Police Shootings of Blacks in the U.S.; What Can Philosophers Do or Say in Response?

Police Shootings of Blacks in the U.S.; What Can Philosophers Do or Say in Response?


News from the past week:

There is some variation in the data, but regardless, the numbers of black people killed by police in the United States are very high, especially in light of the underlying demographics of the country (roughly 72% of the population is white while 13% of the population is black—further demographic data here), and also in comparison to police violence elsewhere in the wealthy Western nations.

screenshot of http://mappingpoliceviolence.org/

screenshot of http://mappingpoliceviolence.org/

 

 

from https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings/

from https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings/

Nathan Nobis, a philosopher at Morehouse College, wrote to me following the shooting of Alton Sterling:

In light of the recent murder of another black man in LA, I wonder if you could post something asking what philosophers (and philosophy teachers) can do, or even say, about all this that might make a positive difference. Philosophy obviously thrives on controversial issues, and all these killings seem to uncontroversially wrong and completely unexcusable. Given that, it’s hard, at least for me, to see what to say or do about any of this, other than to say and do what anyone else might do or say, that this is all just awful. Anyway, I hope this makes sense and wonder if you could do something to raise some productive discussion here about what, if anything, philosophers can uniquely do or say to address these evils.

Consider this post an open forum for philosophers to discuss various aspects of these shootings, including the killings of the police officers. Discussion of substantive philosophical issues, or of practical matters regarding teaching and advising, or of anything else you think important to draw attention to in this forum, is welcome. Please post links to related articles, discussions, and resources elsewhere.

Here are a few related items of interest:

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