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Evaluating Excuses for Higher Black Crime Rates
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A social scientist responds:

And we don’t even have to rely on Jared Taylor organization’s analysis of the data (sound as it is). Robert J. Sampson and Alfred Blumstein, two of the top criminologists in the world, have concluded there is basically no systemic bias in the criminal justice. The only area where there might be discrimination is in a case of violence where the victim is black: the perpetrator might get a lighter sentence. Sure, you can find instances of bias, but there are too many legal safeguards for it to happen much, and these few cases are offset by officials who go easier on blacks out of paternalism, indifference, or whatever. Many, many liberal criminologists have studied this issue, expecting to find a system rife with bias. They were stunned to find it was not the case. Nevertheless, elties of all sorts–celebrities, pundits, professors, civil rights activists, politicians–completely ignore the research and hold onto one of their favorite myths of evil cops and racist white judges.

A reader writes:

I have tried to find reliable info regarding the confluence of black crime and black poverty and not had much luck. Specifically, I have been trying to verify or refute the claim that differences in poverty account for differences in crime, or at least correlate very highly, such that if you control for poverty racial differences in crime disappear.

One simple way to look at it is to compare racial/ethnic groups with similar degrees of wealth and poverty: blacks versus Hispanics and whites versus Asians.

So, for Asians compared to whites, who are comparable on a lot of socio-economic status measures, we find that Asians are incarcerated only 0.22 times as much per capita as whites.

Similarly, for blacks versus Hispanics, who are roughly equivalent in income and poverty rates, blacks are incarcerated at 7.2 times the nonHispanic white rate while Hispanics are incarcerated “only” 2.9 times the white rate. So, blacks are locked up up about 2.5 times more than Hispanics.

This would suggest that something else besides poverty et al is going to account for these wide differentials between blacks and Hispanics and between whites and Asians. And Asians are locked up only 1/33 as much as blacks!

A professor writes:

I appreciated your comments about shaming people when they do bad things. Elites still cling to the view of economic determinism, that social problems are only a money problem, and blacks have too little of it. The gang member in my class disagrees. (Yes, I said gang member in a college course). He told me that he and some of his homies joined in spite of living in the suburbs. They were drawn to the excitement, the lifestyle, and the glamour that their quiet, sqeaky-clean neighborhoods could not provide. They did not feel comfortable with white firends, but felt at home on the corner in the ghetto. Money had nothing to do with it. In fact, they spend lots of cash on their poor friends.

I read guys like you and Sowell because there are few places to find scholarly writings on the role of genes and culture in behavior, which are absolutely critical parts of the story.

A reader asks:

If you factor out non-violent drug offenses, how do the incarceration rates change for all groups?

Not much. Working from the “Color of Crime” report, I can’t take out just non-violent drug offenses, but I can take out all non-violent offenses. Judging from the graph in Fig. 9, blacks are incarcerated overall at 7.2 times the non-Hispanic white rate, and they are incarcerated for violent crimes at approximately 7.1 times the white rate. Hispanics are locked up 2.9 times more than whites per capita overall, but for violent crimes, it looks like the Hispanic to white ratio is about 3.4 to 1.

Another interesting fact is most “white collar crime rates” are higher for blacks. Incarceration rates for fraud, bribery, embezzlement, and racketeering run between 3 and 5 times higher for blacks than for whites. The Hispanic rates, however, are fairly similar to the non-Hispanic white rates. (I have read, however, that price-fixing and anti-trust violations tend to be a white specialty.)

Also, contrary to media myths, blacks appear to abuse illegal drugs in the same proportion as they are arrested for possession of them:

The graph [Fig. 3] shows that the black share of emergency room admissions for illegal drugs in 2002 was slightly higher than the black share of those arrested for drug offenses.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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