Economist Jed Kolko pulled some demographic data Thursday morning that sheds some light on race and policing in the United States.
First, the shrinking and then growing-again gap between black and white representations on police forces:
Difference in non-White share between police & all adults narrowed sharply until 1990 and has since widened. pic.twitter.com/GFSjyQaba0— Jed Kolko (@JedKolko) December 11, 2014
Second, the way this intersects with the fact that younger cohorts are less white than older ones:
Difference in non-White share between police & all adults is narrower for older age groups, wider for younger. pic.twitter.com/VMdFE8Y315— Jed Kolko (@JedKolko) December 11, 2014
From the viewpoint of younger African-Americans, in other words, police departments massively underrepresent people like them. And contrary to feel-good stories about race in America, there's no progress being made. There was a lot of progress between 1950 and 1990, but 1990 was 25 years ago. Over the past generation or so, things have gotten worse.