A Philosopher's Blog

Race, Gender and Prison Populations

Posted in Law, Politics, Race by Michael LaBossiere on February 29, 2008

America is a world leader in many ways. Unfortunately, one of these ways is in the percentage of the population in prison. According to recent statistics there are 2,319,258 Americans in prison. This is about 1% of the adult population. This puts us ahead of all other countries -even China (1.5 million in prison).

While the overall average is that 1 in 100 adults are in jail, the numbers are different when gender and race are taken into account. For all males 20-34 the number is 1 in 30. For black males in that age range, the number is 1 in 9. For women 35-39, there is 1 white woman in jail out of every 355. For black women the number is 1 in 100.

What is also of concern is the amount of tax money being spent on prisons. The national average per prisoner is $23,876 per year. Rhode Island tops the nation in spending at $44,860 and Louisiana is at the bottom with $13,009. States spend about 6.8% of their general fund budget on prisons. Four states (Vermont, Michigan, Oregon and Connecticut) spend more on corrections than they spend on higher education.

Interestingly, the increase in prison populations and spending has not been caused primarily by an increase in crime. For example, Kentucky had a 600% increase in prisoners while only experiencing about a 3% increase in crime. Thus, there must be another factor contributing to the increase.

Many experts attribute the increase to tougher sentencing. For example, the famous “three strikes” rule has lead to an increase in the time people spend in prison. An increase in sentence time increases the prison population by keeping the same people in prison longer. So, even if crime increases only a small amount (or even if it decreases somewhat), prison populations will begin to expand. To use an analogy, imagine a high school that extends the graduation time from four years to twelve. Even if the number of incoming freshmen remains the same, the school population will swell dramatically.

These numbers are rather worrisome.

First, there are the overall numbers.

While many people see prisons as a cure for crime (like a hospital is a cure for disease) this is not the case. Prisons clearly do not cure crime. If they did, America would have the lowest crime rates in the world.

However, the analogy between prisons and the hospitals does hold in one respect: having a significant number of people in either indicates something is seriously wrong. In the case of a significant hospital population, one would infer a major health problem. In the case of the prisons, it indicates a major social problem. In the case of a health problem, building more hospitals and not addressing the cause of the problem would hardly be an effective solution. While it would treat the effects of the problem, the problem itself would remain and thus would continue to put people in the hospitals. The same is true of prisons. Building more of them without addressing the causes of crime merely means we have more places to put the people who will become criminals.

 

Second, the disparity in terms of gender is of concern.

While women are committing more crimes now than in the past, most prisoners are men. The obvious reason is that men commit more crimes. Of course, the question remains why this is the case. Some suggest that men and women are naturally different in ways that lead more men to crime. Other suggest that it is a matter of differences in socialization. In any case, the fact is that men vastly outnumber women in the prison population.

In any other area, the feminists would be throwing a fit about such a great disparity. Obviously, most feminists do not complain about this disparity and some use it as evidence that men are bad. Interestingly, the factors that lead to the disparity in crime probably also lead to the disparity elsewhere. As Kant pointed out, the traits that enable success for good also enable “success” in what is bad-what makes the difference is the goodness or badness of the will.

Whatever the reason, the fact that men end up in prison in such disproportionate numbers does seem to indicate a problem. If it is a result of natural inclinations, ways need to be found to channel those inclinations in other ways. If it is the result of socialization, then changes would need to be made that would result in less crime. Obviously, this is not a simple problem and would require a significant investment in resources even to begin to figure out the nature of the problem. However, such an investment offers something that prisons do not-a chance to actually have less crime.

Third, the ethnic disparities raise serious concerns.

As noted above, 1 in 9 black males in the 20-34 age range are in prison. With such numbers it is no surprise that this is something that is easily noticed. For example, the majority of my black students are women. One reason why there are fewer black males in college is that a large number of college aged black men are in prison. In the case of women, the percentage of black women in prison is also significantly higher than that of white women. This raises the obvious question: why is there such a disparity?

The easy and obvious answer is that blacks commit more crimes than whites. Even if it granted that this is true (thus laying aside reasonable concerns about racial biases in convictions and sentencing) a very important question still remains: why, then, are blacks committing more crimes?

Some people might suggest that it is a matter of race-black people are more inclined to criminal activity than whites. This nicely fits into centuries of racial stereotypes, but is unsupported by any actual evidence establishing the claimed causal link between race and crime (that is to say, evidence that shows that the qualities that are supposed to make a person black also incline that person to being a criminal).

A better approach is to look beyond race and consider the factors that incline people to crime. In general, social factors (education, opportunity, etc.) have a significant effect on whether a person turns to crime or not.

In the United States, minorities are denied social goods (education, opportunity, etc. ) more so than whites. This denial helps contribute to crime in many ways. One way is that people who are denied such goods still have needs and ambitions. If these needs and ambitions cannot be satisfied by legitimate means, then people will tend to turn towards illegal means. Another way is that people who are denied such goods feel less inclined to respect and obey a system that denies them such goods. This would tend to incline people towards crime. Since minorities tend to be denied the social goods more than whites, this would account for the disparity.

Given that these social injustices contribute to crime, it makes more sense to use resources to address these problems as opposed to spending more on prisons. Diverting funds from constructive social projects (like education) to prisons merely helps ensure that more people will end up in those prisons.

