Opinion: Please Stop Saying/Reporting Police Shot/Killed “Unarmed Black Man/Woman”

If the Second Amendment guarantees all people the right to “keep and bear Arms”, then why is there a need to always report that a Black person being shot or killed by police was unarmed? I don’t recall hearing them say this when white people are shot or killed by police. In fact, I’m sure by now many of you are sick and tired of seeing videos where white people who are armed and belligerent to cops walk away with their lives, and often not even a citation.

I understand the argument that the reason outlets report the Black person was unarmed is to emphasize the unfairness and cruelty of the shooting or killing. However, we must be careful with some of this phraseology. By stressing the fact that a Black man or woman was unarmed, what happens when the Black man or woman is legally armed? Remember Philando Castile? That’s what happens. When people keep hearing police shot/killed unarmed Black, unarmed Black, unarmed Black, with no repercussions on the cop, when they finally hear police shot/killed “armed Black”, even legally armed, it is neutralized, minimized or even unheard and no repercussions are expected because this time, the Black man or woman was “had a firearm”.

Also, part of the goal is to make Black people afraid to legally arm themselves. If you keep reporting that the person was unarmed, it may make Black people ask this question, “Damn, I wonder how bad it would have been if he or she was armed?” Compound that with police shootings like the Philando Castile shooting (where he was legally armed and revealed that fact to the cop) and: mission accomplished. Many Black people will quickly conclude that arming themselves is a lose/lose decision. So please, stop saying/reporting “unarmed Black man/woman”. Here’s an alternative phrase to use: Bad police with gun, shot good Black citizen without gun- again we ask: wonder the outcome if good Black citizen had legal gun and feared for his/her life.

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