This blog is intended to become the go-to source for documenting class and race injustice, with a particular emphasis on injustices to black Americans, because most of the potential contributors I know are black. Shoot, most of the people I know are black. Reader contributions are welcome, but remember we need to be able to document posts, and links are best.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Black Crime: Mythology or Reality?

Because people seem to need constant reminding:

While some have denounced the comments by former Education Secretary and Drug Czar William Bennett, they unfortunately believe his comments are based in fact. Those who believe that African American or Latino youth are more “criminal” than any other ethnic groups are simply wrong. The real facts tell us much more than stereotypes, or musings—both of which obscure the well-documented disparate treatment accorded African Americans compared to whites within the justice system. These comments on racially disparate crime also overlook the area of “corporate crime.”

For over a decade, the Justice Department has been working to reduce the racial disparity seen in juvenile arrests and juvenile imprisonment, a fact that underscores the existence of racially disparate arrests and sentences. African American youth arrest rates for drug violations, assaults and weapon offenses are higher than arrest rates for white youth—even though both report similar rates of delinquency.

African American Youth Are Treated Differently By the Juvenile Justice System

    Drugs. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate of current illicit drug use was 11.1 % among whites, and 9.3% among African Americans.[4] In a previous year, the same survey found that white youth aged 12 to17 are more than a third more likely to have sold drugs than African American youth.[5] The Monitoring the Future Survey of high school seniors shows that white students annually use cocaine at 4.6 times the rate of African Americans students, use crack cocaine at 1.5 times the rate of African Americans students, and use heroin at the same rate of African Americans students, and that white youth report annual use of marijuana at a rate 46% higher than African American youth.[6] However African American youth are arrested for drug offenses at about twice the rate (African American 314 per 100,000, white 175 per 100,000) times that of whites,[7] and African American youth represent nearly half (48%) of all the youth incarcerated for a drug offense in the juvenile justice system.[8]

    Weapons. According to the Center on Disease Control’s annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey, in 2001 whites and African Americans reported similar rates of carrying a weapon (whites 17.9%, African Americans 15.2%), and similar rates of carrying a gun (whites 5.5%, and African Americans, 6.5%).[9] African American youth represent 32% of all weapons arrests, and were arrested for weapons offenses at a rate twice that of whites (69 per 100,000, versus 30 per 100,000).[10]

    Assault. According to the Center on Disease Control’s annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey, African Americans report being in a physical fight at a similar rate (36.5%, versus 32.5% for whites), but were arrested for aggravated assault at a rate nearly three times that of whites (137 per 100,000, versus 48 per 100,000).

“The existence of much larger racial and ethnic differences in arrest rates than in self-reported violence is a matter of great concern. On the one hand, there is no reason to expect similar distributions, because these measures were designed to assess different aspects of violence. But if both measures are valid and reliable, the discrepancy suggests that the probability of being arrested for a violent offense varies with race/ethnicity.”—Youth Violent: A Report of the Surgeon General, January, 2001.[11]


At 6:09 AM, Blogger Changeseeker said...

This is a great post. Last night, a former student of mine grabbed me in the hall as I headed for class. A relative had been haranging her for days about the "criminal Black element." She was frantic for information she could fire back. I told her to remember that nothing she says to this woman is going to touch her in any way because the woman wants to believe what she's puking all over anyone who'll listen. Still, it's great to see this post and know that I can pass it on. Really good work.

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous douglass said...

I agree that Blacks, especially young black men are overrepresented in prisons.

At about 15% of the populations, blacks outnumber whites nearly 6 to 1 in American Prisons.

But, I don’t know if it’s racism in the enforcement of certain laws, or if some laws were designed to target blacks, or what.

Why blacks are overrepresented in Prisons is a mystery to me.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Phaedrus said...


I don't think anyone knows for sure what's going on, but I'm pretty sure it's a lot more complicated than most people seem to think.

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous douglass said...


My hunch is that it has something to do with the economy.

Do you find it disturbing that nobody really knows why?

At 10:11 PM, Anonymous Radfem said...

Well, it doesn't help that the criminal justice system is racist and classist in its application and structure, from past to present.

From capital punishment, to drug enforcement(i.e. Tulia, Texas) to disproportionate prosecution for certain crimes(i.e. gangs(through the "two or more" enhancements), drugs(crack cocaine vs powder cocaine))to the fact that usually the only Black men or women you see in a courtroom are defendants and in some courtrooms(except drug court which deals with rehabilitation), they are the majority of defendants present. Everyone else, save a public defender here and there, is White.

This is part of it. I had written a longer post but my internet crashed and it got lost.

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At 10:21 PM, Anonymous E.C. said...

Jewish people are the most intelligent. They win almost 40% of the Nobel Prize's and they have a small population of only 14 million. So by far they exceed the other races in intelligence. The other races having huge numbers and such small contributions.

IQ tests, test intellectual conformity, not creativity and originality. This would explain the Asian high IQ's. They as a people are the ultimate conformists.

