According to a study conducted by the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, and featured in an article in USA Today, blacks are twice as likely as whites to have performed a heroic deed. That finding seems dubious to me.
Society implicitly has different expectations for different groups, and the "hero" bar is often set much lower for blacks than for whites. For example, when the restaurant chain Firehouse Subs issued "hero cups" in 2009 to honor firefighters who had displayed "incredible acts of bravery," they selected four white men and one black woman as heroes. All four of the white men had risked their their own lives to rescue civilians in life-and-death situations, while the black woman's act of bravery was "spearheading a community-based program to strengthen fire safety education for seniors."
Similarly, the Stanford study muddles the definition of hero by conflating real acts of heroism (e.g., helping another person in a dangerous emergency) with, for lack of a better word, "affirmative action" acts of heroism (e.g., defying unjust authority, confronting an injustice). The USA Today article doesn't break the list of heroic actions down by race, and I wasn't able to find the study online, but I suspect non-whites were more likely than whites to have chosen "defied unjust authority" or "confronted an injustice." Those terms are so vague that acts such as resisting a police officer or attending an "anti-racism" rally would seem to qualify.
Even if blacks were more likely than whites to report having "helped someone during an emergency," that could be because of differing views of what truly constitutes an "emergency." It seems like whenever there's a news report about an angry fast food customer who made a frivolous emergency 911 call, whether because the restaurant ran out of chicken nuggets or lemonade, because their french fries were served cold, or because they were dissatisfied with the amount of food they received, the caller is invariably black. I wouldn't consider mediating a heated fast food dispute a heroic act, but some black people might.
Or maybe I'm off on this one. Maybe the harsh realities of inner city living provide blacks with greater opportunities to respond heroically in emergency situations, and more often than not they rise to the occasion. I don't know.