This is not to say that all crime can be solved by fixing fundamental social injustices. But, it would go a long way in taking a bite out of crime.

 

 

 

 

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86 Responses

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  1. foo said, on March 1, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    In the United States, minorities are denied social goods (education, opportunity, etc. ) more so than whites. This denial helps contribute to crime in many ways

    So how come minorities (Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Jewish, etc., etc.), most of whom were (and many still are) viciously discriminated against for decades, many of whom came to the US in abject poverty, fleeing prosecution and death….how come these minorites, having being “denied” opportunity (Jews could not get into college even for decades, there was a Jew quota against them, heck, hundreds of thousands of japanese in california were considered subhuman for a 100 years), how come ALL of these minorities have LOWER crime rates than African-Americans ?

    • themadjewess said, on May 14, 2011 at 12:03 am

      Because, the FAR left encourages them to be *African*, and NOT American, thats why.

  2. foo said, on March 1, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    …and how come these minorities have ALWAYS had lower crime rates than the majority white population ? (even 50 years ago when they were treated as subhuman).

  3. uppity kitty said, on March 1, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    If these needs and ambitions cannot be satisfied by legitimate means, then people will tend to turn towards illegal means. Another way is that people who are denied such goods feel less inclined to respect and obey a system that denies them such goods. This would tend to incline people towards crime. Since minorities tend to be denied the social goods more than whites, this would account for the disparity.

    Wait, you forgot to bring religion and family status trends into the mix. That is probably more pertinant than race.

  4. mlabossi said, on March 1, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Foo and Uppity Ktty both raise excellent points.

    As Foo notes, the general crime rates for the specific minorities mentioned have generally been lower than that of white Americans. There have, of course, been Chinese criminal organizations and even Jewish criminal organizations in America. But, as noted above, the overall crime rates are lower for the specified minorities. This is obviously a phenomenon that needs to be explained.

    Uppity Kitty does suggest two possibilities-the role of religion and family. Strong family units and strong communities tend to produce far less crime. Religion is often part of creating a strong sense of community. Many social critics have pointed out that the African-American community has suffered from serious problems in regard to the family unit and community. This raises concerns about why this occurs. One factor that seems likely is the effects of racism. While racism has been directed against almost everyone, African-Americans have been a special target of American racism for quite some time. And, of course, the historical facts cannot be forgotten-when most Africans first arrived in America aboard the slave ships, they generally did not arrive as family units. Even if a family was together, they would generally be split up when they were sold. In contrast, other minorities could arrive as families and build communities. The legacy of the evil of slavery is still being felt today.

    This is not to diminish how other minorities were treated and the injustice they faced, of course.

  5. foo said, on March 1, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Even if a family was together, they would generally be split up when they were sold. In contrast, other minorities could arrive as families and build communities.

    Riiight. I guess African-American families are still being “split” up for the past 150 years or so. I mean that practice hasn’t stopped for more than a century now, it’s still going on.


    This is not to diminish how other minorities were treated and the injustice they faced, of course.

    Except you are diminishing it. The Japanese-Americans, Irish, Chinese, Vietnamese, they were all treated as wretched sub-human dogs for decades and decades. (you may want to look up the laws passed in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s etc., against Asians).

    So why is it that TODAY (2008), Africans are committing 100 times more crimes than ALL other minorites (most of whom have been utterly discriminated against, in a vicous overt manner)

    • Harford Howell said, on July 16, 2011 at 1:46 am

      HEY FOO…if you bring people over to a country against their free will and don’t educate them ,rape em,hang em…and then one day say “alright ni%$ers your free” and deprive them of decent education and keep isolated in ghettos for 150 years how do you think they would turn out???? i gotta hear your answer…
      mrhowell2002@yahoo.com

      • magus71 said, on July 16, 2011 at 3:11 am

        Maybe they’ll turn out like the jews in America; the most successful, educated and intellectual people in the country.

        Stop making excuses. All races have faced bad times. But right is right, even if you are a victim. Which you’re not.

        Egalitarianism and meritocracy all the way.

        • frk said, on July 16, 2011 at 10:27 pm

          All this in response to a February 29, 2008 article:
          Boy, that racism sore spot just won’t go away, will it?
          Maybe Michael will write a new article on how far we’ve come since 2008. Side A can opine on how far we’ve come racially and how racism only exists now because we keep bringing it up. Side B can justifiably sit back and cry “BS!”

          Magus do you really think the experience of Jews ^in America^ is a sensible equivalent of the experience of Blacks in America? Following from HH’s response: Were Jews “brought to this country against their free will” (more specifically, as slaves)? For other extremely obvious differences, see my July 16, 2011 10:10 pm post below –paragraph 2. Who, but those in the choir would give any credence to your Jew-Black comparison?

        • Regulator said, on March 18, 2014 at 1:45 am

          its amazing that ppl who know little to nothing about the issues a particular race faces has so much to say about how they should conduct themselves. The Holocaust did not last nearly as long as slavery nor has it had as many lasting effects AND it did not happen in America so sir please get your facts straight. In the mist of my research involving Japanese prisons I just so happen to past ignorant comments as the one written by you.

          • magus71 said, on March 18, 2014 at 5:47 am

            You mean the blacks sold in to slavery by blacks in Africa? I shouldn’t blame blacks at all? Seems we have another argument for determinism.

