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Bias By Numbers by Shepard Fairey, 2017
Bias by Numbers addresses racial bias in policing, criminal justice, and media culture. Racial bias in policing and criminal justice has a long history, including stats like – black people being five times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people, and four times more likely to be subjected to unnecessary use of force, or four times more likely to be killed by the police when unarmed. The statistics revealing racial bias in prosecution and sentencing are compelling as well. Though recreational drug use is equally common in both predominantly black communities and predominantly white communities, convictions for drug possession are almost six times higher for blacks. Blacks frequently receive longer prison sentences than whites contributing to African Americans being incarcerated at more than five times the rate of whites.
Racial bias in police enforcement undermines public trust and presents a significant threat to the legitimacy of law enforcement in all communities. However, racial bias as a police issue may be intensified by other cultural factors which are both overt and insidious. Media characterizations of black protesters use words such as “agitators,” “lawless thugs,” “hoodlums” and many more, whereas descriptions of white protesters typically read as individuals “exercising free speech,” “expressing their convictions,” and “showing what democracy looks like.” I hope this art doesn’t just appeal visually but allows viewers to look at the layers of information and facts and think about how to make positive changes to patterns of injustice.
BIAS BY NUMBERS BY SHEPARD FAIREY, 2017
BIAS BY NUMBERS ADDRESSES RACIAL BIAS IN POLICING, CRIMINAL JUSTICE, AND MEDIA CULTURE. RACIAL BIAS IN POLICING AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE HAS A LONG HISTORY, INCLUDING STATS LIKE – BLACK PEOPLE BEING FIVE TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE STOPPED AND SEARCHED THAN WHITE PEOPLE, AND FOUR TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE SUBJECTED TO UNNECESSARY USE OF FORCE, OR FOUR TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE KILLED BY THE POLICE WHEN UNARMED. THE STATISTICS REVEALING RACIAL BIAS IN PROSECUTION AND SENTENCING ARE COMPELLING AS WELL. THOUGH RECREATIONAL DRUG USE IS EQUALLY COMMON IN BOTH PREDOMINANTLY BLACK COMMUNITIES AND PREDOMINANTLY WHITE COMMUNITIES, CONVICTIONS FOR DRUG POSSESSION ARE ALMOST SIX TIMES HIGHER FOR BLACKS. BLACKS FREQUENTLY RECEIVE LONGER PRISON SENTENCES THAN WHITES CONTRIBUTING TO AFRICAN AMERICANS BEING INCARCERATED AT MORE THAN FIVE TIMES THE RATE OF WHITES.
RACIAL BIAS IN POLICE ENFORCEMENT UNDERMINES PUBLIC TRUST AND PRESENTS A SIGNIFICANT THREAT TO THE LEGITIMACY OF LAW ENFORCEMENT IN ALL COMMUNITIES. HOWEVER, RACIAL BIAS AS A POLICE ISSUE MAY BE INTENSIFIED BY OTHER CULTURAL FACTORS WHICH ARE BOTH OVERT AND INSIDIOUS. MEDIA CHARACTERIZATIONS OF BLACK PROTESTERS USE WORDS SUCH AS “AGITATORS,” “LAWLESS THUGS,” “HOODLUMS” AND MANY MORE, WHEREAS DESCRIPTIONS OF WHITE PROTESTERS TYPICALLY READ AS INDIVIDUALS “EXERCISING FREE SPEECH,” “EXPRESSING THEIR CONVICTIONS,” AND “SHOWING WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE.” I HOPE THIS ART DOESN’T JUST APPEAL VISUALLY BUT ALLOWS VIEWERS TO LOOK AT THE LAYERS OF INFORMATION AND FACTS AND THINK ABOUT HOW TO MAKE POSITIVE CHANGES TO PATTERNS OF INJUSTICE.
T-shirt donations will go to:
Black Lives Matter - to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes
Know Your Rights - COVID 19 relief specific to the Black and Brown Communities
About OBEY Awareness: OBEY Awareness was founded in 2007 as a way to educate and fundraise for causes that aligned with the brand’s ideals. It is a unique program in that it constantly evolves to support important emerging issues and organizations. Each year OBEY dedicates specific products to raise funds for these causes. All profits generate from the sale of OBEY Awareness products are donated to the cause at hand. We encourage you to learn more and make a difference.
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