In IQ tests there is typically only one answer to the problem. That problem being a social conformity to reason. But everyone knows that Genius's and all of the greatest developments in the world are not the product of conformity. Conformity never breeds creativity. We can see this in the lack of influence the Asian population has had on Science. China used to be called the "sick man" of Asia. Their population is massive and their contribution to innovation is almost nil. We can see this lack of originality in their adoptation of European philosophies, I.e. Communism.

Friedrich Nietzsche and other Philosophers have critized Asians. Nietsche used the words "Pallid osification" to describe Orientals.

Pallid: lacking sparkle or liveliness.

Osification: The process of becoming set and inflexible in behavior, attitudes, and actions. Inflexible conformity, rigid unthinking acceptance of social conventions.

The reality is Asian people have yet to understand that laws and rules are arbitrary. Europeans make the rules and Asian's follow them.

It also doesn't make sense that Asian's are considered smart because of the fact that they have destroyed their own countries. This is due to over-population and their basic lack of enviromental understanding.

It is also common scientific fact that women who have many children are ignorant, and those who have less children are more intelligent. This has already been proven in studies. So it seems strange to say that Asians are smart when the obviousness of their backwards countries, and medieval lifestyle makes them contrary to that premise.

Europeans have the most advanced civilizations and every other race has yet to meet these levels other than the Japanese. The Japanese only being good at copying other people's inventions and making them better. Other than that their original creativity is lacking as well. They took American cars and made them better. They took the German camera and made it better. And they took German steel and made it better. Otherwise the greatest advances still come from Europeans and Jews. Other than that the Orientals have yet to produce an Einstein or a Thomas Edison.

When it comes to Black people. It makes sense that they have low intellectual comformity, I.e. IQ tests. They are far too creative to be trapped in this unoriginal form of conditioning. You can tell their creative capacity in their athletics, music, dance, and the way they talk. They by far exceed the Asiatic races in these areas. Being better singers, musicians ect. Blacks far exceed Asians in emotive expression. In all of North America there is only one or two famous high-paid Asian actors.

Reality, Europeans rule the world and they have allowed others to exist only out of desire for economic bennifet. They, (Europeans) are also the physically strongest, winning the Strongest Man competitions again and again.

The greater the conformity, the weaker the race. Thus we see the races as they are today. The wild animal being bred out of man, and the physically impotent, conformist thriving.

Otherwise "Group psychology" is the most destructive thing in the world. All these stereotypes are false when it comes to the individual. Individualism is the most important thing for this time. All countries, Religions, groups need to dissolve for man to live in peace.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger locke said...

There is a major flaw with your analysis that arrest and imprisonment rates don't accurately reflect crime rates.

First, let's address the disparity in drug arrests:

To assume that equal rates of drug use should indicate equal rates of violent crime is simply illogical. These are completely different categories. Drug use involves a violation of a social norm, but harms only the user. Violent crime involves the violation of another's rights. The incidence of drug use is in no way an accurate indicator of the incidence of other crimes. Most pot-heads would never commit armed robbery.

And, as a victimless crime, it is easy for drug use to go undetected. One arrested for possession typically runs afoul of the police for another reason - the commission of another crime.

But the disparity in drug arrests does legitimately raise the question of the same thing possibly happening with violent or "street" crime.

But this question is easily answered.

With violent or street crime, there is always a victim to report the crime to the police (or a body to be discovered). Where are all the victims of these white criminals that must exist to even out the crime rate?

There are only two possible explanation:

Either hundreds of thousands of crimes go unreported every year, with nearly all of them committed by whites. At the same time,very few crimes committed by blacks go unreported.

Or the majority of black inmates were framed and the crime victims are so racist that they allowed the real (white) criminal to go free.

We'll use murder here as an example of how neither of these explanations hold up.

Although blacks make up about 13% of the population, blacks committed 52% of the murders from 1976-2005, while whites made up 46%. Blacks also made up 47% of the murder victims from that time (whites were 51%).

That means for every 52 murders committed by blacks there were 46 committed by whites. But to reflect the population, there should be 264 committed by whites for every 52 by blacks.

So if the 52 really were committed by blacks, where are the other 218 bodies (victims) of the white murderers?

Our other option is that the 46 were really committed by whites, but the 52 by blacks is wrong - they were committed by whites but blacks were wrongly imprisoned. For this to work, we would have 13 murders committed by blacks, and 39 committed by whites where a black person was framed.

Remember, because we are still a generally segregated society, most of the black victims were killed by (or blamed on) black assailants.

Are we to believe that in 39% of the cases, other blacks allowed, sometimes even participated in, the wrongful imprisonment of a black person?

And the numbers are the same for other crimes. Are we to believe that there are hundreds of thousands of robberies by whites that simply go unreported? That whites are being terrorized by other whites but simply not reporting the crimes? Or that the victims - who often see the assailant - are allowing innocent black men to be framed and guilty white men - the ones who committed the crimes - to go free out of racism?

Doesn't really add up, does it?

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