A Pew study found that 63% of white and 20% of black people think that Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Darren Wilson is not about race.
Those people are wrong.
African Americans are, in fact, far more likely to be killed by police. Among young men, blacks are 21 times more likely to die at the hands of police than their white counterparts.
But, are they more likely to precipitate police violence?  No. The opposite is true. Police are more likely to kill black people regardless of what they are doing. In fact, “the less clear it is that force was necessary, the more likely the victim is to be black” (source).
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That’s data from the FBI.
This question was also studied by sociologist Lance Hannon. With an analysis of over 950 non-justifiable homicides from police files, he tested whether black people were more likely to take actions that triggered their own murder. The answer was no. He found no evidence that blacks were more likely than whites to engage in verbal or physical antecedents that explained their death.
There is lots more evidence if one bothers to go looking for it.
So, no. Just… no.
This is about race. It is very, very obviously about race. It’s not a matter of opinion; it’s a scientific question that has been asked and answered.
Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.