It’s a good thing Wendy Osefo of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Potomac” let her husband do most of the talking with their children on policing in America. If she had been the one to do it, she likely would have filled their heads with nonsense about cops everywhere shooting unarmed black people for sport.
Osefo told her husband Eddie on the latest episode that the two should talk with their young boys “about police and relationships with police.” The scene was apparently shot around the time the Derek Chauvin trial was taking place, which Osefo, who is black, said “just made me wanting to shelter” her kids.
“I think it’s unfair that black parents have to break their children’s innocence to prepare them for the world that they live in,” she said.
Fortunately, Eddie took the lead on that conversation and told their boys more or less that some cops are bad, but his wife apparently needs her own special lecture about police and race. She has bought into the media myth that black people, men in particular, are at constant risk of being gunned down by racist cops.
It’s a lie, even though dishonest news outlets say things like “negative experiences with the police” are “an unfortunate rite of passage for many Black Americans.” That claim appeared in Politico back in June, but let’s do something Politico didn’t do — let’s look at data.
The Police-Public Contact Survey conducted every so often by the Justice Department asks respondents about their interactions with law enforcement. The latest survey is from 2018. That year, just 6.5 million black people said they had any type of contact with police. Among those, just 251,000 of them said they experienced a threat or use of force by law enforcement. This doesn’t take into account whether the threat or use of force was justified, but only that a respondent says it happened.
The total black population in the United States sits at 42,640,000, according to the Census. That would mean that barely above half of a percent of the entire black population claims to have experienced a threat or use of force when interacting with police.
When something is experienced by half of a percent of all black people, we probably shouldn’t be describing it as a “rite of passage for many black Americans.”
Now let’s look at the worst-case scenario: A black person is shot dead by a cop. The Washington Post tries to keep track of that each year. For the last full year, 2020, the Post says a total of 18 black people died in police shootings. Again, this doesn’t account for whether each shooting was justified, only that it happened.
Put another way, 0.00004 percent of the black population in 2020 was killed by cops with guns. For each year that the Post has been keeping track, the number of black people shot dead by cops never got higher than 38 and that was back in 2015.
That’s the devastating reality that Wendy Osefo has been wanting to “shelter” her kids from? That’s the “unfair” truth for black parents that “break their children’s innocence”?
Black kids, like all kids, need to learn about police and what it is they do. But don’t let them learn it from Wendy Osefo.