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Black and White in the U.S.

A few data points for anyone who thinks what’s been happening in Ferguson, MO is an isolated incident as opposed to an ongoing, systemic problem.

It’s not just Ferguson.

There’s a lot more data out there, but I hope this will help people who are watching events in Ferguson and throughout the country, and having trouble understanding where all of the anger is coming from.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.



( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 15th, 2014 05:15 pm (UTC)
At least with the state troopers taking over for the county police last night, what I heard of the protests were peaceful with the troopers actually marching with the protesters.

It's unbelievable what's going on there. One report interviewed a state representative (IIRC) who said there are speed trap cameras in the surrounding areas, and if you can't pay the ticket, you get a warrant issued for your arrest. Instant criminal who can no longer run for office or possibly vote. I think the only thing that's going to change is for the minorities to run for office to change their representation, but if they have convictions for garbage like speeding tickets, it could mean they can't run.

There's plenty of people who will claim to look out for minority, or in this case, majority rights, but if that group is not actually represented and present in government and law enforcement, then what?

Yeah, we're definitely living in a post-racial era. Look, black president! [/sarcasm]
Aug. 15th, 2014 05:26 pm (UTC)
Meant to mention: I worked for a major metropolitan police department in the '90s and they sent recruiting teams out of state to increase their minority numbers. I don't know how they're doing these days as I've been gone over a decade, but I respected that.
Aug. 15th, 2014 05:21 pm (UTC)
I don't have stats, but places where the cops and firemen live in and are part of the community get better service. The state trooper put in charge is from Ferguson.

Dr. Phil
Aug. 15th, 2014 05:27 pm (UTC)
They also increase the local tax base: you usually shop where you live.
Aug. 15th, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
I live in the St. Louis area. The cop who shot Mike Brown lives in Crestwood, a town on the other end of the county from Fergusen (30 minutes away) and is over 90% white.

I can back up the statements about people getting arrested for not paying traffic tickets. I worked a temp job for the phone contractor at the county jail. After a certain period of time of not paying your traffic tickets, a warrant is issued. The bail set is relatively small; however, it is not uncommon for someone to have multiple tickets from multiple municipalities for the same offense (especially if the ticket is for something like expired plates or a broken light.) St. Louis county is made up of dozens of tiny municipalities, all with their own police force writing tickets. When someone gets arrested for failing to pay multiple tickets, they usually have several infractions with their own small, cash only bail that adds up to more cash than most people have ready access to in this area. If you can't make bail on those tickets, you sit in jail for 2-3 weeks, during which time, you have probably lost your job and spent a bunch of money getting commissary items. And the tickets are STILL unpaid and due, compounding the problem.
Aug. 16th, 2014 03:55 pm (UTC)
California's got one of the most astonishingly progressive laws that I know of around ticketable stuff like broken tail light, no insurance, etc: you get pulled over, you get a fix-it ticket, and then you get the thing fixed, take the car to any cop to demonstrate it's good now, they sign off, you mail it in with $10 for processing, end of the trouble. Brilliant. And since even white people have broken tail lights, maybe other states could get something like this enacted?
Aug. 15th, 2014 07:02 pm (UTC)
A lot of people seem to think that "racism" only means overt remarks like the ones coming out of right-wing politicians. They don't see it in statistics like these; worse, these statistics, which demonstrate insitutitionalized racial boas, are then used to justify racial prejudice. It's a self-perpetuating cycle.

Aug. 15th, 2014 08:04 pm (UTC)
From the outside, looking in: Not a single person I know has trouble working out why people in the states are pissed with their popo.
Most people I know the question is more "Why havent they rioted sooner?" rather than "why are they rioting?"
In fact, I go one further.
In a recent discussion of these things, 5 out of the 7 people in favour of gun control felt that if the victorian police and austrlaian federal police were anyhting like american police forcer=s, they would demand their own firearms.
Aug. 16th, 2014 02:33 am (UTC)
Yes—and there's also a strong thread of the idea that when you get a tool, you look for places to use it. The police departments around the nation have been getting donated military surplus for twenty years now; it's hardly surprising that they're looking at law enforcement as more of a war.

*I'm* pissed and I've never had anything but positive interactions with the police. (Hmm. Could it be that I'm white?)
Aug. 16th, 2014 03:26 pm (UTC)
The Second Amendment is used to justify gun ownership by a lot of radical nutcases. I think this situation is more what the American Forefathers had in mind when they wrote it.

