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January 9, 2024

Justice IS Colorblind

A new meta-analysis shows that our criminal justice system doesn’t target minorities, despite what those in the racial grievance industry would have us believe.

Remember when Barack Obama’s wingman attorney general, Eric Holder, called us a “nation of cowards” when the topic came to race?

In fairness, he did so in a speech commemorating African American History Month, and he was only speaking to his entire Department of Justice, but still.

“It is an issue we have never been at ease with and, given our nation’s history, this is in some ways understandable,” he said, “If we are to make progress in this area, we must feel comfortable enough with one another and tolerant enough of each other to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us.”

It was a clever if disingenuous ploy: On the one hand, black race hustlers such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton — who today have been largely replaced by younger and more academic-oriented agitators such as Ibram X. Kendi and Ta-Nehisi Coates — create a hostile environment for conversation by decrying the racism inherent in all our American institutions. And on the other hand, Holder chastises us for not wanting to have a discussion with, to borrow from the late great Rush Limbaugh, half our brain tied behind our back.

A recent meta-study, though, puts the lie to one of the most consistently used arguments in the race industry: namely, that blacks and other minorities receive harsher criminal punishments than whites. As it turns out, it just ain’t so. As Luke Rosiak writes at The Daily Wire, “An analysis of 20 years of academic literature found that there is little or no evidence that minorities are mistreated by the criminal justice system when it comes to punishment, despite assertions to the contrary by policymakers, media, and academics.”

The authors of the study, Stetson University professors Christopher J. Ferguson and Sven Smith, write: “In recent years it has become common belief within the scholarly community as well as the general public that the criminal justice system is biased due to race and class issues. We sought to examine this with meta-analysis. Our results suggest that for most crimes, criminal adjudication in the US is not substantially biased on race or class lines.”

As a meta-analysis, the Stetson researchers looked at 51 studies conducted by others looking at the question of criminal punishment since 2005. “Overall, this is a cause for optimism,” they concluded.

We should say so. It’ll be relatively easy for the race hustlers to pick out a single injustice here or there and use it to paint with a broad brush. But the argument doesn’t hold up well in the face of a 51-to-0 sledgehammer.

When it comes to arguments about the unfairness of our criminal justice system, Exhibit A for the race industry has long been the “disparate impact” of the 1980s federal criminal penalties for crack cocaine. But as columnist Mona Charen rightly wrote at the time of Holder’s condescending comments, these stiffer sentences “were a response to the devastation crack was causing in black neighborhoods … and the vast victimization of inner-city blacks.” Fair enough, and then the haymaker: “If it was racist to impose these penalties, why were members of the Congressional Black Caucus the first to champion the legislation?”

These questions aren’t merely academic. Instead, they seek to correct a pervasive misunderstanding that plagues both our inner-city communities and the law enforcement officers who are charged with policing them. As author and researcher Heather Mac Donald wrote recently in City Journal, “Until we relinquish the idea that policing activity against black criminals is racist, restoring law and order in our cities will be impossible.” She continues:

Public safety has been destroyed in many American cities because of an idea. That idea holds that any law-enforcement activity that has a disparate impact on black criminals is racist. Disparate impact is why many police departments have dismantled gang databases and antigun task forces, why they have given up on public-order enforcement, and why they have all but eliminated car stops. It is why “progressive” district attorneys have stopped prosecuting trespassing, shoplifting, fare evasion, and resisting arrest, why bail is being eliminated, and why judges let repeat offenders back on the street.

Mac Donald goes on to lament the turning of blind eyes away from black-on-black crime in deference to what Holder called cowardice but what she more accurately calls “racial etiquette.” She concludes: “Such etiquette, however understandable, is costing lives. It will continue to do so unless the next presidential administration tells the truth about law enforcement and crime. Only then will the police be able to protect safety without the false stigma of racism.”

We wonder what Eric Holder would think of these fact-based “conversation” starters. Would they be too “frank” for him, and would he and his race-baiting ilk prefer a return to racial cowardice?

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