Over the last year, many of us have heard how critical race theory has infiltrated our schools. And while that’s a serious threat, it’s far from being the only danger. The fact is, critical race theory has impacted how law enforcement operates, and it’s getting people killed.
Developed by academics like Kimberlé Crenshaw and Derrick Bell, critical race theory holds that the power dynamics in society exist to protect whites at the expense of minorities. According to this view, racism is not primarily expressed in individual acts. Rather, it’s systemic and built into our institutions.
To provide evidence of this, critical race theorists will point to examples of racial outcome disparities. For example, they will note that roughly a quarter of those killed by the police every year are black even though African Americans comprise just over 13 percent of the population.
What they won’t tell you, however, is that table 42 of the FBI’s report on law enforcement officers who were killed or assaulted shows that over the past decade, 37 percent of cop killers have also been black. This would suggest that a major reason why African American suspects are disproportionately killed by the police is that they disproportionately try to kill the police. If anything, black suspects are actually underrepresented in police shootings given the disparate rate at which they attack officers.
What they also won’t tell you is that Asian Americans are less likely to be killed by the police than white people are. Does this mean there’s some kind of systemic anti-white, pro-Asian bias in law enforcement? Or is it simply reflective of the fact that on average, Asians are just less likely to commit violence? These are questions you’re not supposed to ask…
Of course, critical race theorists will argue that disproportionately high rates of violence within the black community are themselves the result of systemic racism. But if it’s entirely due to systemic racism, then shouldn’t violence have been exponentially higher in the 1950s when Jim Crow was still in effect and slavery still within living memory? Again, this isn’t something they want you to enquire about.
Nevertheless, critical race theorists still insist the disparity is due to racism, and because police are systemically racist, any force they use is therefore illegitimate. This is why BLM activists rioted last year over the shooting of Hakim Littleton even though bodycam footage showed that he was literally firing his weapon the moment he was shot.
It’s also why they rioted over the shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. even though he was charging at an officer with a knife. It’s why they harassed an officer in Ohio for shooting a teenager even though she was attempting to stab someone.
Unfortunately, events like these have a real impact on how the police do their job. A poll by Pew Research found that 72 percent of officers say their colleagues become less likely to stop and question suspicious individuals, and it’s not hard to see why. If an officer ends up having to use his weapon, then he can expect to be vilified while violent protests break out. As a result, it becomes much easier to simply not approach a known offender who appears to be armed.
That’s a problem, because a report released by the Baltimore Sun found over a third of murder suspects in that city were out on parole or probation at the time a killing was committed. In other words, more criminals remain on the street and more people die. That’s probably why the FBI now estimates that the homicide rate went up by 29 percent last year. In other words, more than 4700 additional people were murdered in 2020 compared to 2019.
The problem isn’t just that police have become less proactive, as a growing number of officers are choosing to take early retirement. Meanwhile, fewer recruits are joining. That’s led to staffing shortages in major cities, which means that when 911 calls are made, officers are either slow to arrive or don’t show up at all.
Obviously this puts all of us at risk, but ironically it is black lives that are imperiled the most: the CDC reports that homicide is the number one cause of death for black males aged 44 and under. This might help explain why a Gallup poll last year found that 81 percent of African Americans wanted police to spend the same amount or more time in their area, compared with just 19 percent who wanted less.
In addition to just being wrong, the worldview that critical race theory presents is dangerous, and we need to confront it with facts. Because doing so isn’t just about standing up for the truth.
It’s about saving lives.