Kneeling Against… What Exactly?

If you don’t live in a cave, you probably noticed the recent uproar in the NFL over people kneeling during the National Anthem.

More than a year ago, Colin Kaepernick started the trend, refusing to stand during the Anthem as a protest against injustices done to people of color. He cited police brutality specifically.

Over the year he continued his quiet protesting, and a handful of other players joined him.

Then recently President Trump spoke out against the protests, calling for players who refused to stand during the Anthem to be fired. In response, over the following week, there was a massive pushback and darn near everybody in the league knelt (or hid) during the National Anthem.

So, aside from Trump’s statements, what exactly are these players protesting?

They cite police brutality against unarmed black people as the main reason behind their protests. Kaepernick, who started it all, said “there are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Certainly protesting against police brutality is a worthy cause. And based on the narrative we hear through the media, it sounds like unarmed black citizens are being gunned down by law enforcement as a matter of routine.

The real numbers tell a different story, though.

In 2016, 7,881 black people were killed in homicides. By homicide, I mean killed deliberately by another person.

Of those, 233 were killed by police officers. That’s less than three percent of the total.

Of those 233 black citizens killed by police officers, 16 were unarmed when they were shot. That means of the total number of black people who were killed in a homicide of any kind during 2016, two tenths of a percent were unarmed when shot by a police officer.

Here’s another interesting number. Of the 7,881 black people who were killed in homicides, 243 were killed by a white person. Again, about three percent.

So my question to you is this: Why are people putting so much energy into protesting three percent of black homicide deaths, while ignoring the other 97 percent?

I don’t have a good answer for you, but it’s something to bear in mind the next time someone is protesting — quietly or loudly — about police brutality against people of color.

You can get a fuller picture of the actual numbers here.