Is America A Racists Nation?

Dr Jerry Bergman

(Investigator 198, 2021 May)

The media gives the impression that large numbers of Americans, particularly Republicans, are racists.

My experience is in the North, and I am told it is not quite as prevalent in the South. I was born and lived in the Detroit area until I was hired as a professor at Bowling Green University in 1973. In Detroit I was part of a mostly minority faith community, which was largely Black. I attended Wayne State University in Detroit for nine years for my bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees. In my classes were large numbers of Blacks, and I had many Black professors. The Chairperson of my master's thesis was a Black woman, and Blacks were on my Doctoral committee. All of us worked together harmoniously with no conflicts. I earned my way through college by working for my father who owned a company staffed with Black employees.

In my half-century working with both Whites and Blacks, I never became aware of any racial conflict. None. Everyone got along very well. When I worked at a library, a Black woman, Mrs. Giles, was my boss; we got along fabulously. When a Bowling Green Professor, my best friend was the only Black in my department, Dr. John Newby. I never heard anyone being called a racist, no one accused anyone of being a racist, and no one I knew was a racist. The only example of antagonism was at the numerous weddings I attended where the groom was Black and the bride was White. Some of the young Black females commented "another White gal married one of our more desirable guys." Once I drove my date to the downtown Detroit Fox theater. As we drove on Woodward to the movie, she repeatedly commented about the many good-looking Black guys she saw as I drove. I do not remember anything about the girl, or movie, but the theater's beauty impressed me greatly. I often speak in Black churches and have consulted in close to 100 court cases, many involving Blacks. We all get along wonderfully.

I was a student in Detroit when riots burned most buildings on the 12th Street block, beginning the end of Detroit. From one of the nicest, wealthy cities in the world, Detroit is now a burned-out war zone filled with fields where beautiful homes once stood. Constantly, Donald Trump, I, and others are called racists. I never met a single White Supremacist supporter in a country supposedly suffering from systemic racism. Scientific research has documented that America is one of the least racist nations in the world. We are less a racist than one saturated with racist accusations. My experience motivated me to do some research in an issue that has caused numerous riots in America.

The Police Under Attack

I found the claim that police commonly deliberately target African Americans because of their race is not supported by the data.

The 800,000 law enforcement officers annually experience over 50 million police-citizen encounters, resulting in over ten million arrests. In contrast to claims that police are out to kill Blacks, less than 0.000001 percent of all encounters result in the police killing a suspect. Since 1980, young adult black males, only five percent of the population, accounted for nearly 70 percent of all violent crime in America. Black males also commit over half of all homicides, most for killing other Blacks. Most crime exists in small pockets of the big cities; thus most police largely work there. Yet over 70 percent in the black community have a favorable view of the police. If young adult black males were to disappear, about 70 percent of all prisons could be closed. Males of all races account for close to 90 percent of all violent crimes. If all young adult males disappeared, we could close every prison in America except for two.
Over half of NYPD officers are black and, of the four officers involved in the George Floyd case, half were persons of color. Yet, contrary to the facts, riots over claims of white police committing unjustified assaults on persons of color plague our cities. The riots over Floyd's death cost close to two billion dollars resulting in the loss of thousands of black jobs due to business destroyed in the Black community. I have carefully looked into all claims of unjustified killings of Blacks and in most cases the police were justified under the current law.
The FBI Uniform Crime Reports database records all major crimes committed in the United States. Since police killing records were first recorded, 22,217 officers were killed while on the job, 88 percent male. Furthermore, 365 female officers died in the line of duty, 11 in 2019 alone. In the past decade, 1,627 law enforcement officers lost their life, an average of one death every 54 hours. In 2018, 58,866 assaults against law enforcement officers occurred, resulting in 18,005 injuries. The New York City Police Department has lost more officers in the line of duty than any other department, 1,941 deaths. Texas lost 1,772 officers, and the state with the fewest deaths, Vermont, lost 24. Of the several hundred job categories, police work rated one of the most dangerous, number 16. I remember a conversation with a Detroit officer’s wife who, after attending the funerals of several officers killed in the line of duty, told me, by far, her main fear in life was losing her husband, the father of their two children. He was Black.