Shortsighted and Dim Witted
Stanly Crouch wrote a piece in the NY Daily News (or perhaps a syndicated editorial) that declared
It's crime, not race, that puts men behind bars. This piece is illustrative of the baiting that conservatives have been using to bamboozle the public on a myriad of issues. For example in this situation, it's a no brainer that people who are behind bars, by and large end up there because they committed some crime. I say by and large because innocent people do end up behind bars. Therefore one is in a precarious situation if one decides to challenge this piece of writing. Challenging this piece could result in one being labeled" blind, racist, or some other nonsense. Similarly the No Child Left Behind legistlation is the same. Who in thier right mind wasn't to argue against a bill that purports to look out for all children.
But let's look at Crouch for a minute. He sights the following:
My friend, a lawyer, recently served on a jury in D.C. and found the experience illuminating. He had heard all of the stories about black juries not being willing to convict. With him on the jury were two women who said, from the beginning, that they were not there to "put another black man behind bars." And that was that!
Then came the evidence, which made it very clear that this particular black man was a dangerous felon. He had not been railroaded. He had not been a victim of the system. The police had done their job and the evidence had been collected very professionally, not in the interest of race but of justice. The jurors looked at that evidence. They discussed it together. He was convicted.
Within the past year I met a judge at the airport in New Orleans. He told me that when he first went on the bench, he intended to put a stop to all the black men being put behind bars due to the racism that dominated the criminal justice system. Then he started looking at defendants' records and saw the evidence presented. There were plenty of defendants who had committed minor or victimless crimes and could be shown leniency. But there were those who committed murders, rapes, robberies and assaults.
I'm not even going to argue the merits of the cases presented above because that is not the issue. The issue is simply where enforcement is done, who is arrested and who ends up in court. Statistics have shown that whites are less likely to be charged with the crimes for which they are originally arrested for. They are often plead down and other sorts of judicial gaming to lesser offenses. And that assumes they are arrested in the first place. I recall some years ago a TV special where some white kids were caught on film selling crack (or whatever it was) in their communities by a sting operation. The officers who were supposed to be taking the kids "downtown" made a detour to the childrens homes and "told their parents." Meanwhile black kids in various 'hoods' are given felony drug possesions for simple vials of crack which results in all manner of permanent disenfranchisement by the state after their prison terms are done.
Back in September I noted a gross example of this inequuity in the "system":
In an incredible (and true) story, a 19 year-old New York University undergraduate student was recently arrested and charged with committing three felonies, including criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance, and criminal sale of a controlled substance on or near school grounds – each charge carrying a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. The undergraduate student sold high-grade marijuana, cocaine and hallucinogenic mushrooms to an undercover New York City police officer on eight separate occasions from the lobby of her dormitory. But that’s not the incredible part.
Despite facing up to 75 years in prison for her offenses, the student, a white female from a wealthy family, will actually never see a prison cell if she satisfies the gracious terms of the deferred prosecution agreement brokered between a Manhattan District Attorney and the defendant’s private attorney. The sweetheart deal – brace yourself for this one – includes 10 months at a drug rehabilitation center in Idaho followed by 8 months of work or school, and 5 years probation. Moreover, she will be permitted to plead guilty to lesser charges (perhaps misdemeanors) in 2006, pending successful completion of her “sentence.” Perhaps most importantly, her case was handled by state, rather than federal, authorities, allowing her to avoid severe federal mandatory minimum laws that would have likely resulted in a lengthy prison sentence.
Let's see Mr. Crouch explain that away with his "it's the crime.." theories.