The #BlackLivesMatter campaign drew media attention to the disproportionate use of police force against Black men, women and children. Since then, several cases surfaced involving people of other races. In many of these instances, the person carried no weapon and did not pose a threat. There were even cases where police shot unarmed people while they complied with orders.
Since then, several groups conducted research on police brutality and the racial factors at play. Researchers took on a difficult task here as there exists no national database for collecting and tracking these cases.
Shortened lives of color
According to an NBC News article, more than half of people who die at the hands of police officers are White. In spite of this, people of color remain disproportionately represented among the numbers of those injured and killed relative to the percentage of the population they hold.
In addition to this, Hispanics and African Americans who die during interactions with police officers tend to belong to younger age groups. This leads to not just loss of lives at that moment, but also loss of potential contributions over a lifetime.
Effects on the health of Black communities
An article published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine takes an even closer look at the toll this takes on Black community health. Here are some of the effects the study identified:
- Higher mortality rates from fatal injuries
- Increased morbidity from an adverse physiological response
- Stress caused by racist responses from the public
- Financial strain from funeral bills, medical bills, legal fees and incarcerations
- Systematic disempowerment caused by structures that facilitate oppression
It is important to note that the disproportionate use of violence against people of color is not new. However, the media and concerned citizens helped to increase awareness. Awareness does not solve the problem, but it provides a basic start.