afford lawyers to fight charges end up being jailed then exploited for cheap labor and the race of the person is not as much of a factor as it is portrayed as. Wealthy whites and blacks alike dodge convictions while poor blacks and whites serve the time and bring in profits.
The reason this is overlooked is because the media is now corporate owned and controlled and the owners of the media are also part of the same wealthy donor class as the corporate prisons owners. Exposing this reality would not only hurt the prison system but also hurt the media profits. Showing that our system is focused on the donor class wants above all else is not in the best interests of the media, the for profit prisons, or the corrupt politicians who serve the donor class.
The corporate agenda that the politicians are paid to serve has used race as a dividing factor in every area that they possibly can to divert attention from the real agenda going on behind the curtains. This race agenda gives a political fight that can be used to gain support by appearing to be a fight against an evil that the vast majority would support. This same strategy is used with sexism claims, bigotry claims, homophobia claims and any social issue that can be used to focus attention away from the real problem Americans face, socioeconomic inequality. These issues are a primary driver of the left wing of politics while the right wing focuses on non-issues that religious folks face like a bogus war on Christmas. We are divided with social issues over and over while economic issues are ignored or given quick lip service so that the status quo that constantly redistributes wealth from the bottom to the top goes unchanged. "Victimhood" trumps all else and brings in poorly informed voters, due to fake news pushed by the corporate main stream media, to basically vote against their best interests time and time again while continually pointing the finger at the other side and blaming them for all the problems when in all reality both parties are serving the same donors and use propaganda and dishonesty to garner support. The last thing the corporation's want is an informed educated voter that refuses to vote against their interests in favor of the interests of the wealthiest people to ever live. Systemic racism is a clever cover for the real problem and until we as a society realize that we will only continue the same path that has got us to where we are now.