    • Regulator said, on March 18, 2014 at 1:47 am

      Would you like a cookie for your comments? Mlabossie is the only person that has made any sense in this comment section. Every race you have listed has NEVER had to deal with the same hatred and disparity as the African American race in America. I encourage you to get a book and truly do some research. As a person currently in Japan, its amazing that you point out they were treated “sub-human” when I witness on a regular basis how they treat international person here. They are far from perfect. Treat ppl the way you want to be treated and their actions are far from courteous.

  6. magus71 said, on March 1, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    There is no “cure” for crime, just as there is no cure for dirty dishes. You just keep doing what you need to do everyday. Believe me, the people who think that we ought to pass an M+M bowl around with violent felons, eating a piece of candy for each feeling they manage to talk about, these same people would demand “justice” if they or their families were injured.

    Unfortunately, the black culture found itself gripped by populists who preached victimology. So, instead of lifting their people and showing them the right way to do things ie, education, proper treatment of women, the importance of family and honesty and hard work, we have an entire section of America that still buys into the lie fed them: “You are a victim and even if you do the same exact things that your successful neighbor did, you CAN’T make it. Now lets go find someone to sue…”

    I say blacks can make it. I say that all of the other minorities that don’t have the same problems have proven this. The Chinese and Jewish populations have been lucky enough to have never had a self-defeating demagogue like Jesse Jackson to lead them to misery…

    The leftists of the 60’s got what they wanted: A disintegrating traditional family, more irreverence toward traditional Christian values, and an “I’m OK, you’re OK” system of morality.

    Yea shall reap what yea sow…

    • T. J. Babson said, on July 16, 2011 at 8:18 am

      It has been my personal observation that those who are most committed to racial diversity, the ones who are invariably added to search committees, really deep down don’t believe minorities can make it without a helping hand.

      • frk said, on July 16, 2011 at 6:46 pm

        Do you believe these search committees are basing what ^you^ believe are their “deep down” beliefs on an understanding or misunderstanding of the actual social roadblocks faced by some(not all) members of some (not all) minorities? And, if not all minorities face such roadblocks, should no minorities receive ^any^ consideration (a “helping hand”)?

        Your wording here is very general.–“those who are most committed to racial diversity”and “the ones”–and perhaps that is leading me to unjustified conclusions Do you mean all of “the ones invariably added to search committees “? Or do you really mean “some of the ones who ” or “many of the ones who” or “a few of the ones who”? I’m just saying that “the ones” makes it sound like you’re slamming them all. In any case, kudos on your seemingly acute ability to read “deep down” human motivations and base serious conclusions on what you would have to admit must surely be quite limited “personal observation”. After all, have you sat in on all search committees ever held? 6% of them? 1%? .001%? You should be on a jury or two Take magus and his crystal balls with you (apologies magus–a few more shots ^may^ make up for the “sp*******-a***** m*********” name-calling.

        After you’ve answered the above Qs, please, if you would, answer the following questions: Are you willing to say that no members of any minorities deserve “a helping hand”? Would you be willing to extend that limitation to the majority as well? If yes, why, and if not, why not? Would we all benefit from being “islands unto ourselves”? Should we all be responsible for ourselves and no one else?

    • frk said, on July 16, 2011 at 10:10 pm

      magus:
      I say “blacks can make it” ,too. Many can make it in spite of. Many can make it because of. Many would make it no matter what. But some need help.

      I hope you’re not trying to discount the ongoing after effects of the entire history of slavery in this country, some of which is enshrined in our Constitution.. At the beginning of Article ! we find the 3/5 Compromise, Later, in Art I, sec 9, the importation of slaves is allowed to continue until 1808, and interestingly enough the federal government is permitted to charge a TAX of $10 per slave!! Unless I’m wrong, slaves that were already owned as of 1808 continued as slaves. The hope was that slavery would die out on its own. But that didn’t happen, did it? The Civil War, Reconstruction, The Black Codes and the 14th Amendment ensued.

      Slavery was finally institutionally dead. Yet 80 years of “legal” discrimination in the South followed. Are the Selma marches of only 44 years ago already forgotten. And in the 70’s “All in the Family” formally outed white bigotry in its “tamest” forms. I live in a northeastern state. My father was a thin Archie Bunker. He’d come home after a few beers with his buds, bitch and rant about work, occasionally about some nigger at the bar. He’d drink with them occasionally (now there’s progress) but they weren’t worth crap. Just good subjects for off-color racist jokes. He wasn’t nearly as cute as Archie. And what is known as white supremacy is alive and (ahem!) ^well^ and broader in scope in 21st Century America. EX:

      http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/04/bigotry_makes_a_comeback.html

      This downward societal pressure can’t be denied or ignored. It’s not insignificant. But what happens? Some who fear loss of power would spend their time decrying “reverse discrimination” and despite the obvious evidence try to declare racism dead in the USofA. Or try to equate the black experience in America with that of other dark skinned groups. . . Personally, I can’t equate the experience of any other minority in this country with what I’ve described in paragraph two of the black experience in this country.

      My opinion, we should , as good citizens of a free nation where all men are equal, be focusing our attention on fairly determining which blacks need help, doing as much humanly possible to provide that assistance, and openly decrying the dangerous idiocy represented by white supremacists. Instead. it would seem, Black Codes, have been replaced by Code words, mouthed by media and political bigots. And a portion of the public is down on its knees lapping it up.

