In a statement regarding the death of George Floyd, Livermore Mayor John Marchand writes, "Racism and bigotry are not acceptable." It's hard to argue with the mayor's statement. Studies and data indicate that, per capita, blacks are about 2.4 times more likely than whites to die at the hands of police.
However, these same studies indicate that men are 21.1 times more likely than women to die at the hands of police. Yes, part of this is because men are more likely than women to engage in activities that lead to police encounters, just as blacks are more likely than whites to engage in activities that lead to police encounters.
But this accounts for only a fraction of the problem. While black men receive the short end of both sticks when it comes to police killings, it is men of all races who are being killed, rarely women. If anything, the killing of George Floyd is an indication of systemic sexism, not racism. It’s a tragedy that this form of bias is not recognized or acknowledged.
The mayor is quick to imply racism, but his failure to emphasize Floyd's sex is itself a tacit acceptance of the prejudice that he condemns. Riots, protests, and statements from elected officials do nothing to solve problems when the factors motivating these problems are ignored. The lives of black men will not improve until it is recognized that a significant fraction of their disadvantage stems from their identity as men.
This should be no surprise. Men are at a disadvantage in many aspects of life: health outcomes and longevity, suicides, addictions, workplace fatalities, educational achievement and literacy, homelessness, violent crime victimization, the justice system and incarceration rates, family law, mandated draft registration, etc. Included in this list is death at the hands of police.
The sex-based disparities are often more pronounced than the race-based disparities. But this insight is scorned. There are no brownie points for self-righteous indignation when one speaks in defense of men. Not only do men's lives not matter, men's lives are not even part of the discussion.