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The Cancelled Black Harvard Professor Who Found No Racial Bias in Police Shootings

The Cancelled Black Harvard Professor Who Found No Racial Bias in Police Shootings

Unless you have lived under a rock for the last four years, you will be very familiar with the claim that black Americans are disproportionately victims of police shootings compared with their white counterparts.

But a nearly eight-year-old study challenging this narrative is enjoying renewed attention thanks to a recent high-profile interview of the study’s author, African American economist Roland Fryer, by journalist Bari Weiss of The Free Press.

Professor Fryer published the controversial findings in 2016 while on the faculty of Harvard University. Regarding police shootings of civilians, the study concluded, “We are unable to detect any racial differences in either the raw data or when accounting for controls.”

While the study did find racial disparities in the use of nonlethal force in police encounters with black Americans, when it came to shootings, Fryer’s results were emphatic. In fact, after controlling for variables, Fryer and his team found that black Americans were slightly less likely to be shot by police than whites, though that difference was not statistically significant.

The finding flatly contradicts the claims by Black Lives Matter and other activist groups that racism drives police officers to use deadly violence against African Americans at far higher rates.

Far from being an obscure academic, Fryer, at age 30, became the youngest African American ever awarded tenure at Harvard—and ultimately one of the highest-paid professors at the Ivy League school, with over 50 published papers to his name. In 2008, he was named one of the top eight young economists in the world by The Economist and, in following years, was decorated with several other significant accolades.

Fryer’s remarkable career trajectory began from a place of acute disadvantage. He describes his early years as living in a “drug family.” His mother left when he was young, and his father was a violent alcoholic who ended up being incarcerated for a rape conviction, leaving Fryer to fend for himself. By his teen years, Fryer was starting to live the life of a gangster.

Just as noteworthy as Fryer’s controversial study report are three additional revelations that came out during his interview with Weiss.

First is that Fryer was so surprised by the study’s findings that he didn’t believe them. He hired a new team of research assistants to repeat the study in case the original findings were mistaken, but the new group came to the same conclusion.

Second is that within minutes of Fryer’s publishing of his paper, people began sending him complaints and threats.

“All hell broke loose,” he told Weiss. Rather ironically, he was even forced to hire armed security for a month following publication of his controversial conclusions.

“I was going to the grocery store to get diapers with the armed guard. It was crazy,” he said. “It was really, truly crazy.”

Third is that the figure behind Fryer’s suspension from Harvard was then-college-dean Claudine Gay. Gay gained national attention during congressional hearings regarding Harvard’s 2023 anti-Semitism furor, and she ultimately resigned as the university’s president some weeks later after being found to have plagiarized numerous works, including her doctoral dissertation.

Gay spearheaded Fryer’s suspension after the professor was accused of making “off-color jokes” and inappropriate comments and retaliating when faced with objections to those jokes and remarks. Fryer has apologized for the jokes but denies he has retailed against anyone.

Speculations continue to surround Fryer’s treatment by Harvard—among them, that his report on racism in police shootings was the real reason he was suspended from Harvard.

“I honestly haven’t thought too hard about that,” Fryer replied, when asked about such a possibility by an audience member.

“I did a lot of things at Harvard people didn’t like,” he said. “I broke a lot of glass. I’m not a company dude. I’m just not. I’m very clear about what my mission is. I am put on this earth to develop the truths about why we’re losing so much talent in disadvantaged neighborhoods around the world. That’s what I’m here for.”

Instead, he said, “I care about the real issues.”

He did, however, joke with Weiss about Claudine Gay and karma.

He teamed up for this interview with Bari Weiss, who has helped launch a new private liberal arts college called the University of Austin, and something tells me this isn’t the last we’ll hear from Professor Roland Fryer.

And that is a very good thing for America.

Image credit: YouTube

Kurt Mahlburg
Kurt Mahlburg

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  • Avatar
    February 22, 2024, 5:58 pm

    I worked as a corrections officer at a state maximum security prison for 21 years. Of course there is a disproportionate number of black criminals shot by police in the USA
    It is for the same reason there are a lot more black inmates than white in jails and prisons.
    The reason is 2+2 there are more black criminals than white criminals.
    This is a clear cut fact that has nothing to do with bias.
    People not liking this fact does not make a fact not a fact no matter how many times they jump up and down screaming that it isn't a fact or calling the fact statement or the stater racist.

  • Avatar
    February 22, 2024, 6:25 pm

    Let's face it. Today not many people want to know the truth. Too many actually believe there is no such thing as truth, simply opinions which are all acceptable except those that reject the current ideological narrative which can change as the wind blows. That has led to censoring speech. If one claims they have irrefutable evidence for something and can prove it, that also doesn't matter if their claim dissents against the current ideological narrative.

    If you are a person with black skin today and you care about the truth if it proves the current ideology is a lie, you will be severely punished.

  • Avatar
    David Sweatt
    February 22, 2024, 8:12 pm

    Real truth is not welcome on the LEFT.

    Especially not these days.

  • Avatar
    February 23, 2024, 12:54 am

    I follow crime and gun use statistics pretty avidly. There are some very neutral unbiased reporters on these numbers out there. For years I've seen that ys, there are more blacks being shot to death. likely because there are many ore blacks criminally misusing firearms. But when it comes to police shooting deaths of blacks, the numbers are indeed lower than one would expect.
    In fact, careful study reveals the reason fir this: after certain high profile "incidents' involving LE and blacks, in general LE are far more reluctant to fire upon blacks than on all othr groups. WHY? When a police officer encountered a man dying of fentanyl overdose and realised that was the guy's problem he immediately implemented all the steps his training had taught him to implement to desparately try to save this man's life. For his reward he remains imprisoned on a very unjust charge of manslaughter. The nation erupted in a level of lawlessness never before seen here, but certainly seen in third world hellholes and communist dictatorships.

    Seems blacks are far more "delicate" when it comes to getting shot. It's never MY fault, its always that dirty ol copper taking after me cuz he hates my kind. No stupid, stop acting like a criminal thug and maybe you won't be treated like one. It is clear many policemen are far more reluctant to fire upon blacks than other demographic groups BECAUSE it will on face be considered a "racist" attack.

  • Avatar
    February 23, 2024, 1:06 am

    When I read WHO it was that gave this guy the boot from Harvard I literally busted up laughing. Too funny!!!!
    My bet is good ol 'Claudine simply used her squeakey new "authority" to dump this fine man toward two ends: main one, I suspect, was that HE would make HER look bad if anyone began looking too closely at "things". And two, she felt this guy's genuineness and wanted to make sure he would never be able to make HER "look bad".
    Sorry (not sorry at all) Claudine, but your "shot across his bow" has gone round the world and bitten YOU on the backside. And I can only think of one word to describe the whole thing: JUSTICE. He is still n his way up and YOU have badly crashed and burned. Again, justice.


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