African-Americans account for around 52% of all murder arrest in this country while also being arrested for murder at a rate that is 6.7 times greater than their white counterparts. In addition to that, around 90% of all black homicides are intra-racial.
These facts are undoubtedly staggering, and for some difficult to internalize; nevertheless, when it comes to perpetrators of violence, they are often associated with poverty. Contrary to what is generally portrayed by the media, poverty is a prominent affliction across all races – not just minority ones, so when fear is dispelled through the rampant coverage of black on black crime or the mainstreaming of black violence statistics, it skews reality. It creates the inadequate depiction of blacks having a natural propensity for crime, inadvertently insisting that violence is an idiosyncratic trait intrinsically existent amongst all African-Americans. When the candid reality is that blacks are simply far more likely to be a victim to poverty than any other race.
This is by no mean excusing those who commit fatal, violent acts, rather an attempt to draw attention to a plausible path which could be taken in order to dissolve the volatile solution of inequality – whereas poverty is primary solvent and race is the solute.
In order to begin this process, we must first forego the sentiment that there is no racial bias when it comes to the different levels of the justice system.
A recent lawsuit against the City of New York and several individual NYPD officials by Officer Michael Birch discredits all claims that there is no racial bias when it comes to policing, as he recently recorded himself being reprimanded by his commanding officer for not directly targeting blacks and Hispanics and for not fulfilling illegal policing quotas.
Targeted policing practices have proven to be detrimental at best, as such practices results in over-policing in particular areas – namely, impoverished communities. A subsequent consequence of this is a disproportionate number of those living in ghettos being arrested for a variety of different crimes. Given that the vast majority of impoverished communities inhabitants are either black or Hispanic, from this alone, one could conclude that minorities will be arrested and charged at a significantly higher rate than their white counterparts, controlling for the unknown number of people who commit a crime and when simply based on the placement of policemen and average population rates.
Although there has been no national study done which analyses whether there are any discrepancies or disparities when it comes to conviction rates across ethnicities, one can still speculate by utilizing common knowledge as well as inconsistencies when it comes to federal sentencing.
Moreover, it is common knowledge that money is a defining factor in whether one is convicted and the severity of a conviction – the more money you have on your side, the lighter your punishment and the less likely you are to be convicted. Most minorities that are arrested are typically impoverished and/or do not have enough money to obtain a reputable attorney, as opposed to whites who on average have sixteen times as much wealth as an average black family, are consequently more likely to be capable of affording a distinguished attorney which could possibly result in them having their charge dismissed or receiving a light punishment such as community service, probation or fines – as opposed to blacks and Hispanics, who are more likely to be incarcerated during the conviction process.
In the end, the trickle-down effect of racial discrepancies within arrest rates, conviction rates and severity of punishment of a conviction (as well judge-variation bias) leads to a devastating disparity within incarceration rates. Indeed, race is a significant contributor to this reality; however, it is not the entire story, for, once again, poverty is an essential factor.
In a balanced and fair society, incarceration rates would be similar to the rate of the population. However, poverty profusely intrudes on such a fantastical dimension, and with race being a controlling factor throughout this country’s history, a hierarchy revolving around race has evolved over time. Even though there has been a devolution of sorts within the past 160 years, progress still needs to be made in order to fully obtain equality. Until then, there will continue to be egregious disparities between the different races on said hierarchy.
Of course, one of the most profound and influencing discrepancies comes in the form of poverty; nevertheless, consistencies in violent crime rates and victimization rates amongst all poor people is a factor that is often overlooked – particularly pertaining to poor individuals who live in urban areas.
In a study done by the Bureau of Justice Statistic, they found that “the overall pattern of poor persons having the highest rates of violent victimization was consistent for both blacks and whites.” In other words, a poor person is more likely to be a victim of violence than someone who is not, regardless of race. This is exhibited with poor urban blacks having a violence rate of 51.3 per 1000 black persons and poor urban whites of 56.4 per 1000 white persons.
Further, victimization rates for people living in poor, rural areas (38.8 per 1000) was similar to poor persons living in poor, urban areas (43.4 per 1000).
The study continues, “Persons in poor households at or below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (39.8 per 1000) had more than double the rate of victimization as persons in high income households.
As aforementioned, around 90% of all murders committed by blacks are against blacks alongside 83% of murders committed by whites being against whites. With this information, we can assume that the persons counted into the victimization rates counted above have perpetrators who are generally the same race as them – silencing the fear of interracial violence as most violence is done intra-racially.
The conservative talking point of blacks lacking responsibility and their blaming the government for their perpetual state of victimhood as to what is currently keeping their cultural development stagnated is a moot point; for it is evident that there is a deeply embedded bias in our justice system against African-Americans. This bias is subconsciously lodged into a system which has and currently systematically oppresses blacks into generations of poverty. Although other races are afflicted, blacks are the primary bearers of a curse which precedes their birth into this country; additionally, the constancy in victimization rates and crime rates across all races burdened by poverty prove that blacks do not have a natural propensity for crime nor do they have a violent culture, we are simply born to a world that fears us – thus, oppresses us.