Monday, July 22, 2013

The Racial Politics of Criminal Justice

* (On July 13, 2013, a Florida jury made up of six women acquitted George Zimmerman of all charges in the death of Trayvon Martin. As a parent, I can still only imagine the pain felt by Trayvon Martin's parents; and, as any parent would, I feel for their loss.)

* "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." So said our President over one year ago; again improperly injecting himself and the office of the Presidency into a local criminal matter - much as he did with his criticism of the Cambridge Police Department with regards to Professor Gates, a black man. Undoubtedly, many whites who voted for Obama twice thought that the election of a black man would bring us to a post-racial America. The mainstream media did their part in trying to make this a case of a white on black killing. George Zimmerman, whose mother is Hispanic, thinks of himself as Hispanic as well. Yet, the media referred to him as a "self-identifying Hispanic", and even made up a new term - "white Hispanic." (Does that make Obama, only half black, a self-identifying black man? Or a "white black?")

* Following the acquittal of Zimmerman, the Rev. Jesse Jackson had this to say: ...the "American legal system has once again failed justice." (I am curious as to whether he felt the same way after O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the murder of two white people.) The Rev. Al Sharpton said: "The acquittal of George Zimmerman is a slap in the face to the American people..." (Did he know, or care, that Zimmerman lived in a mixed race household as a youth? Did he know, or care, that Zimmerman tutored black children?)

* Benjamin Jealous, head of the NAACP, said: "We are outraged and heartbroken over today's verdict." (Is he outraged that, according to a Justice Department study from November, 2011, young black men between the ages of 14 and 24 account for 27% of the country's murders - while making up only 1% of the population? Data from 7/19/13 IBD.) President Obama spoke on Friday about the experiences of black men in America, commenting about being followed in a department store, or hearing car doors click locked on passing by. (As the above-referenced Justice Department study found that "blacks of any age are eight times more likely to murder than whites," might he have addressed legitimate fears instead? Quote from the same IBD article of 7/19/13.)

* Disappointingly, Obama did not see fit in his comments to take on those who would do harm to Zimmerman and his family. No comments about the New Black Panthers offering a $10,000. bounty for the capture of Zimmerman in March of last year. Or New York Giants football star Victor Cruz saying that Zimmerman won't last a year "until the 'hood catches up with him." Or basketball player Rodney White's comment that the "jurors should kill themselves." (Is that not a reflection of the problem already - too many blacks prone to resolve disputes by killing. See the stats above.)

* Apparently, one Georgia State Senator referred to the verdict as a "modern-day lynching." (So, one wonders what he thinks of the fact that the same Justice Department study mentioned above found that 93% of black homicide victims are killed by - blacks! From the 7/19/13 IBD article. What does he have to say about the fact that whites are twice as likely to be murdered by blacks than the reverse?)

* In his recent remarks on Friday, Obama asked all of us to question ourselves about racial bias: " I judging people, as much as I can, based not on the color of their skin but the content of their character?" (This comment, of course, comes from the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Sadly, many of the so-called and self-described black leaders of today seem not to live by that credo. It is also noteworthy that a recent Rasmussen poll found that 31% of blacks think that most blacks are racists, yet only 24% of blacks think that most whites are racist. From an article by Thomas Sowell in the 7/9/13 IBD. So blacks tend to agree with whites as to which group is the most racist. 38% of whites, in the poll, thought most blacks to be racist, and only 10% of whites thought most whites were racist.)

* In speaking to the NAACP, Attorney General Holder said that: "We are mindful of the pain felt by our nation...The Justice Department shares your concern...I share your concern." Holder also announced that the Justice Department would look into possible civil rights violations and possible federal charges against Zimmerman. Many commentators have indicated that the FBI conducted an investigation last year and found no evidence of racial bias or animus. (The FBI spoke to at least 45 friends, neighbors, coworkers and others who knew Zimmerman, finding no evidence of racial bias.) Many commentators have added that it is likely that no federal charges will be brought; that the feds are just waiting for a cooling off period before making such an announcement. So here is a politically incorrect question: is there something in the black community that suggests they would automatically resort to violence absent the desired verdict and absent a federal prosecution? Was the country worried about white violence after O.J. was found not guilty?

* Chicago has a murder problem. In the city of 2,695,598 people, more people have been murdered between 2003 and 2011 than troops killed in Afghanistan from 3/20/03 to 12/15/11: 4265 in Chicago versus 2166 in Afghanistan. Chicago's make-up is 33% black, 32% white and 30% Hispanic, with some others in relatively small numbers. Yet, 75% of both the victims and the accused perpetrators were black (during the above-referenced time period). Only 19% of the victims and 20% of the alleged perpetrators were Hispanic. The numbers for whites were 6% and 4%. So why isn't the President of the United States addressing this very serious crisis? Why isn't the Attorney General of the United States addressing this crisis; and addressing his own Justice Department's study from 2011, referred to above. Interestingly, while the President uses almost every occasion to call for gun control, the City of Chicago bans the purchase of handguns. (Data from an article of 1/16/13 on WND.)

* In his comments on Friday, President Obama said that he acknowledged that young blacks are disproportionately perpetrators of violent crimes and was not trying to make excuses for that. But then he did just that by tying the problem to the "poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities (which) can be traced to a very difficult history." He was, of course, referring to our country's history of slavery and later institutionalized discrimination. That history is real. I would submit, however, that modern-day welfare has caused most of today's problems in the black community; with too many fatherless homes and mothers having more babies than they can care for. Our President has acknowledged previously that the lack of fathers in the home leads to more kids dropping out of school, more kids having babies as kids themselves, and more unemployed and ending up in legal trouble. He needs to return to those issues.

* In his 7/16/13 IBD article, Thomas Sowell noted how Obama improperly injected himself into the Trayvon Martin case ("If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon"), noting: "The political perversion of the criminal justice system began early and at the top, with the President of the United States." He concluded: "The only real heroes in this trial were the jurors. They showed that this is still America - at least for now - despite politicians who try to cheapen or corrupt the law, as if this were some banana republic. Some are already calling for a federal indictment of George Zimmerman, after he has been acquitted. Will this still be America then?"

* It was disappointing to see many black commentators suggest that it was now open season on young black men - by whites. I cannot imagine that they truly believe that. Do they believe that the whites they know are now going to think about killing young blacks because maybe they can get away with it? So, whites really want to murder blacks but only held back from doing so for fear of being prosecuted? If these black commentators have a concern it ought to be about the various statistics on crime noted above; it ought to be about the frequency with which blacks kill other blacks. As blacks and whites constitute approximately the same percentage of the population in Chicago, for example, but blacks commit 75% of the murders compared to 4% by whites, where does the greater danger lie? The Attorney General frequently says we need to have a more open and frank discussion about race in this country. If we do, let it begin with an understanding of the facts and the feelings on both sides, and without any threats of violence or boycotts when things don't go our way.