The Lives of Black People Count for Nothing to Those with Power in This System

September 8, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


+ A 2001 U.S. Department of Justice report calculated that between 1976 and 1998, 3,696 Black people were killed by police. That is an average of 168 Black people per year killed by the police. And these numbers are likely very undercounted. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement documented 313 deaths of Black people by police, vigilantes, and security guards in 2012, which works out to one every 28 hours.*

+ In the 30 years between 1890 and 1920, 2,254 Black people were lynched in the USA.

Now consider this...

Throughout this history of police killings of Black people AND of the lynchings of Black people, with very, very few exceptions, those carrying out these horrible murders have almost NEVER been punished.

The KKK and affiliated Nazi-like white supremacists, with the collusion of "law enforcement" and the whole political power structure, during the time of Jim Crow... and then the police, with the collusion of the rest of the political power structure, in more recent times... these murderers of Black people are almost never even arrested, let alone tried and convicted for murder, but are instead allowed to walk free.**

The message being delivered loudly and clearly here is that the lives of Black people count for nothing to those with power in this system—and that those who fear and hate Black people and who themselves represent, and/or are backed by, the authority of government and the power of the state, can wantonly murder Black people and get away with it, time after time after time.

The Lives of Black People Count for Nothing to Those with Power in this System


* "Operation Ghetto Storm: 2012 Annual Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of 313 Black People" by Malcolm X Grassroots Movement [back]

** Those who lynched Black people were rarely if ever indicted, and when they were, the judge, prosecutor, jurors, and witnesses were most likely all white and sympathized with the lynchers. One study of 100 lynchings by Arthur Raper estimated that at least half of the lynchings were carried out with police officers participating, and that in nine-tenths of the others the officers either condoned or "winked at" the mob action. Fewer than 1 percent of lynch mob participants were ever convicted. (See Rough Justice: Lynching and American Society, 1874-1947 by Michael J. Pfeifer, June 16, 2004) Likewise, the police who murder Black people are almost never arrested, let alone convicted and punished. The authorities do not publish national statistics on this, but you can look at many large cities where there have been numerous police killings of Black people and see that there have been few if any cops who have been punished. In Dallas, for example, the police have killed 68 unarmed men over the last 10 years and none of them have been punished. And then in cases like the murder of Oscar Grant, when a cop is found guilty, he is likely to get what amounts to a "slap on the wrist" for murder." [back]

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