Race today is more likely to be a statistic on a chart than real human contact. Often human contact reinforces the statistic in a historic or demographic table; it reflects the poor educational skills of many black youth–the impact of those statistics in human form. Low education levels, low job prospects, low income, limited employment, blunted horizons take on a particular quality in America: a boisterous, overflowing menace set in the strength of its own grief. A smile of deception that hides the deep pain at the invisible ring that reinforces the statistics. A human life that is a statistic creates fear on both sides, black and white. The quality and cause of each fear is different, but more than the person or the statistic, the fear that represents both, causes the world to look differently to each group, black and white, and it causes each group to look at the world differently.
No–“a thug is a thug” is a mantra set in stone in the minds (and hearts) of many, after removing all evidence of personal histories that prove statistics only measure the results of institutional forces more than individual will. In this view, a single case is proof of the whole, evidence of uncertainty that allows all to be denied opportunity, for reasons of security and prosperity.
Yes–black school aged males are taken to jail–this year, young women have been slung out of their chairs, the violence ignored by those who think any breach of law can be met by absolute force, and every officer is right no matter how excessive the violence. In this vision, only the student has personal responsibility; the officer is merely performing a duty. That difference, sooner or lower, is expressed as a number.
That view tells how people are turned into statistics that shape our view of human contact in ways that repeat patterns of harm. The other view, as the count rises, says black lives matter.