  7. Geaghan said, on March 2, 2008 at 4:41 am

    Another distinction between African Americans and other minorities is the manner in which they came to the U.S.: they were imported, as commodities, which left a lingering sense of shame that has defined white attitudes for centuries. Other minority groups came and stayed here voluntarily, for the most part, though of course they often suffered from systematic discrimination and cruelty once they arrived.

    But the relationship between African Americans and whites is unique: centuries of slavery and de jure discrimination left a residue of guilt among white Americans that was transformed into a fear of retribution that intensifies racism. Needless to say, it also produced a sense of permanent exclusion among African Americans, who often (and correctly) feel that they have a very limited stake in the larger social and economic order. It also created a legacy of bitterness. All of these factors, I suspect, influenced the data reported in the latest study.

    And I, for one, object to any implication that there’s something intrinsic (even genetic) to African Americans that makes them more likely to become criminals. These numbers have very deep roots in our historical consciousness.

    • the truth said, on June 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm

      first off, not one person here has ever or will ever know about slavery….you weren’t there no one you know was there…it’s been how long now and you still can’t get over it….it isn’t like the US, was the only country that had slaves….it was a bad time for america to adopt such a thing, but it happen…it’s over….get over it…..and another thing you are not African-American….you are all American’s unless you were born in Africa and thus moved to america to become a citizen…

  8. jcasey said, on March 2, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Your post reminds me of this frequent comment from George Will on the very same matter. You can find a synopsis of his position here: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2003/cyb20030805.asp#3

    Will, in essence, makes the same claim (prison population up, crime down) and fails to understand why anyone would not assert the obvious causal connection. As far as I know, he hasn’t made the same point with regard to the recent study. Since he never seems to change his mind or listen to objections, he will.

  9. magus71 said, on March 2, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Why should George Will change his mind on something that has an obvious causal connection? There is a connection between putting people who commit crimes in jail and less crime. The only question that remains is a society’s will to enforce its own laws, which has been effeciatly chipped away at by the acolytes of Jesse Jackson… and Noam Chomsky-quoting bloggers…

  10. Geaghan said, on March 2, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Magus: There is a connection between putting people who commit crimes in jail and less crime.

    But, to go back to the original post, that’s as stupid an approach to crime as hospitalization is to disease. It’s expensive, inhumane and does nothing to eliminate the causes of criminal behavior. I have little sympathy for criminals, many of whom need to be incarcerated, but a strategy of more jails and harsher sentences isn’t going to work.

    As for this question of “will,” the issue always gets back to this: the will to do what, exactly? Keep locking people up no matter how ineffectual the practice may be in the long term? The will to hospitalize sick patients does little to address the causes of disease. To stretch the analogy, we need to look at crime as an epidemiologist would look at infectious diseases.

    The rants about Jackson, Chomsky and ’60’s leftists contribute nothing to the conversation because they’re founded on unproven assumptions about cause and effect. Jesse Jackson caused crime rates to go up? (He’s been accused of a lot of things, but that’s a new one to me.) Radicals from the ’60’s caused the U.S. to have a stratospheric divorce rate (which has existed for decades)? You need a lot more evidence to support such grandiose claims.

  11. Carol said, on March 2, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    About families – When Africans were brought to this country they were often separated from family and tribe, so people were thrown together who had no basis for communication, no shared ethnic background, no common language, no traditions. The fact that they were able to survive and finally to prosper to the extent that they have is some kind of tribute to human adaptability. As we have begun to understand the effects of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, recall that this was the routine experience for the slave population, and if we consider discrimination as at least emotional abuse, it has continued to the present day, notwithstanding the fact of Barak Obama’s presidential candidacy. I’m not saying that African Americans today should consider themselves as victims, but perhaps that the rest of us should try to understand the very different circumstances of African immigrants. Other ethnic groups chose to come here, although often motivated by starvation and oppression at home. Every immigrant group has been persecuted to some extent, excepting the original white settlers, who inaugurated the theme of persecution by destroying the original inhabitants of this country, who still suffer from the effects. A national conversation about the long term effects of slavery, perhaps a national apology as was recently accomplished in Australia, might be a first step toward truly equal opportunity and justice for all.

  12. magus71 said, on March 2, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Geaghan,

    You said: But the relationship between African Americans and whites is unique: centuries of slavery and de jure discrimination left a residue of guilt among white Americans that was transformed into a fear of retribution that intensifies racism. Needless to say, it also produced a sense of permanent exclusion among African Americans, who often (and correctly) feel that they have a very limited stake in the larger social and economic order. It also created a legacy of bitterness. All of these factors, I suspect, influenced the data reported in the latest study.

    You haven’t proven causality either….

    And, I’ll repeat my rants about Jackson, Chomsky and 60’s leftists, and also use a statement of yours: I suspect these influence the data reported in the latest study…

  13. magus71 said, on March 2, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Oh yeah, Geaghan, causality is virtually impossible to prove…Hume’s Problem of Induction

  14. Geaghan said, on March 3, 2008 at 2:40 am

    Magus: There’s a massive and copiously-documented literature on the pernicious long-term effects of slavery and racism. It’d mention in particular two of my favorites among the classics: Kenneth Stampp’s The Peculiar Institution and Winthrop Jordan’s White Over Black. With a bow to Hume, if you’re talking about the psychological effects of slavery and the origins of racism, I’m not sure what standard of “proof” and causation would apply over four hundred years or more. From what I can see, you’d rather score ideological points based on dubious assumptions about the influence of Jackson, Chomsky and the New Left than engage in an empirical investigation into the problems of crime and racial disparities in incarceration rates.

