POLICY & POLITICS | DOUBLE STANDARDS & THE SHOOTER OF COLOR

Even though more Caucasians are shot by Police, African Americans are still roughly 3 times more likely to shot by Police than their Caucasians counterparts.

 

I have to say that when it comes to shooting in SD (Self-Defense) there is a huge Ethnic Bias (as well as a Gender Bias). In fact, some may refer to this huge Ethnic Bias that I am speaking about as a “Double Standard”.  As an African American I have had to watch time after time again how there lies a difference between Caucasians and African Americans when it comes to shooting in SD (Self-Defense).

 

This saddening fact is one that negatively impacts the lives of African Americans and other Minorities in this country.  The reason as to why I am bringing this issue up is because some time ago I was on a radio show with Michael Cargill whom of which is located in Texas. During the course of the radio interview, the question was asked:

 

“Do you think that is it necessary to train African Americans

differently than Caucasians when it comes to Firearm Training?”

 

At the time I stated firmly “NO!” However, it is at this point in my professional life as a Firearm Education and Training Consultant that I must not only reconsider my position but I must also change my position.  The quintessential reason as to why I changing my position on the above question is because of the Ethnic Double Standard that is going around internal and external to the realm of using a firearm for SD (Self-Defense).

 

This is something to really think about because if African Americans and People of Color are being subjugated to a Double Standard when it comes to using a firearm for SD, than it is safe to induce that African Americans will be more reluctant to press the trigger in regards to a SD application. As a Sociologist I guess that the concept of the “Double Consciousness” comes into play. The Double Consciousness is a concept that was first introduced in a journal called the Atlantic Monthly. As a side note, the Atlantic Monthly was a Boston magazine founded in 1857 that highlighted the current events of its day.

 

None-the-less, it was there where the article of an African American Sociologist by the name of William Edward Burghardt also known as W. E. B. Du Bois made headlines because he most accurately described the cognitive dissonance that African Americans experienced and had to deal with (and are still dealing with) during our social interactions day after day when having to interact with our Caucasian counterparts. This is especially true when it comes to using firearms for Personal Protection. Moreover, in W.E.B. Du Bois's book entitled: “The Souls of Black Folk” in the chapter called "Strivings of the Negro People" W.E.B. Dubois’s concept of the Double Consciousness was further articulated and expanded upon.

 

The concept of the Double Consciousness as it pertains to African Americans and People of Color in general states the following:

 

“It is a peculiar sensation, this Double-Consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

 

“The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife – this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He does not wish to Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He wouldn't bleach his Negro blood in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face.”

 

This directly ties into the African American (and other Ethnic Minorities) experience and the use of a firearm for Personal Protection and how we are perceived and even more important how and when we as African Americans and People of Color will use a firearm for Personal Protection. This cognitive discrepancy is backed by such statistics here in North Carolina in regards to the Criminal Justice System. In North Carolina  African Americans and Latinos are 7 times more likely to be sent to prison and receive longer and harsher sentencing than their Caucasian counterparts – even when both parties are charged with the same crime.

 

So the question for African Americans and People of Color that may be contemplating using a firearm for Personal Protection is:

 

“Do I really want to press this trigger even though my life is one the line?”

 

Put another way:

 

“Is it even worth pressing the trigger even though my life is on the line?”

 

Put more forthcoming:

 

“Is it even worth owning a gun if I’m going to be found guilty for shooting

some Bad Guy even if my life was in jeopardy?”.

 

See for far too many African Americans and People of Color, we don’t get to be "patriotic" and walk around with the idea of “It’s my civic duty”. That is unless you fighting for or protecting a Caucasian person and their interest.

 

The Double Standard is really seen when we examine how we examine how police deal with a Caucasian Suspect verses an African American Suspect. I mean where else can a Mass Shooter (who is always Caucasian). In fact, there is a Mass Shooting/School Shooting going on now by a Caucasian as I’m writing this article! But, the Caucasian can get a lunch while an African American male or female ends up Tased or even dead while in handcuffs! I mean I do understand that Police Agencies will operate differently based upon the Threat Level in respect to the geographical location. But the question is when do we begin to look past that and deal with the situation as it is.

 

Subsequently, I have personally seen that if a Caucasian shoots a Bad Guy he or she is labeled a "Hero" and when an African American or another Person of Color does the same thing he or she is disproportionately ascribed the status of "Thug" and is forced to face the high probability of becoming Convict. However, going back to the previous three trains of logic that stem from African Americans and other People of Color having to deal with the struggle of having to suffer from Double Consciousness as it pertains to using a firearm for SD, we have to think about:

 

“Do I really want to press this trigger even though my life is one the line?”

“Is it even worth pressing the trigger even though my life is on the line?”

“Is it even worth owning a gun if I’m going to be found guilty for shooting some bad guy even if my life was in jeopardy?”.

 

We will only examine the two questions that have a direct negative impact on the O.O.D.A. Feedback Loop processing on the Shooter of Color which are as follows:

 

“Do I really want to press this trigger even though my life is one the line?”

“Is it even worth pressing the trigger even though my life is on the line?”

 

With the advent of the introduction of having an extra step in cognition within the O.O.D.A. Feedback Loop process, which is really a form of self-doubt; it inherently places the Shooter of Color at an increased risk of being killed in a Lethal Force Encounter. So yes, since this extra step in cognition exists for so many Shooters of Color than by default Shooters of Color would have to be educated and trained differently than our Caucasian counterparts. this is not limited to only the realm of simply using a firearm for a SD (Self-Defense) application; but how the use of a firearm in SD will affect the Shooter of Color in every aspect of his or her daily life.

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