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Why do Blacks fill our Jails?

August 18, 2020 (301 words)

This summer’s “day of reckoning” kicked off with the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, while in police custody. It was the latest such incident in recent years – flagrant examples of police brutality inflicted upon blacks.

Police departments around the country need a major re-think of how they interact with their minority communities. And they certainly need to dismiss the bad actors that have been allowed to retain their jobs after multiple citations for inappropriate behavior.

But the over-representation of blacks in the criminal justice system cannot be solely attributed to unwarranted zealousness on the part of mean-spirited whites with a chip on their shoulder. While prejudice may be a contributing factor, it only accounts for 15% or 20% of the discrepancy, according to high-profile social commentator Glen C. Loury. The rest is due to the indisputable fact blacks are committing more acts that can be punished with prison.

Mr. Loury is a tenured professor of economics currently affiliated with Brown University. As an esteemed, 71 year-old African-American academic and author, he is being called on quite a bit for comment during this, our summer of discontent.

He is of the opinion the determinist argument that “if you have poverty, you are going to have crime” let’s black perps off the hook. This defense of crime in poor neighborhoods leaves out “human agency,” and it leaves out morality, according to Professor Loury.

Doesn’t law enforcement have a responsibility to do its job, even when the crimes take place in a black community? The apparent overuse of force when policing in minority neighborhoods needs to be reviewed and reined in. But that said, don’t black people deserve the same protection from the criminals in their midst as do whites, even when those criminals happen to be black themselves?

Robert J. Cavanaugh, Jr
August 18, 2020

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