  15. magus71 said, on March 3, 2008 at 10:03 am

    I’ve never stated that the things you’ve mentioned didn’t effect crime rates. AND–I never stated that incarceration is the only answer–but it IS part of it.

    But none of your points erode the fact that almost every minority–many of them with white skin color, such as the Jewish population and Irish community–have overcome huge defecits in what we consider fair and appropriate treatment.

    When the race card is played, and class warfare is waged, it is almost always by the Left…but the black community needs more people like Bill Cosby–That’s a great man. He doesn’t tell the black community about how White’s are keeping them down, he tells them how they can pick themselves up. Cynicism is a cancer, and once it sets in it’s almost impossible to remove, because it becomes an excuse for failure…

    Crime rates in the black comminity have risen since the civil rights movement. So the causal relationship between crime and human-rights is dubious.

    It’s been said before–it’s all about attitude. And when culture’s attitudes change, so will a cultures results. So do your part to tell the black community that they can make it here, white people like me don’t hate them, keep them down, or want them to sit at the back of the bus. Or you can continue to curse them with a cynical world-view.

  16. Jib Jab Jones said, on March 15, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    I’s wanna smmmich – I’s gots to hab a sammich.

  17. zacca said, on March 27, 2008 at 1:10 am

    Excellent essay.

  18. [...] has been noted in a previous blog, many black men are in prison. This obviously makes it difficult for them to be good fathers. While [...]

  19. [...] Second, the United States has long been accused of having a strong racist undercurrent (or main current). This would have numerous effects such as an increased likelihood that minorities would be put into prison as well as the creation of social conditions that would incline certain minorities towards crime. I’ve written about this before. [...]

  20. Cyneiceya said, on October 17, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    even no im 12 i have rights and so does minorities in america.

  21. [...] and discriminate in ways that do not break the law. For example, while African-Americans make up a disproportionately large percentage of the the prison population in America, they make up a disproportionately small percentage of those in leadership positions (political, [...]

  22. [...] and discriminate in ways that do not break the law. For example, while African-Americans make up a disproportionately large percentage of the the prison population in America, they make up a disproportionately small percentage of those in leadership positions (political, [...]

  23. Anonymous said, on December 29, 2008 at 9:09 am

    op[

  24. curtis said, on January 13, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    My question is, how come we as a black race trying to keep the fight of separation between the ones who so call made some good out of themselves, compared to those who didn’t. I my self is a fern believer that you can only hide for so long, when you have black men who are stars and have no purpose to assist their fellow man they them selves become crooked, because they want all attention from both side when truly they don’t understand both sides. If you look at our prisons today some many of our brothers are in their, who don’t know how the hell they got their because, deep down inside they their because karma of not helping their fellow brother who is left behind from his dreams, and the opportunity is in their. We have all these churches but not as many support groups, because I come to know that the white man says well let them have their churches because they don’t care as long the drug dealer paying his tem percent, but then later his ten percent be put in the hands of another crooked, and the transitions just goes on and on, its seems that every other race in the world know about us but we don’t know anything truly about them. and given us tougher sentences isn’t going to help, what’s going to help is let all them brothers out and move all the blacks to one area and force us to live with our bull crapped then we may try and change it, or die out like the sabtooth tiger, because this been out of hand for years, now kids cant be kids, but preachers and pimps can steel be themselves, crazy.

  25. kernunos said, on January 16, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Curtis,
    I do not think that letting people out of prison for the sake of understanding is a good thing but I do agree that you have some good points. I mostly agree that the change has to come from within the black community. I am not talking about racism here, but a cohesive philosophy on who they are to themselves and how they want the rest of the world to see them. They need good leadership to step forward and say “Enough is enough. We are no longer victims.”.

  26. white guy said, on January 18, 2009 at 3:42 am

    we should probably lock up more black people if trends continue they are having to many children and then the crime rate will double

  27. SOMEONE ABOUT TO MOVE OUT OF THE us said, on March 30, 2009 at 11:42 am

    ooo the same old worn out, they dont have the same opportunity’s oooo poor black people, they don’t have the same privileges as whites that’s why theirs more in jail poor blacks.WAKE UP PEOPLE i went to a school with 5,000 students more than half were black 55% to 60%. More than 60% of the blacks percentage never even graduated because they never came to school and when they did they were selling drugs getting in to fights and disrupting classes. so yes they are given every opportunity whites are if not more do to programs to try an help blacks. do the research you fool!!!!! So for all you people who can not face the music and live in your little fantasy word coming up with excuses after excuses for this sickness in our country KEEP MAKING THEM. THIS COUNTRY IS CRACKING and IT WILL BRAKE. AND YOU FOOLS WITH BLOGS LIKE THIS ONE ON PUSH MORE. WAKE UP!

    • DeAndre said, on July 23, 2009 at 11:18 am

      We need more black men to take there place I agree to a point that the odds are stacks against blacks. The myth is true but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it but when we do remember to give back. Learn the word Bifurcation.

