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Education, Our Justice System and Race

I took some time and went through the census data. I wanted to investigate the percentage of Whites, Blacks and Hispanics and their educational status. As we know, educational status correlates to socioeconomic status. The better educated you are, the more opportunities are open for you. Nowhere in our society should we see more equality then in the classroom. For the most part, public schools do not offer individual education. This is education for the masses. Therefore, if Johnny, David, Betty and Susan are all in the same classroom, in theory, they should all be exposed to the same material. They should all have the same opportunity to excel or to fail.

When we look at the data of those who graduated high school since 1940, there’s a clear persistence of Whites graduating at higher rates than Blacks or Hispanics.

The education disparity increases dramatically when we look at the percentage of Americans who graduated college, by race.

Although I did not graph it here, this disparity increases when you look at the percentage of Americans who have obtained a professional degree, by race.

I wanted to take just a second to go back and look at what Professor Bill Quigley has said about race in our criminal justice system. He listed 14 reasons why the criminal justice system has a race bias. I posted seven of his reasons here. Here are the next seven:

Seven. Trials are rare. Only 3 to 5 percent of criminal cases go to trial – the rest are plea bargained. Most African Americans defendants never get a trial. Most plea bargains consist of promise of a longer sentence if a person exercises their constitutional right to trial. As a result, people caught up in the system, as the American Bar Association points out, plead guilty even when innocent. Why? As one young man told me recently, “Who wouldn’t rather do three years for a crime they didn’t commit than risk twenty-five years for a crime they didn’t do?”

Eight. The U.S. Sentencing Commission reported in March 2010 that in the federal system black offenders receive sentences that are 10% longer than white offenders for the same crimes. Marc Mauer of the Sentencing Project reports African Americans are 21% more likely to receive mandatory minimum sentences than white defendants and 20% more like to be sentenced to prison than white drug defendants.

Nine. The longer the sentence, the more likely it is that non-white people will be the ones getting it. A July 2009 report by the Sentencing Project found that two-thirds of the people in the US with life sentences are non-white. In New York, it is 83%.

Ten. As a result, African Americans, who are 13% of the population and 14% of drug users, are not only 37% of the people arrested for drugs but 56% of the people in state prisons for drug offenses. Marc Mauer May 2009 Congressional Testimony for The Sentencing Project.

Eleven. The US Bureau of Justice Statistics concludes that the chance of a black male born in 2001 of going to jail is 32% or 1 in three. Latino males have a 17% chance and white males have a 6% chance. Thus black boys are five times and Latino boys nearly three times as likely as white boys to go to jail.

Twelve. So, while African American juvenile youth is but 16% of the population, they are 28% of juvenile arrests, 37% of the youth in juvenile jails and 58% of the youth sent to adult prisons. 2009 Criminal Justice Primer, The Sentencing Project.

Thirteen. Remember that the US leads the world in putting our own people into jail and prison. The New York Times reported in 2008 that the US has five percent of the world’s population but a quarter of the world’s prisoners, over 2.3 million people behind bars, dwarfing other nations. The US rate of incarceration is five to eight times higher than other highly developed countries and black males are the largest percentage of inmates according to ABC News.

Fourteen. Even when released from prison, race continues to dominate. A study by Professor Devah Pager of the University of Wisconsin found that 17% of white job applicants with criminal records received call backs from employers while only 5% of black job applicants with criminal records received call backs. Race is so prominent in that study that whites with criminal records actually received better treatment than blacks without criminal records!

For those who want more detail, for those who believe the bullet points are somewhat superficial and for anyone who would like more background, here’s a very nice paper on racial disparities in the criminal justice system produced by the Sentencing Project.

So, what can we conclude? Race identification and race bias are a part of our history. It has really shaped America over the last 250 years. The fact that we passed several pieces of legislation in the mid-’60s in order to try to reverse this trend doesn’t act like a magic wand and make all the problems surrounding race go away. Instead, many problems persist. When you look at the inequality in education, our justice system and multiple other aspects of life, you must conclude that race plays a significant role in the ongoing social economic status of Blacks and Hispanics. Now, after a week of discussion and set up, I’m ready to discuss Harvard Professor Derrick Bell and his critical race theory. Are you ready?

