Hello again, Jonathan.

I appreciate your thanks for my transparency. It is important to me to get it right and correct the record when I get it wrong.

However, I get the impression you are saying that my citing of the Citylab article about police violence toward people of color misses the larger context of the article, and I disagree. I also disagree with the context of the article as you lay it out in your response.

First, I will concede that, because it involves two different, somewhat contrasting studies, the Citylab article may not have been the best one to link to as it might have muddied the waters unnecessarily.In response, I have mentioned in my piece that I am referring to one particular study in the article and have linked directly to that study as well.

That said, I still stand by using the Citylab article and assert the context is not what you suggest. To wit, you say that the “2nd half of the article…cites other researches (sic) who call out flaws in the study.”

Now, let me tell you: I read through the article last night several times after reading your response, and read it through a couple more times just now. Nowhere do I see criticisms or flaws pointed out by other researchers concerning that study. What I do see a lot of is criticism of the other study mentioned, the one whose narrative you claim as a counter-narrative to the study whose statistics I cite. Several academics, in fact, take this study to task for “‘sidestepping the benchmark’ of using population to calculate racial disparity.” Other than from the study itself (and, to some extent, from the author of the article later on when they take a rather unscientific look at recent mass shootings), there is no support for this method.

There is criticism, though, from at least one academic pointing out that methodology wrongly assumes “white and black civilians encounter police in equal numbers.”

Then there is this from a study the Cesario study (the one you seem to be referencing) quotes from. That study

focuses on police shooting-killings in 2015, when police killed nearly twice as many white people that year (495) than they did black people (258). But 15 percent of the black people police killed that year were unarmed, compared with just 6 percent of white people who were unarmed when killed by police. The study also found that 24 percent of African Americans and 32 percent of other non-white racial groups were not attacking police officers when they were killed, compared to 17 percent of white people. This was interpreted as “preliminary evidence of an implicit bias effect,” against African Americans and people of color.

The article mentions that the author of that study says there is just too little data to draw too many conclusions either way concerning police shootings.

One thing no one disputes in the article is that there is a disparity, which is the only point I was making by using that statistic. No one in the article claims people of color don’t get killed more than while people in encounters with police. The only question is why. And the alternative narrative — that it is mostly due to who commits the most crime in any given area — relies on only the one study, which comes under fire by other academics because of its methodology and assumptions.

So TL;DR, I think it is perfectly valid to include this article and especially to reference that statistic. Should I have provided an analysis of all the data presented in the article when nothing in the article seems to contradict the idea that people of color are killed in higher numbers. Remember, the study you claim critiques this statistic was actually published first and purposely “sidesteps” the issue.

So, for those reasons, I am sticking by my use of the article.

Thanks for your response and for your challenge. Again, it made me think through and analyze my assumptions, even if I didn’t ultimately agree with you this time.

Thanks again,


Written by

Educator, writer, LGBTQ+ advocate, avid reader. Novelist in progress. Website: http://janelleswritemind.com/ Empowering the LGBTQ+ community one word at a time.

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