Post-Racial Update: Blacks Receive 60% Longer Criminal Sentences than Whites

Well, I guess someone saw it fit to actually spend money to conduct a study to tell us something that we already know. Excuse me, something that only Black people knew. I mean let’s face it: this isn’t exactly new groundbreaking news, yes? But as I mentioned to a friend, nothing is official in America unless it comes from the scholarship of “certain people”.

Systemic racism? What the hell is that? They ain’t burning crosses and hanging Black folks anymore. Hell, we’s post-racial now, RiPPa! Yeah I know, stories or studies like the following and the one I shared recently about Black folks and bankruptcy are all made up. Yep, studies such as this one aren’t valid. That is, unless they come from white comedians in Blackface on college campuses across America. I mean, why even listen to complaining Black folks, right?

A new academic study of 58,000 federal criminal cases has found significant disparities in sentencing for blacks and whites arrested for the same crimes. The research led to the conclusion that African-Americans’ jail time was almost 60% longer than white sentences.

According to M. Marit Rehavi of the University of British Columbia and Sonja B. Starr, who teaches criminal law at the University of Michigan Law School, the racial disparities can be explained “in a single prosecutorial decision: whether to file a charge carrying a mandatory minimum sentence….Black men were on average more than twice as likely to face a mandatory minimum charge as white men were, holding arrest offense as well as age and location constant.” Prosecutors are about twice as likely to impose mandatory minimums on black defendants as on white defendants.

In federal cases, black defendants faced average sentences of 60 months, while the average for white defendants was only 38 months.

The report concludes that sentence disparities “can be almost completely explained by three factors: the original arrest offense, the defendant’s criminal history, and the prosecutor’s initial choice of charges.” (source)

At any rate, what does it matter to have information like this if nothing is going to be done about it? Yep, simple-minded readers will say this is yet just another reason for people like me to “hate whitey,” I suppose. Rather than act in the interest of justice and equality. I’m pretty sure someone will digest this info and suggest that it’s better that Blacks are locked away longer, because we are genetically predisposed to commit crimes. Sounds crazy, but people actually believe we are.

The issue of mass incarceration is almost never discussed within our political discourse. That is with the exception of the occasional racist Willie Horton ad if you’d like to give the impression that as a candidate, you’re tough on crime. This is one issue that I suppose many see as a political liability. I mean how dare anyone running for president speak about the racial disparities in sentencing, the prison industrial complex, or even the opportunity cost of it all, right?