2008 June 02 Monday
Heather Mac Donald: Is the Criminal-Justice System Racist?

Heather Mac Donald has a new City Journal article entitled "Is the Criminal-Justice System Racist?". She says no. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton label whites as racist rather than admit that blacks commit crimes at much higher rates than whites.

At a presidential primary debate this Martin Luther King Day, for instance, Senator Barack Obama charged that blacks and whites “are arrested at very different rates, are convicted at very different rates, [and] receive very different sentences . . . for the same crime.” Not to be outdone, Senator Hillary Clinton promptly denounced the “disgrace of a criminal-justice system that incarcerates so many more African-Americans proportionately than whites.”

It is good of Senator Obama to remind us of what he believes. As President will he tilt the criminal justice system to make it biased in favor of black criminals?

The racial differences in crime rates show up in all the major ways of measuring differences in criminality.

Racial activists usually remain assiduously silent about that problem. But in 2005, the black homicide rate was over seven times higher than that of whites and Hispanics combined, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. From 1976 to 2005, blacks committed over 52 percent of all murders in America. In 2006, the black arrest rate for most crimes was two to nearly three times blacks’ representation in the population. Blacks constituted 39.3 percent of all violent-crime arrests, including 56.3 percent of all robbery and 34.5 percent of all aggravated-assault arrests, and 29.4 percent of all property-crime arrests.

The advocates acknowledge such crime data only indirectly: by charging bias on the part of the system’s decision makers. As Obama suggested in the Martin Luther King debate, police, prosecutors, and judges treat blacks and whites differently “for the same crime.”

Crime victim reports on the race of perpetrators match the arrest statistics.

Let’s start with the idea that cops over-arrest blacks and ignore white criminals. In fact, the race of criminals reported by crime victims matches arrest data. As long ago as 1978, a study of robbery and aggravated assault in eight cities found parity between the race of assailants in victim identifications and in arrests—a finding replicated many times since, across a range of crimes. No one has ever come up with a plausible argument as to why crime victims would be biased in their reports.

Obama is in the ranks of those who tried to excuse some blacks in Jena who almost killed a white guy. The Jena episode shows what is wrong with liberals in America.

Moving up the enforcement chain, the campaign against the criminal-justice system next claims that prosecutors overcharge and judges oversentence blacks. Obama describes this alleged postarrest treatment as “Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for others.” Jena, Louisiana, of course, was where a D.A. initially lodged attempted second-degree murder charges against black students who, in December 2006, slammed a white student’s head against a concrete beam, knocking him unconscious, and then stomped and kicked him in the head while he was down. As Charlotte Allen has brilliantly chronicled in The Weekly Standard, a local civil rights activist crafted a narrative linking the attack to an unrelated incident months earlier, in which three white students hung two nooses from a schoolyard tree—a display that may or may not have been intended as a racial provocation. This entrepreneur then embellished the tale with other alleged instances of redneck racism—above all, the initial attempted-murder charges. An enthusiastic national press responded to the bait exactly as intended, transforming the “Jena Six” into victims rather than perpetrators. In the seven months of ensuing headlines and protests, Jena became a symbol of systemic racial unfairness in America’s court system. If blacks were disproportionately in prison, the refrain went, it was because they faced biased prosecutors—like the one in Jena—as well as biased juries and judges.

Heather goes on to knock down myths about drug enforcement and incarceration. Read the whole thing if the topic interests you.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 June 02 11:04 PM  Ethnic Differences

YT said at June 3, 2008 6:31 AM:

The press has systematically covered up or attempted to cover up black crime against whites. How many here have heard of the Wichita Massacre? How about the Cincinatti Riots of 2001? They almost suceeded with Knoxville. And have done a pretty good job with hiding the facts behind the attack on the woman on tha Baltimore MTA bus and tried the same thing with black depravity with Hurricane Katrina. Does anyone besides me see a pattern?
If you think black crime is bad now, just wait and see what it will be like if Obama is elected. It is going to be bongo party time. Think of how bad the press, liberals and leftists are about this kind of stuff today. They are all in the tank for Obama and wallowing in it like the filthy pigs they are. If you think whites and racism get blamed now, just wait. My advice to everyone is to prepare for the worst. If you can get a CCW do so immediately. At least carry mace or something. When blacks attack whites, the objective is often rape, rob humiliate and then kill. Sometimes the motive is just fun. But no matter what happens, whites/racism will be blamed. No matter what hapens or what you do, you will be wrong. It will be, "Yes, that gang of 'youths' attacked and then robbed, raped and killed that white person, but...but racism, but bigotry, but lack of opportunity, but, but, but..." the black "community," professional blacks and the left, the liberals and the media will then close ranks behind the criminal, like they always do, and wonder aloud why this choir boy, honor student and aspiring rap artists/athlete go involved with the wrong crowd and did what he did. Avoid blacks if you can, your life or someone's life you care about may depend on it. If attacked, run like hell if you are able and fight to the death if you have to. No amount of begging, pleading, rationalizing or anything else will save you. Don't expect the police to do anything except put the chalk outline around your body. As whites we cannot count of the law anymore. Like I said be prepared and use your heads. Racism can save your life.

loki on the run said at June 3, 2008 9:27 PM:

Actually, I think the really big problem is that the CJS is highly sexist, and that problem has to be fixed before any other.

There are vastly more males in prison than females. It is like 20:1.

I demand that more females be locked up or that they let lots of males out of prison!

loki on the run said at June 4, 2008 8:56 AM:

I was mistaken. It is not 20:1.

As is pointed out in this paper: Why Does Oklahoma Have the Highest Female Incarceration Rate in the U.S.? A Preliminary Investigation

There is some useful data that the morons writing the paper overlooked or were simply too sexist to notice:

Table 5: Female Versus Male Offenders Incarcerated in Oklahoma by Race (1988-92) N = Female 3,134 N = Male 22,106

Gender Raw # Percent Raw # Percent
Female 1,661 53.00 1,254 40.01
Male 13,116 59.33 6,817 30.84
Gender Raw # Percent Raw # Percent
Female 44 1.40 175 5.59
Male 721 3.26 1452 6.57

And, as table six points out, nationally, white males and white females make up the same percentage of their respective prison populations, we can conclude that the same 12:1 ratio of white male to white female prison inmates applies.

Indeed, based on the numbers, there is less sexism in the CJS and the police when it comes to blacks, but Hispanics get a worse deal (although there are really not enough Hispanics to draw conclusions from).

Clearly, we need harsher rules around prosecuting and sentencing of females if we are to eliminate this sexist situation.

(As an aside, why can't you allow tables so I can present the data in a better format?)

Randall Parker said at June 4, 2008 6:36 PM:


If the MovableType commenting system disallows the table HTML tags that is news to me.

Greg said at June 5, 2008 2:50 AM:

The white man is like a dinosaur. The once popular conception of a dinosaur is of a slow witted, clumsy animal which could not meet the challenges of a changing
world. That conception now fits the white man who doesn't seem to understand that he is about to become extinct. Too harsh for you? "You ain't seen nothing yet!"

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