    • DeAndre said, on July 23, 2009 at 11:31 am

      The school you when to one school you making this about you we talking about society as whole check the statistics and I admit some are lazy some have it all and blow it and are making excuses. Check your self and learn black history how about the dred scott case and the rule of three not just MLK and Malcolm X broaden your thinking.I know some whites who aren’t rich and some black who are this isn’t about color but I’m a believer that constitutional racism (cointelpro)and racism period exsists.

  28. My thoughts on subject said, on August 8, 2009 at 1:17 am

    I was not raised to be a racist and I don’t think I am now. I give everybody a chance to prove themselves. I will say that I think black people have a serious problem that has nothing to do with white people. My parents, grandparents and so on had nothing to do with slavery and this is the case for most white families. White people don’t give them drugs and a gun and say have at it. They choose to go down that road. I believe they have to be removed from society. There just isn’t another reasonable choice for society to make. I ask this question: Why is it so acceptable within the black community for black people to be involved in crime and drugs? If I know a white person that is involved in crime and drugs I have nothing to do with them and if asked why I tell them why. I went through the public school system in which black students were given the same opportunities as me and they blew it. They didn’t come to school and when they did they were fighting, not paying attention in class, and doing drugs. WHY? This is not my fault or any other white person’s fault it’s their fault. Respect is earned not given.

  29. nick (white) said, on February 23, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    I completely agree. Black’s are given plenty of oppourtunitie’s. Though I try hard in not feeling this way. It’s very hard not to see the reverse discrimination that is going on. White’s are deffinately getting alot of blame for mistakes made by black’s. I would just like to see responsibility taken by the race. Yeah buddy I don’t care if black were brought over as slaves 150 years ago there grandparents parents weren’t even involved. So if you think that has anything to do with this your completely wrong. I have learned in my sociology class that it takes 3 generations for an ethnic group to completely take the traditions and morals put on by the government. It has been way longer than that. In no way shape or form does slavery have anything to do with crime by blacks.

  30. CyrusTG said, on May 15, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    I find it interesting that nowhere in the world can you find a functional society of black people. I also find it interesting that I’m considered a “bad person” for noticing this. I wasn’t born racist, nor was I conditioned by my parents or peers to be so. But having lived in 8 different major U.S. cities, on both coasts and in the mid-west, I can’t help but notice the near 100% correlation between black skin color and violent, selfish, irrational, self-destructive, petty behavior. I also notice the same phenomenon when visiting other countries. If I were a rational and logical alien observing from a distance I’d conclude that the “black ones” are flawed. But since I’m a human that’s terrified of the personal, political, and economic destruction that my peers will subject me to, should I state the obvious; I continue to pretend that I don’t see what I see.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on May 17, 2010 at 2:25 pm

      You must have a rather limited sample set. I teach at a predominantly black university and my experience has been quite different. Also, traits like being selfish, irrational and petty are universal human traits. As such, the alien observer would probably think that all humans are flawed. That is because, well, we are.

      However, the matter of such correlations is a legitimate field of inquiry.

  31. dudd said, on July 24, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    It’s not about curing crime you dud, it’s about keeping those who do crime off the streets, and prevent them from influencing others.

  32. Janice Currie said, on December 10, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    @Foo, Maybe the minorities you speak of came here to escape worst conditions they faced in their own countries. Just as true, I believe, Africans in America, another minority, commit less crimes than Afro-Americans and whites. Thus, America is a step up to them regardless of how they are preceived. Whereas Afro-Americans do not have a better life to compare their lives too. They can only compare their lives to the better lives that other native born American are afforded-whites.

  33. ls said, on December 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    blacks i believe have not evolved like other races there ancestors in africa live the same way they have for thousands of years it might take awhile before they cathup if they ever do.l

    • WTP said, on December 14, 2010 at 1:18 pm

      Yet there are sooo many who can write a far more coherent sentence than that one and know the meaning of the word ancestor, to boot.

  34. Anonymous said, on June 19, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    The key word here is DENIED—In reality, the correct choice of words would have been “made a choice to quit school–made a choice to be pregnant at 14–made a choice to use robbing, stealing, selling dope, and killing as a way to make money, because working doesn’t allow you to be near as lazy–If you want the same things in life that others have, you need to go get them the same way as others do–be hard working, educated, tax paying, decent, citizens and quit making excuses, because your too lazy to work the system–you reap what you sow!

  35. Harford Howell said, on July 16, 2011 at 1:52 am

    i’m a black guy and my parents sacrificed and gave me a private school education and i turned out pretty good…i’m now married with 2 beautiful kids and a beautiful home so why are’nt i going around commiting heinous acts of horror??? answer that foo….if black people where brought here and given the same education,same oppurtunities and there was no racism and we all worked together for the good of this country, how do you think blacks would fare then????

    • magus71 said, on July 16, 2011 at 3:07 am

      Are black people racist, too?

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on July 17, 2011 at 9:46 am

        Racism is an equal opportunity employer.

        • frk said, on July 17, 2011 at 11:22 am

          Yes. Racism is racism is racism. “Reverse racism” is a defensive political construct.

          And on a related note: I’m still trying to get my head around how our rush to forget discrimination against blacks in our past (see my July 16, 2011 10:10 pm above) ^and^ in our present, in any way could lead us to the stated position that efforts to help any blacks who really need help is “reverse discrimination”. I don’t understand it. But there it is.

