The fascinating, and highly problematic, history of the TV show Cops.

I think the quote, [show creator John Langley] decided he didn’t want to perpetuate stereotypes, so he insisted that the show feature as many white people being apprehended as people of color is pretty much the TV version of that diagram of the kids standing on the boxes. According to FBI data for 2016, 69.6% of arrested persons in the US were white, while 26.9% were Black or African American. On those statistics alone, showing “as many white people being apprehended” is over-representing the criminality of people of color by more than double.1 Assuming the show actually sticks to its “fifty-fifty” policy which, let’s face it, it doesn’t.

  1. Note that the FBI divides Hispanic and Latino figures down on a separate axis, as ethnicity. Even assuming that all Hispanic/Latino arrests are counted under the “white” racial category—a big assumption—it still means arrests of people of color are over-represented. []