Only problem is, if the protesters were using their own weapons, this would spiral even further out of control. I cringe whenever I read news like this, especially from the US and thank my lucky stars I was born north of the 49th parallel. Canada ain't perfect but I wouldn't live anywhere else.
Aug. 15th, 2014 09:57 pm (UTC)
18.2 percent stemmed from anti-white bias.
69.8 percent were motivated by anti-black bias.

Considering the respective populations of the country at large, shouldn't it be more like 12% anti-white?
Aug. 16th, 2014 02:57 am (UTC)
I can imagine there's some relationship between numbers of the group, numbers not in a group*, and the percentage of violent racists against the group in the not-group. If you assume that there's 77% white people and 13% black people (and 10% everyone else), and you assume there's the same proportion of violent anti-everything racists in each group, the number of hate crimes against whites would be proportional to .77*(1-.77) = 0.1771 and the number of hate crimes against blacks to be proportional to .13(-1-.13) = 0.1331. So, hate crimes against whites would be more common than hate crimes against blacks. (Basically, you can think about it as white racists would be spreading their crimes out among many races, while non-white racists would be more likely to run into white people.)

Of course, this is what scientists call a 'toy model' since in real life, there's a lot of variables for what motivates a hate crime, but it means that you can't just expect the 'victims of hate crimes' statistic to match up with population statistics. It also suggests that either blacks have fewer racists, the racists they have aren't anti-everything racists, or they are less likely to commit crimes motivated by racial animosity. Basically, that one of our assumptions in the model is wrong, since it doesn't explain the real world data.

Also, a black person is a lot more likely to be the victim of a hate crime than a white person.

* A racially-homogenous community probably has fewer hate crimes, regardless of if they are the majority or minority.
Aug. 16th, 2014 02:16 am (UTC)
*sighs* We've got a long way to go. :/ We definitely don't live in a post racial society. This is all so incredibly frustrating, and people have a right to be so saddened and angered by this.

Thanks so much for posting these crucial links and statistics, Jim.

Hi thewayne,
It's frightening how if a US person can't pay a speeding ticket, they can't run for office or potentially can't vote.
Aug. 16th, 2014 03:30 pm (UTC)
Losing your voting rights for a conviction varies across the country. Once upon a time, if you were convicted of a crime, you'd do your prison sentence and probation and it was done. You were a new person. But now it sticks with you forever, especially with the internets. We used to be a country that believed in redemption, now we're a country of eternal punishment that no longer forgives. Also normally felony convictions prevent people from legally buying firearms, but that's another conversation.

And then there's the idiocy of drug laws, that classed crack cocaine as infinitely worse than regular cocaine until recently when they're chemically identical. And if an 18 y/o boy has sex with a 17 y/o girl and her parents object, he can be a convicted sex offender for the rest of his life and have it REALLY bad. Some states have what's called Romeo and Juliet laws that permit some relationships like this, some states don't.

Here we class any crime as a felony or misdemeanor. You can certainly go to jail for the latter, but a lot of crimes have been reclassified to minor felonies, including some motor vehicle violations. A felony won't absolutely keep you from running for office, but it makes an easy target for an opponent to differentiate themselves from you. The current District Attorney for the county that contains Austin, Texas has a drunk driving conviction that she earned while in-office (which she still is). Apparently she served some 20 days in jail for a first-time offense. It may not be a barrier to holding office per se, but it's definitely an obstacle. Our previous president had some drunk driving convictions IIRC, but he's a "Born-Again Christian", so he can be forgiven. [/snark]
Aug. 17th, 2014 04:50 am (UTC)
That is simply *appalling*. The drug laws sound absurd. An eighteen year old teenager condemned as a sex offender for having consensual sex with a seventeen year old is horrifying. And classing any crime as a felony...That's frightening, and definitely worrying. I've heard of how double standards in the US are applied to perceptions of convictions depending on a person's religious beliefs. :/
Aug. 17th, 2014 07:09 pm (UTC)
Not to mention the "stand your ground" laws that seem to be designed to declare open season on killing African Americans.
Aug. 22nd, 2014 07:27 pm (UTC)
Racism, especially against young black men, is definitely a problem in our society. This is unfortunately, nothing new.

The new part is the militarization of our police forces. Our county sheriff's vehicles are a prime example, going from relatively friendly blue and white with clearly marked affiliation, to Black SUV's with only ghosted on names.

Why do our police forces get immunity for crimes? I know there are internal elements meant to weed out the "bad" cops, but something's obviously broken.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )


Jim C. Hines

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