Whether or not you’re familiar with the term “driving while Black,” unfortunately many of us not only do but have personal experiences of racially motivated run-ins with police while on the road.
Over in Chicago, data taken from the Illinois Traffic and Pedestrian Stop Study suggests that Black drivers are actually seven times more likely to get stopped by police compared to what White people experience.
To put that number into better perspective, the report showed that Chicago police stopped more than 204,000 Black drivers in 2020. A little over 35,000 white drivers got the same treatment.
Here’s a quick analysis by Block Club Chicago that seems to pinpoint when the issue first started becoming a problem in Chi-Town:
“The surge in traffic stops began around 2015. That year, there were about 85,000 traffic stops by Chicago police, records show. But in 2019, the volume of traffic stops in the city swelled to nearly 600,000.
The most recent report, for 2020, shows the number of traffic stops fell to 327,224, likely since fewer drivers were on the roads due to the pandemic.
‘But the racial disparities are still there,’ [Rachel] Murphy said.
Each year since the study began, around seven times more Black Chicagoans are stopped by the police than white Chicagoans, the data shows. That rate has been consistent as the total number of stops has exploded since 2015, and the racial disparity remained even when the total number of stops fell in 2020.
Latino drivers were stopped at three times the rate of white drivers, the data shows.”
Adding insult to injury, most of these stops are reportedly not even with true merit. The data reveals that no citations were warranted in more than 90 percent of those traffic stops in 2020. Those who are lucky enough to be let go without issue never really get a sense of justice either, as the officer doesn’t get reprimanded and a sense that it could happen again looms over the experience of driving overall.
While this isn’t an issue limited to Chicagoans in the least bit, what do you think can be done to start change over there? Sound off with your thoughts!
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