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Explaining “13/50” and The Misinformation Surrounding It

Updated: Apr 18, 2021

By Jomar Rodriguez

Source via Health Affairs

What is "13/50?"

Within the political discourse on the internet, many conservatives use statistics without context and explanation in order to “prove” their point, 13/50 being one of them. 13/50 refers to the statistic that states that despite making up 13 percent of the population African Americans make up 50 percent of the violent crime. The statistic is commonly used to explain why we need stricter policing but in fact, this could not be further from the truth. If you look at it critically, it actually serves as an argument for the redistribution of wealth.

Why does this happen?

This is an incredibly complex issue but all sociological problems have two causes: genetic and environmental. It obviously does not occur due to genetic differences, and anyone who tries to argue or imply this likely has prejudiced or racist ideologies. In addition, there are hundreds of years of indisputable evidence that goes against this claim. Therefore, the reason for this skewed statistic is purely environmental. This leads us into a discussion about the history of race in America. After slavery ended, the Jim Crow Era began, which was a time in which racial segregation was encouraged and enforced by law. . The effects are still felt to this day, with a New York Time study discussing how cities and schools are still segregated, partially due to the fact that property tax funds public schools, meaning that property tax being paid in lower income areas leads to schools continuing to be underfunded.

What are the effects of this?

It is a well-documented fact that areas experiencing poverty have a higher crime rate as a result of many factors that keep Black people at a disadvantage, like the disparity in incarceration rates between races. Their systemic disadvantages also contribute to this reality, all put in place in order to keep the systematic oppression of African Americans alive.

What can be done about this?

Firstly, racist and bigoted Americans need to stop using 13/50 statistics without context, as it leads to increased misinformation and the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes about Black Americans. Also, further efforts to educate people on issues regarding how environmental factors can lead to skewed statistics is important. Furthermore, by defunding the police and investing in lower-income neighborhoods, we are able to make their schools better which is the key to actually lowering the crime rate and making these areas safer.

Written by Jomar Rodriguez

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