In the News: Week of May 31st

What happened in the world from May 31st to June 6th

Black Lives Matter

Black Americans are incarcerated at a rate more than five times that of white Americans. Over 27% of black Americans are living in poverty compared to just under 10% of whites. It’s even worse for children; 46% of black children under age six live in poverty, and 15% of young white children live in the same conditions.

Less than 10% of students from low-income families go on to graduate from college by their mid-20s. Black students are less likely than white students to have access to college-ready courses, and even when they do have access to honors or AP courses they are vastly underrepresented. Black students often attend schools with less qualified and lower paid teachers, and are almost twice as likely as white students to be suspended from school.

Black people are disproportionately killed by police; last year black Americans accounted for 24% of those killed, despite being only 13% of the population. Over 1,000 Americans were killed by the police last year, and 110 people died at the hands of officers in December alone. For comparison, there were just 55 fatal police shootings in England and Wales from 1990 to 2014.

48 police officers were killed in the line of duty last year. Cops are over 20x more likely to kill someone than be killed, and 99% of officer killings from 2013 to 2019 have not resulted in officers being charged with a crime. Out of the four officers charged from 2013 to 2019, only one was convicted. 

There is no middle ground on this issue. Black Americans suffer from poverty and police brutality more often than whites. You can choose to believe that centuries of oppression, racism, lack of opportunity, and injustice are to blame, or you can blame the victims. If you blame the victims - and believe that black Americans suffer from incarceration and police violence more often because they are inherently more violent or commit more crimes, or suffer from poverty more because they are less intelligent or lazier than whites - you are, by definition, a racist. 

You are either for justice and equality for everyone, or you are racist. There’s no sitting this one out. Silent racism will no longer be tolerated. 

Please donate your time, money, or energy to fighting inequality. Campaign Zero is working to end police violence in America. They have put together an expanding list of concrete policy solutions to work towards accomplishing this goal, which is why this organization is one of my favorites. Your time and energy can be just as valuable as your money; here’s a list of organizations, both national and state-specific, where you can volunteer or donate. Use your voice for good by speaking up on social media and signing petitions online.

One last thing - don’t believe corporations that suddenly had a change of heart and now support BLM. Per Judd Legum’s Popular Information, “several of the same corporations have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to members of Congress that are rated “F” by the NAACP.” At least one company, Chick-fil-A, has even gone so far as to prohibit employees from speaking out on social media in support of black lives if they have information in their bio or images linking them to Chick-fil-A.

Almost all corporations are doing what is best for their bottom line. Those speaking out against racism are only doing so because they know it’s not going to hurt business, and in fact will probably increase profits. Chick-fil-A is explicitly preventing employees from speaking up because they don’t want to upset their white, evangelical customer base. 

Corporations don’t have hearts, but people do. If we all stand up against racism and inequality, we can accomplish great things.

Learn more about Campaign Zero