Although many may consider the decision to frequent news outlets representing the views of the Far Left through the Christian Right to be odd, however, I believe that we must make the engagement of differing viewpoints a routine activity. During a recent foray into the realm of Conservative thinkers, I encountered an unusual term, “The Ferguson Effect.” I am sure that you are as oblivious to this phraseology as I was prior to this chance encounter. Put simply; it is Conservative’s most recent attempt to explain away escalating numbers of Black murders.
According to Hannah Meyers, Director of the Manhattan Institute’s policing and public safety initiative, the Ferguson Effect occurs when local law enforcement officers react to heightened anger from Blacks by refusing to protect and serve Black communities.
According to Hannah Meyers, “the protests and riots mid-2020 after the death of George Floyd followed a pattern of spiking violence that we’ve seen following past viral police incidents, such as the deaths of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray… police pull back while violent crime spikes precipitously.”
In the alternative universe that Conservative thinkers reside, escalating murders within Black America are not attributable to traditional social problems such as economic poverty, inferior education, and limited job opportunities. Such logical explanations are not accommodated by The Ferguson Effect. Instead of such traditional explanations, Conservatives have begun blaming increasing Black murders on what they believe to be a wicked Black Lives Matter created fiasco that begins with efforts to defund the police; a group that BLM activists have made analogous to an occupying Army.
If recent FBI data is accurate, there is no room to argue against the seriousness of the recent spike in murders of Black people. According to FBI reports there has been a 32% increase in Black murders from 2019 to 2020.
- 7,484 Black people were murdered in 2019
- 9,941 Black people were murdered in 2020
For those who are paying close attention to the above figures, 2,500 more Blacks were murdered in 2020 versus 2019. Just as troubling is the fact that over the previous decade (2010 – 2019) an average of 6,927 Blacks were murdered. It is astonishing that when compared to the average of the prior decade, 2020 marks a 43% increase in Black murders.
Although there is scant room to argue against FBI data, there are major holes to be found in Conservative thinkers’ assertion that the root cause of the shocking increase in Black murders is attributable to Black Lives Matter and the push to defund the police. Such sly politically motivated half-truths are a familiar tactic by American Conservatives seeking to discredit efforts to address racial inequities while advancing a political agenda dedicated to furthering the politico-economic powerlessness of Black people.
The assertion that efforts to defund the police are in any way the catalyst behind increased Black suffering is the height of foolishness. In fact, if advocates of The Ferguson Effect are correct that in the wake of Black murders that somehow become viral that local law enforcement officers are deciding to “pull back” their patrolling responsibilities, defunding the police is reasonable.
After all, what good are these public servants when they decide on a routine basis to not serve the very people whose tax dollars allow them to exist in this nation with some semblance of dignity.