Crime, Bias and Statistics
Resource type: News
The New York Times | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]
By Charles M. Blow
Discussions of the relationship between blacks and the criminal justice system in this country too often grind to a halt as people slink down into their silos and arm themselves with their best rhetorical weapons — racial bias on one side and statistics in which minorities, particularly blacks, are overrepresented as criminals on the other.
What I find too often overlooked in this war of words is the intersection between the two positions, meaning the degree to which bias informs the statistics and vice versa.
The troubling association — in fact, overassociation — of blacks with criminality directly affects the way we think about both crime and blacks as a whole.
A damning report released by the Sentencing Project last week lays bare the bias and the interconnecting systemic structures that reinforce it and disproportionately affect African-Americans.
The Sentencing Project is an Atlantic grantee.