Race and the United States

I had to write something. I keep seeing really uninformed information on Facebook and Twitter about all of the craziness that is happening in Baltimore or which ever city the next incident happens in.

I have to say my piece.

The way that people in Baltimore have reacted or the way people reacted in several of these cases is NOT okay. Looting and violence does not help your case or portray the message that I truly believe they want to. I think some people have been taking advantage of these situations to do what they want without thinking of others. That being said…

There is a real problem in the United States that we all must look at.  I found this information on Public Reference Bureau website: “Incarceration rates are significantly higher for blacks and Latinos than for whites. In 2010, black men were incarcerated at a rate of 3,074 per 100,000 residents; Latinos were incarcerated at 1,258 per 100,000, and white men were incarcerated at 459 per 100,000.” These are staggering numbers and some attention must be called to this.

I often hear the argument “If you don’t want to go to jail, don’t do anything illegal.” I can guarantee most African American males who are arrested are not doing anything illegal but are considered “suspicious,” just because of their appearance. In a recent study published in the Crime & Delinquency Journal, they found that nearly 50% of African American males will be arrested by the age of 23.  Again, another staggering number. No one can honestly believe that 50% of Black males have done something illegal in order to end up in jail. If I had a 50% chance of ending up in jail, I too may be hesitant to speak to a police officer if he approached me.

With more and more lives needlessly lost, both young men and officers, we need re-evaluate the judicial and criminal system in America. We need to begin to understand personal, often unconscious biases, and make them conscious ones.  There needs to be more sensitivity training and bias training in our law enforcement agencies. There needs to be more positive community outreach between poor, high-crime areas and law enforcement. Trust needs to be rebuilt. It has gone on long enough that we are ignoring an issue that very seriously needs to be addressed. I’m worried about what the United States is becoming. It is not one race’s job, one parties job, it is a collective effort we all have to be willing to participate in if we want to see change.

For a very compelling story and research please listen to the following podcasts from This American Life. It gives great insights to both sides of what is happening in our world now.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/547/cops-see-it-differently-part-one

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/548/cops-see-it-differently-part-two

For all the families who have been impacted by any of these recent stories, I send positivity your way.

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