criminal justice fun fact: there are more african americans under correctional supervision today than there were slaves in 1850.
disclaimer: i am talking about black stereotypes and the [arguably majority of the] population that lives up to these stereotypes, not the entire black race in general. i do recognize that this does not only apply to blacks and applies to every race to an extent, but this is my argument as to why black people are the worst at this.
now, i know what people are going to say. yes, there are racial disparities in our criminal justice system because of the discretion given to officials. yes, the supposedly racial neutral mandatory minimum sentencing and sentencing enhancement policies are somewhat counterproductive. but let me break it down for you:
this is not just the system’s fault. whose fault is it for enforcing negative stereotypes against blacks? they are the ones arrested and incarcerated the most. in fact, blacks are six times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. but if you look a little further into those numbers, black people also commit more crime in comparison to other races. that’s mostly why they are incarcerated more. they’re usually the ones always bragging about drugs, violence, etc (listen to rap music, listen to their slang and look at their “ghetto” subculture) yet they wonder why people stereotype them this way. and perhaps, we should consider the fact that maybe blacks are just more obvious and less intelligent and effective in the methods of commuting their crimes, so they’re caught more often. the crimes black people typically commit are violent, drug, and property offenses. none of these crimes are particularly organized, and they leave a lot of room for evidence.
indigent communities consist of a significant number of african americans. that societal class contains more violence, drug abuse, and crime than other class neighborhoods. there is also more law enforcement presence in indigent communities. racially neutral mandatory minimum sentencing and sentencing enhancements ironically target “traits and behaviors” of black people. but here’s the thing: you can’t arrest someone based on traits. your can be arrested for crime. but these policies target types of crime, not peoples’ traits. while these policies do seem to target indigents, especially black poor people, there is reason behind it. the people that posses these traits (poverty, unemployment, drug addictions, weapons possessions) are more likely to commit crime than those who do not possess these traits. so while these policies were made to be racially neutral, they appear not to be because blacks (especially indigents) reinforce the stereotypes by living up to the labels society has put on them. also, indigent blacks cannot afford private counsel, but i believe this has little effect on sentencing. while yes, attorney’s fight to get the lowest sentence, but defense attorneys do not argue to prove a guilt client innocent— they exist to make sure their rights aren’t violated in court. so if the black person committed a crime and is found guilty and incarcerated, it isn’t racism or because of their attorney, it’s because they’re guilty. so counsel may have an effect on sentence length, it does not have much of an effect on if the defendant is incarcerated or not. there is also room for judicial and prosecutional discretion, where extralegal factors like race might influence decision making. however, how many times have these stereotypes been reinforced by the people of the black race? not only do statistics say that black people do in fact commit more crime, they also recidivate at a higher level than other races. within 3 years of release, prison offenders already recidivate at more than a 66% rate, with more than 50% returning to prison. now it is proven through studies that black offenders do recidivate more and more quickly than other races.
(yes, i know labeling theory may have a slight impact, where people internalize their negative labels. but if you blame this on labeling theory, you are implying they have no self control or self efficacy, which is not the case. it’s laziness.) i am also aware of social conflict theory and strain theory, where the rich and powerful want to keep the class system the way it is, and poor people have less resources so they are more likely to use illegitimate methods to achieve success. while it is somewhat difficult to move up in the class system, it is definitely possible. there are so many stories of people turning their lives around, making something out of nothing. my grandparents and parents came over from vietnam, with nothing but the clothes on their back, and never accepted welfare, food stamps, or government help. my grandma learning english, got an education, and worked night and day to make a living. and before you know it, she worked her way up from a poor immigrant to an upper middle class woman, where my parents also stand today. i know a people that aren’t even supposed to be in this country make a decent living working two jobs. if immigrants and other people can do this, why can’t the black people that have been in this country for centuries? you can blame their social status to an extent, but it comes down to their self efficacy and ignorance. they just want hand outs.
shifting back to criminal justice, while racial disparities are recognized in our system, i think much of it is overdramatized. blacks (and other minorities, and even lower class whites) are responsible for reinforcing their own stereotypes and living up to their negative labels. if statistics say blacks are more likely to commit violent crime, drug offenses, property offenses, etc, why wouldn’t the criminal justice system adjust it’s policies to target that type of crime? most of their defenses against the arrest that it was discriminatory, racial profiling, etc. at what point are they going to take responsibility for their crimes and actions and not pull the race card? **essentially, policies like mandatory minimum sentencing target the crimes and offenses themselves— whether or not a certain race is more predisposed to these crimes are not the policies’ fault. it is ignorant and irresponsible to completely blame these policies for discriminatory sentencing, when in fact, it is there to punish all races the same. the only difference between the number of offenders prosecuted in each race is how much that race offends, which is completely dependent of our criminal justice system.
you are welcome to try to argue with my view on theories, but you cannot argue with the statistics and rates. black people are responsible for the way they are represented in our prison populations, they’re responsible for the way our society views and labels them because a significant population of them gave themselves and reinforced these stereotypes. there are truths to most every stereotypes to every race, just some choose to reinforce them more than others.
the point i’m trying to get across is this: while yes, there is discrimination and racial disparity again blacks in the criminal justice system, the main, overlooked reason that there are so many blacks that are processed through the system is because they commit more crime than other races.
this idiot wrote a freakin novel that basically said “i know the stereotype is that all black people are criminals, but that’s because they are” no asshole, we aren’t. Just because blacks are more likely to be incarcerated does not mean that we are more likely to be criminals. You know the kind of people that commit the most crimes? poor people. guess who are the poorest people in this country? Minorities like blacks/hispanics/etc. You know why? Because the same reason why blacks are targeted for crimes, there has been a long history of society teaching us that blacks are worse, and that influences businesses and makes it harder for blacks to get jobs, and makes the police target us more. Blacks are targeted more, have you ever seen a “what would you do” experiment? There would be a white man stealing something, people may question it, and then go on with their day. They get a black man to do the same thing and the cops show up immediately. blacks don’t commit more crimes, they are targeted more. huge difference. I could name at least 30 white guys off the top of my head who regularly do drugs, vandalize, steal, and have been caught by cops doing these things, and they brag about “getting away with it”, and assume its because they are some great persuasive genius. What about the rich white 16 year old who drove drunk and killed people but got let off the hook just because he was rich and white? fuck you and your false racist “logic”