By |2012-04-05T20:48:46-04:00March 18th, 2012|Civil Rights, Education, Legal, Race|Comments Off on Education, Our Justice System and Race

Do regulations add expense to business?

We see regulations tying down business but does it, really?

The talking heads and everyone on Capital Hill have told us that regulations add cost to business. We now “know” this as fact, but is it?

From MJ:

We asked experts, and most told us that while there is relatively little scholarship on the issue, the evidence so far is that the overall effect on jobs is minimal. Regulations do destroy some jobs, but they also create others. Mostly, they just shift jobs within the economy.

“The effects on jobs are negligible. They’re not job-creating or job-destroying on average,” said Richard Morgenstern, who served in the EPA from the Reagan to Clinton years and is now at Resources for the Future, a nonpartisan think tank.

Almost a decade ago, Morgenstern and some colleagues published research on the effects of regulation [PDF] using ten years’ worth of Census data on four different polluting industries. They found that when new environmental regulation was applied, higher production costs pushed up prices, resulting in lost sales for businesses and some lost jobs, but the job losses were also offset by new jobs created in pollution abatement.

“There are many instances of regulation causing a specific industry to lose jobs,” said Roger Noll, co-director of the Program on Regulatory Policy at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. Noll cited outright bans of products—such as choloroflorocarbons or leaded gasoline—as the clearest examples.

By |2011-09-29T06:38:56-04:00September 29th, 2011|Business|Comments Off on Do regulations add expense to business?

Grab bag — Thursday evening version

  • I’ve put a new comment system into place. Let me know if you like it. I think, I hope, I can change back if you don’t.
  • I’m gonna consider amount of comments and traffic today about Joe Wilson’s outburst. I guess a right wing blog linked to me because a lot of the comments are clearly off the wall. “Joe Wilson is a true patriot and should be lifted up on our shoulders.” “It’s about time the Republicans said something to this assmaggot Obama. It’s long overdue!!” There are more but they all are about the same. Only a few are thoughtful. There was one person who made a point that I thought was relatively insightful. He/she stated, “there is no method for clarifying whether or not a person qualifies for the plan. If it is not explicitly written into the bill that illegals are not eligible, they will slip into the system.” This is the most thoughtful response of the bunch. The commentor admits, though, that he has not read the bill by stating if it is not explicitly written into the bill. It is. Page 143 states: “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who were not lawfully present in the United States.” Read and then comment. You sound smarter that way.

Keith has more:

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

  • New census data is out. Since I live here in North Carolina, I was interested in North Carolina numbers. One out of six North Carolina residents lack health insurance coverage. Over the past three years an average of our 1.5 million residents were without health care. The national average was 15.5%. North Carolina averaged almost 17% of its residents without health insurance.
  • Median income fell almost $2000 from 2007 to 2008. The median income for Americans in 2008 was $50,303. This is a 3.6% decline in median income which is the largest one-year decline on record (since 1967). I think this completely and totally closes the book on Bush’s tax cuts. Median income dropped throughout President Bush’s tenure.
  • After Joe Wilson’s outburst, Democratic challenger Rob Miller has raked in over $500,000 from over 14,000 individual donors. That’s what I’m talking about!
  • ACORN continues to have issues.
  • I haven’t talked about the resignation/firing of Van Jones. I didn’t talk about it because I didn’t know anything about the man. I would like to think I follow politics pretty closely and I don’t remember ever hearing this guy’s name. Yet when he resigned people like Glenn Beck rejoiced. Why? As I understand the controversy, Van Jones said something crazy eight years ago. I don’t see this as a victory for the right but a capitulation of the Obama White House. I guarantee George W. Bush would not have accepted the resignation under such circumstances — remember Rumsfeld.
  • Paula Abdul is out. Ellen DeGeneres is in. Ellen is funny and Paula really isn’t. That is your American Idol update.
By |2009-09-10T20:50:30-04:00September 10th, 2009|Bush Administration, Countdown, Economy, Healthcare, Obama administration, Party Politics, Television|Comments Off on Grab bag — Thursday evening version
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