I open my year with race and its impact on the person, community, and country. I find it difficult to talk about race to some people, both Whites and Blacks find the subject a lesser evil. It seems to these individuals that speaking about it is bad taboo. I do not.
DANIEL BYRD, Ph.D and BRUCE MIRKEN I The Greenlining Institute
Rightly or wrongly, the existence of such a strong media narrative may contribute to perceptions that the government treats blacks better than it treats whites. On the other hand, there are also areas in which federal laws and policies appear to greatly disadvantage blacks and other communities of color.
Disparities are particularly evident in the criminal justice system. Of the 62 people currently awaiting federal execution, 50% are black, while blacks make up only 12% of the U.S. population (Death Penalty Information Center, 2011). Between 1995 and 2000, U.S. Attorneys were two times more likely to recommend the death penalty in cases that involved a black defendant and a white victim than they were in cases that involved a black defendant and a black victim (Death Penalty Information Center, 2011).
Racial disparities also abound in the “war on drugs.” For example, while federal survey data indicate roughly similar drug use rates among whites, Latinos, and African Americans (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2011), arrest rates differ sharply. According to the most recent federal report, 30.2 % of Drug Enforcement Administration arrestees were black and 44.5 % were Latino (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2010). Among cocaine arrests, arrestees for crack cocaine are disproportionately black, while most powder cocaine arrestees are white. Federal prison terms for crack are 18 times more severe than for powder cocaine – a disparity that had been 100-fold until a reform measure was passed in 2010 (Abrams, 2010).
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“Nothing burns me more than this as an adult.”
A Tennessee teen has taken his own life after being subjected to anti-gay bullying which, friends say, officials at his high school did little to prevent. As Nashville NBC affiliate WSMV is reporting, Jacob Rogers had been bullied at Cheatham County Central High School for the past four years, but at the start of his senior year, it had become so bad he dropped out of school. “He started coming home his senior year saying ‘I don’t want to go back. Everyone is so mean. They call me a faggot, they call me gay, a queer,’” friend Kaelynn Mooningham is quoted by MSNBC as saying.
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