It May Not Be a New Jim Crow, But…
Racial inequalities in the criminal justice system is a real problem.In an article that looks at the overwhelming disproportionate representation of black and hispanic males within the nation’s prison system, Ellis Cose writes,
That’s an especially difficult issue for a black president: for Obama to speak the simple truth—that our incarceration practices are expensive, ineffective, and border on insanity—would open him up to the charge of pandering to minorities. We saw that a few months back when Obama initially sided with black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., whom a white cop had arrested for breaking into his own home. The president’s relatively mild statement—that the cop had acted “stupidly”—drew so much fire he had to backpedal. Precisely because of his race, this president must walk on eggshells when approaching a racially charged subject. Much safer to talk about deficits and jobs.
Sadly, the very thing that would make President Obama sensitive and open to addressing the racial inequities in the criminal justice system, his race, also makes him vulnerable should he decide to make this issue part of the objectives of his administration. One can only hope that he chooses to take this problem on and then has the fortitude to see it through.
h/t W.E. B.E. A.L.L.