We still can’t breathe, and the air is getting thicker

BY YLANA PALMER, Contributor

Running. Parking lot. Loose cigarettes. Walmart. Stand your ground. By themselves, these words and phrases don’t seem to have a reason to be connected, but they are intertwined in a despairing way. I did a quick Google search of “Unarmed black man shot,” and these are the terms that appeared more than once just in my review of the first 10 articles.

There is often debate about whether there are more black than white males being shot and killed by the police in the U.S., or if it has just been brought to the forefront thanks to social media, cell phone cameras and the media’s biases. When there is a disagreement of this nature, I tend to turn to the most logical way to address debates: Pure logic and hard facts.

In 2016, I did some research and made this sign for a Black Lives Matter march that took place on July 11, 2016, in Savannah, Ga., and had thousands of participants. Keep in mind, even though the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention log fatal shootings by police, their officials admit to the fact that their data is incomplete. So, the numbers below are likely even higher.

Of the lethal police shootings from 2017 through June 2018, almost all victims were male. As mentioned above, the various databases are incomplete, but we will use the given numbers with the understanding that a few may have been female.

Black Males

White Males

Percent of total U.S. pop.


(19.5 million)


(100.97 million)

Shot and killed by U.S. police

(2017 through July 2018)






Percentage of the demographic shot & killed by U.S. police





There are about 5.2 more white men than black men in this country.

Black men were killed at a rate that was 260.66% higher than white men.

Side note: There are about 1.5 million more black women than black men in America – a jarring reality of the fact that black men are more likely to be incarcerated or to die young at the hands of violence. But that’s another article!

In 2016, black men accounted for 40 percent of unarmed men shot to death. In 2017, Black men and women were 54 percent more likely to be unarmed when killed by police, compared to their white counterparts.

Racism, politics, the militarization of police, a criminal “injustice” system, lack of diversity training… the list goes on and on when it comes to people attempting to justify or explain the reason for the police shooting and killing unarmed black men. Root causes are important to look at, and we must all unify, do our research and create evidence-based solutions in order to keep our black men alive and out of the system.

The next time you are in Walmart, or you’re selling loose cigarettes or even if you are studying the “stand your ground” law, remember those who have unnecessarily and arbitrarily lost their lives involving those very same things. They weren’t “thugs” or in the process of committing crimes. They weren’t even “lone wolf” shooters who had murdered students at a school. They were merely living, being black males in America.

If you are interested in researching this topic, I recommend the following sites:








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