Do Black Lives Matter?

Of course they do. Or at the very least, they should. But then, I believe all lives matter and, unlike former Maryland Governor and 2016 Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley, I will not apologize for that principle.

But an inherent conflict exists in the shadows of society that must nonetheless be reconciled if a serious discussion of black (or any ethnicity, for that matter) lives mattering is to mean anything substantive. For contextual relevance, law enforcement officers (broadly defined) generally kill somewhere between a couple hundred and 700 civilians per year, as recorded since 2010. I could find no reliably empirical demographic breakdowns for those numbers, and evidence suggests they are under-representative of the true tallies in any event, but for sake of the argument let us assume all of these people killed by police were black. Now, since this sort of lethality data is not available for 2007, let us assume the average of the reported years 2010-2014, plus another 500, is roughly equivalent to that year’s true final tally. This would put the notional number of lives claimed in 2007 by police – and we are again assuming they were all black for argument’s sake – at 904. Now compare that with the 448,000 black lives claimed via legalized abortion in 2007, as reported via the census. That figure equates to a death rate of nearly 500 times that of deaths attributable to lethal encounters with law enforcement.

Do black lives matter? Why is it taboo to discuss the very real phenomenon of genosuicide in this context? As we devalue life across society in so many contexts, it simply becomes commonplace to rationalize that certain lives do not, in fact, matter.


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