According to a new study, driving while black is a real hazard. Justice Department statistics, based on the Police-Public Contact Survey, show that “relatively more black drivers (12.8%) than white (9.8%) and Hispanic (10.4%) drivers were pulled over in a traffic stop during their most recent contact with police.” In laymen’s terms, a black driver is about 31 percent more likely to be pulled over than a white driver, or about 23 percent more likely than a Hispanic driver.
Well anyone could have figured that out?
As someone who’s been pulled over in a grocery store parking lot, I’d be hard pressed to notice white people pulled over when I’m driving. My friends and I even have a game when we see a cop car with their flashing lights on the side of the road; we try to guess the race of the person being stopped. And every time we guess a black person, we’re never wrong.
Perhaps not surprisingly, there were racial differences in the perceived fairness of traffic stops. The survey showed that 67.5 percent of black motorists stopped by police said the reason for the stop was legitimate, compared with 73.6 percent of Hispanics and 83.6 percent of whites. In general, people of all races were more likely to say the stop was legitimate when the officer who pulled them over was of the same race.
Overall, these numbers shed some light on how black and white communities can have starkly different views of the law enforcement agencies that serve them. Black drivers are 31 percent more likely to be pulled over than whites; they are more than twice as likely to be subject to police searches as white drivers; and they are nearly twice as likely to not be given any reason for the traffic stop, period. These numbers undergird much of the racial differences in responses to events like last month’s shooting and protests in Ferguson, Mo.
Clutchettes, how many times have you been pulled over?