          If a prisoner is wrongly incarcerated for a crime and 20 years later is released because DNA evidence proves him innocent, occasionally the state out of a sense of justice will try to “compensate” (like that’s possible) him for his losses. If a person is wrongly sold into the service of another–that is, he’s not even suspected, justly or unjustly, of any crime against any individual, the state or the nation– and many generations later an attempt is made to make reparations for the unlawful degradations he was subjected to and for the continuing fallout of those evils, many, fingering their wallets and a few , trying to salvage their misguided sense of superiority without revealing their true racist motivations, will cry “reverse discrimination”.

          Here are the Children of God, for millennia suffering every second of their lives for the sins of Adam and Eve, believing that their debt to blacks can be so quickly paid. Pshaw.!

  36. eric said, on August 8, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    “In the United States, minorities are denied social goods (education, opportunity, etc. ) more so than whites.”

    What do you support that statement with? There are many universities in America that use race as a predominant factor of consideration, giving applicants belonging to certain minority groups a significantly greater chance of admission than students with from other racial groups despite their higher test scores. Additionally, our Supreme Court has explicitly banned the states from passing laws that deny illegal aliens public education, hospital services, or even welfare in some cases. You sound as if you’re trying to foster and encourage a “victim” role for certain minorities despite very substantial endeavors constructed to give them an upper hand.

  37. Begonia said, on September 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    That is a bunch of bull “eric”. With the affirmative action, and our government and taxes spending billions of dollars on minorities, your information is so skewed it is pathetic. Free health clinics are scattered everywhere in this country, free meals, welfare entitlements, mission centers, churches, charity’s, red cross, salvation army donations and the list could go on and on – if they want help, it is there for them. Whenever government is involved in providing hand-outs to anyone and everyone and the massive fraud in our own government, is it no wonder there is disgruntled people in this country? If you want to look at the “hand-outs” from our government, one only has to look at the Chicago, LA, Gary, NY “projects” specifically for minorities that have literally destroyed those buildings, many sitting empty as we speak. When there is a disaster in this country, who is caught on camera’s looting – the blacks in grooves are out there and could care less if they are captured on camera. Who are the major drug lords, drug dealers – the blacks. Get real, and I am not a racist person, just telling the logistic statistical data.

    • eric said, on December 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm

      Did you even read what I wrote? It sounds as if you’d agree with it. What I was attempting to say is, the United States gives minorities very significant access to social goods, and at times, minorities are even favored. (See, http://www.npr.org/news/specials/michigan/). You basically bolstered my argument, while adding that minorities are generally assholes – something I fundamental disagree with.

  38. Kim Young-Duk said, on November 22, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    I believe if all resources were divided evenly, eventually blacks would still come out on the bottom.

  39. Seng Liu said, on November 23, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Wouldn’t the world be a better place if all blacks worldwide were confined to the continent of Africa, where they belong, to fuck, rob, rape, take drugs and kill themselves into extinction? For the rest of the civialized world, less strain on victims of violent crime and socioeconomic resources, no influence on pop culture, less disease, less fear, and above all else, racial harmony amongst white, brown and yellow people.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 24, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      You seem to speak from ignorance and hate. No ethnicity has a monopoly on virtue or vice.

    • omalone1 said, on August 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

      I agree. there should be a trade. each european in africa leaves, and trades places with every African in Europe. And no, neither takes their “privileges” with them i.e. material trappings. Let’s see what happens.

  40. Anonymous said, on November 30, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    historicly, the blacks are more prone crime and violance. i didnt like the idea of slavary, but when it was abolished, they all should have been sent back to africa, they are like the wild hogs that the brits brought over and left. look what has happened when they let them go free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. omalone1 said, on August 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    the mythology of criminal minorities is neccessary as it supports the system of white domination, as de facto as it is. White must exist by negating the non-white, which is why, these events are rarely contextualused, this leaving the impression of pathological overs who just need to be restrained and governed

  42. Bogdan said, on January 28, 2013 at 7:06 am

    I’m not saying that an entire race should be stigmatized just because they have higher crime/incarceration rate. But scientists in the world should really do their job in unlocking and discovering the anatomical, psychological, genetically and evolutionary factors that make some people more violent than others and more likely to commit a crime.
    It is a widely known fact that violence and crime has a root in the evolution of people across the globe, competition for scarce resources, fight for survival, etc. Of course, nobody would like to be told that he is more likely to commit a crime because he comes form a certain part of the world, ethnic group or race, and this could be labeled as discriminatory/racist. But if differences in crime and violence exist on a gender base, it is very likely that they can exist on a genetic/evolution and racial/ethnic base

  43. Anonymous said, on July 6, 2013 at 1:35 am

    where Im from blacks have even greater opportunity on jobs bye law and even more consideration on education .In fact 2 black schools where recently closed due to poor performance.The black students where then merged into other high schools bringing their performance levels down.So you see the good are punished and the bad rewarded.Bye the way its Louisiana and our prisons are full of black inmates like the rest of the country.Blacks are 14 percent of Americas population and comprise 42 percent prison population.Im white and I have black friends so this concerns me.What really confuses me is my normally intelligent black friends still revert to the blame game instead of facing the real causes and changing things.

