This past Sunday, once again, television audiences in the United States were treated to the spectacle of immensely successful young men protesting the symbols of their country. I refer, of course, to the protests during the anthem ceremonies of the National Football League. These acts, started by now-unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick, are in protests to the country’s ‘treatment of black people and people of color’, especially at the hands of the police. Much has been written about the protests, but no enough about the central through of the matter: that the assumptions behind the protests are not only wrong, but fully mistaken. The perception of police brutality against ‘people of color’ is an artifact of anti-police propaganda; it does not conform to reality.
Assumed Police Brutality
One central tenet of the Black Lives Matter movement is that the police routinely brutalizes unarmed black men. But statistics show a different picture. For one thing, police shootings are rare, and police shootings of unarmed suspects very rare. In a nation of 320 million people with relatively high crime, about 1,000 people die at the hand of the police annually; most of those deaths are justified self-defense.
BLM activists make much of the racial discrepancy of those killed at the hands of the police. This ratio is highest by Amerindian and Black subjects, at about five deaths per million, next highest Hispanics and White subjects, at around two deaths per million, and lowest for Asian/Pacific Islander subjects, and less than one death per million. (So it is proven, once again, that we live in an Asian supremacist country).
What activist fail to mention is that those statistics closely track crime rates in the respective communities. That is, what appears to them as bias is simply the result of legitimate policing. Whatever bias may or may not exist does not result in unjustified shootings, or killings. The bias that exists is against the police, not of them.
Then there is the nature of the protest itself, a public disrespect of the nation’s symbols. Kneeling during the national anthem is a complete rejection of the legitimacy of the ‘system’—it is all rotten, and hopelessly biased against minorities. Kaepernick himself went out of his way to wear offensive apparel, such as socks depicting police officers as pigs, and another exalting Malcolm X during his radical days along with Fidel Castro. For the vast majority of Americans that believe their country to be a force of good, the insult is unjustified and unmistakable.
The object of the anthem protests, presumably, is to effect change of some sort. The activists may have some nebulous goal in mind, even if they cannot articulate it. But truth matters above all, and this smear of law enforcement, this mendacious falsehood against the nation should not stand. We should fight this lie with every means at our disposal, and refuse to give in for the sake of social peace.