    • Regulator said, on March 18, 2014 at 1:50 am

      As a law student who has done years of research on Black and the criminal legal system in America. It is fact, and several scholarly sources support, that the prison systems are biased against African Americans. If you were truly concerned, any research or a single google search into the topic would yeild numerous sources for you to read up on. From Jim Crow laws, to the Civil Rights Movement, to the War on Drugs history shows that punishment has been disproportionate. Even in the news lately Blacks who commit the same crimes as whites are given far harsher sentences. Beyond that Blacks who use the same drugs as their white counterparts are convicted at higher rates and handed harsher sentences. Please do your research.

      • magus71 said, on March 18, 2014 at 5:52 am

        Nah. The black community has a crime problem. Period.

    • Regulator said, on March 18, 2014 at 1:51 am

      I encourage everyone in this forum to do their research before making ridiculous comments.

      • magus71 said, on March 18, 2014 at 5:54 am

        Enablers such as yourself are doing blacks no good. Tough love, Google it.

        • Regulator said, on March 18, 2014 at 7:31 am

          Your ignorance is nothing outside of the usual uneducated responses the uninformed give in America. Based on your responses I do believe that you must have a pretty terrible lifestyle and are in need of someone or something to blame. The black president argument is a ridiculous example of showing an end to racism and I won’t even dig into your other responses.

          It’s obvious that there is not talking of sense into you. Maybe when you actually do some research and can present some facts then we can have a discussion. I would love to enlighten you, but your mind obviously isn’t ready. You go to bat for other minorities but it is clear you have a problem with the black community. I encourage you to do better with your life. You must have slept during history class and you must not watch the news very often.

          • magus71 said, on March 18, 2014 at 8:04 am

            Your comments about Japanese people being rude is interesting. We nuked two of their cities. You shouldn’t blame them for being a bit miffed, even when you treat them well.

            Isn’t this the same argument you make for black people?

            • Regulator said, on March 18, 2014 at 8:09 am

              Exactly. So for you to feel how you feel about them and a different way about other minorities is surprising to me. I could just as easily say that happened years ago and did not have the same lasting effects as slavery and that they should be over it because everything is fine in Japan now, but for me to make a comment like that would be ridiculous. While they are two very different type of incidents, one physical, and another physical and psychological, to say that one group should feel one way and another group should not would not make sense.

            • magus71 said, on March 18, 2014 at 8:13 am

              I’m being sarcastic. the Japanese have it together a lot more than American blacks, generally speaking. I’m part American Indian. They’re doing pretty terribly, too, and it’s not because of manifest destiny.

            • Regulator said, on March 18, 2014 at 8:19 am

              Yes, the did not have to deal with a diaspora, civil rights movement, jim crow laws or any other of the harsh eras that African Americans have encountered. American Indian’s have even in some sense been given reparations, in some ways greater, than that of African Americans. Any time someone is able to check that racial box on an application they’re pretty much given what they have asked for.

              Research will show you that both past and present has been harder on the black community. As a current resident of Tokyo I can tell you that they do not have it all together, but since they have not been faced with the same challenges they do not have as many problems to face.

          • magus71 said, on March 18, 2014 at 8:16 am

            “are in need of someone or something to blame.”

            Sounds like your argument for blacks, actually.

          • magus71 said, on March 18, 2014 at 8:17 am

            Is Bill Cosby ignorant of black history, like me?

            • Regulator said, on March 18, 2014 at 8:21 am

              No. I think that a solution to the problem would involved an active effort from the black community and from the non black community. I am not saying blacks are blameless, but I do not believe the fault is all their own, which is what I understand your argument to be.

            • magus71 said, on March 18, 2014 at 8:23 am

              It’s much more PC for a black man to tell it like is than a white man.

            • Regulator said, on March 18, 2014 at 8:30 am

              Stacey Rena Candler & Andrew Austin, Race, Class and Gender of Prisoners, in ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PRISONS & CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES (Mary Bosworth, 2005). available at http://www.sagepub.com/hanserintro/study/materials/reference/ref11.1.pdf.

              Bert Useem & Anne Morrison Piehl, PRISON STATE: THE CHALLENGE OF MASS INCARCERATION 2 (2008). “In one argument putting more people in prison adds fuel to the fire by stigmatizing millions of low-level offenders as hard-core felons and schooling them in crime.”

              See generally The Final Call, Willie Lynch Letter: The Making of a Slave (may 22, 2009 12:45:37pm), http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/Perspectives_1/Willie_Lynch_letter_The_Making_of_a_Slave.shtml This speech was said to have been delivered by Willie Lynch on the bank of the James River in the colony of Virginia in 1712. Lynch was a British slave owner in the West Indies. He was invited to the colony of Virginia in 1712 to teach his methods to slave owners there.

              See Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow, p6-7 (2010). This book provides great insight to one theorist’s view of the conspiracy behind certain policy implementations to further disadvantage Blacks and other minorities. The information provided goes into much depth beyond what is required in this memo.

              I have many other sources and books, but I leave you with this. I have nothing more to say. I think we will just have to agree to disagree.

            • T. J. Babson said, on March 18, 2014 at 9:21 am

              OK, I’ll bite. Regulator, “active effort” is rather vague. What kinds of concrete steps are needed to reduce crime in the black community?

              I personally think that the root of the problem lies in the disintegration of the black family, and particularly from the lack of strong fathers in the upbringing of their kids. Studies have shown that even girls benefit from a strong father.


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