The Incarceration of Black Men in America

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

America has the world’s highest rate of incarceration, currently 738 per 100,000. Our nearest competitor for this dubious distinction is the Russian Federation with 607 and Cuba with 487. “The US incarcerates at a rate 4 to 7 times higher than other western nations such as the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany and up to 32 times higher than nations with the lowest rates such as Nepal, Nigeria, and India.”                                                                                                                                           Despite possible protestations that this is because we have the best law enforcement, my sense is that the reasons lie more in the system, than those who enforce it. No one ever lost an election in America because of the perception they “were tough on crime”.

“Race: Black males continue to be incarcerated at an extraordinary rate. Black males make up 35.4 percent of the jail and prison population — even though they make up less than 10 percent of the overall U.S population. Four percent of U.S. black males were in jail or prison last year, compared to 1.7 percent of Hispanic males and .7 percent of white males. In other words, black males were locked up at almost six times the rate of their white counterparts.”

Despite possible protestations that this is because we have the best law enforcement, my sense is that the reasons lie more in the system, than those who enforce it. No one ever lost an election in America because of the perception they “were tough on crime”. “Race: Black males continue to be incarcerated at an extraordinary rate. Black males make up 35.4 percent of the jail and prison population — even though they make up less than 10 percent of the overall U.S population. Four percent of U.S. black males were in jail or prison last year, compared to 1.7 percent of Hispanic males and .7 percent of white males. In other words, black males were locked up at almost six times the rate of their white counterparts.”

These two sets of statistics when viewed together tell a terrible tale of how racial oppression still exists in this country despite our Black President and Black Attorney General. This Administration hasn’t caused of this problem, but they  don’t seem to have made any progress dealing with it. We do know that there has been a widespread effort to play down the racial division that continues to plague this country. This continues despite Civil Rights Laws, Martin Luther King’s Birthday and TV beer commercials that always include at least one black male friend enjoying the camaraderie. Clearly there is a disconnect between how we Americans want to see ourselves and the reality for many Black males. I’m focusing on the problem of black males in this piece, rather than the general oppression of Black people, because the effect of this process is a function of the general racist climate of this country and is a major contributor to the continuance of this oppression. There have often been discussions on this blog about the devastating effects of the “War on Drugs” and this quote is illustrative of the tenor of theses discussions. “Nationwide, black males convicted of drug felonies in state courts are sentenced to prison 52 percent of the time, while white males are sentenced to prison only 34 percent of the time. The ratio for women is similar – 41 percent of black female felony drug offenders are sentenced to  prison, as compared to 24 percent of white females. With respect to violent offenses, 74 percent of  black male convicted felons serve prison time, as opposed to only 60 percent of white male convicted felons. With respect to all felonies, 58 percent of black male convicted felons, as opposed to 45 percent of white men, serve prison sentences”.                                                                                                                                                                           sentencing.html                                                                     

It is clear to me that racism exists today in America, despite supposed gains and that this disparity in the treatment of race is not only devastating to Black people, but its continuance is disastrous for our entire society. The degeneration of our political system during the last five decades may not be solely due to racial prejudice, but those who have helped bring it about certainly have used racism to empower their viewpoints, even as their rhetoric has shifted from overt to covert. I’m moved to write this because I believe that unless this problem becomes accepted in our public consciousness, there will be no escape from the downward trend of our nation towards political and economic disaster.

I’ve presented enough evidence of the racialist tendency of our system and the reader either will accept what it suggests, or substitute their own pre-judgments of what these statistics mean. My discussion focuses on how this reality impacts upon Black people in America and thus impacts us all, despite our race and/or ethnicity. What set me off thinking about this was a TV Program called “Our America” with Lisa Ling. The episode was entitled “The Incarceration Generation”.

Personally, this episode brought up an admixture of tears and anger as I watched. It showed the life arcs of some Black males about to be released from prison, the effects on their families of their incarceration and then by their release. The premise, which I endorse, is that this generation of jailed Black men will, and has already impacted on the coming generation of Black men. The message was we must somehow stop this cycle, but the solution to stopping the cycle is not clear macro-cosmically and too slow if change is measured person by person.

As much as I’m prone to pontification, I really can see only one way that this continued racism is ever going to change. To the possible delight of our more conservative and/or libertarian commenter’s, I don’t believe that the first step towards this change would benefit from government intervention via legislation or fiat. While the original issue decided in “Brown vs. Board of Education“, that Blacks and Whites were receiving unequal schooling due to segregation and unequal funding, the general judicial remedy which became School Busing was not only in hindsight a failure, but actually increased tension between races and diminished White support for Civil Rights. It was a decision that tried to solve the problem cheaply, rather than first ensuring that the funding for Black and White (indeed all) schoolchildren was equivalent. How much more elegant to have hoisted the segregationists on their own petard of “separate but equal”, than to have demanded and overseen that they indeed provided equal funding

and support to Black schools. I understand that this was not the remedy being requested in this suit, but looking back it might have been a far more effective strategy. All of the gains in White sympathy for the struggle of Black people for their Constitutional freedom, were negated when the sad results of hundreds of years of slavery was dumped upon the educational systems specifically of the working classes. It resulted in the “Southern Strategy” that got Richard Nixon elected, using code words in place of outright racist rhetoric. Fighting crime became the code for cracking down on Blacks and the upward spiral of the incarceration of Americans began with the inception of the ridiculous “War on Drugs”. When people are steeped in false, bigoted notions of the “other”,  reinforced by a corporate media that finds sensationalizing crime garners profits, minds won’t be changed by legislation.

Certainly, steps must be taken to end the “War on Drugs”, to deal with racist law enforcement issues and to ensure that each American, regardless of skin color and/or ethnicity, is afforded equal rights under our Constitution. But first, before any palliatives are presented by our politicians, the problem of America’s continuing racism and its disproportionate effect on Black males must be brought into the open, discussed and hopefully acknowledged. Without that nothing changes since racism cannot be obliterated by enforcement, it merely morphs underground where it nevertheless festers. It is preferable to directly know ones’ enemies by their words, than to have those beliefs covered up.

Among the great ironies of modern America is how bigots have learned to couch their bigotry in terms that are inherently dishonest, yet provide them verbal cover when challenged. At times, among the less controlled public voices like Limbaugh or Beck it, their bigotry comes through, but even then they will cry foul if they are called on it and pretend that charging them with bigotry is absurd and bigoted in itself. When people are accused of “playing the race card”, the accuser is probably racist, knowingly or unknowingly. I think that many refuse to personally acknowledge their own bigotry, knowing rationally it is wrong, yet they find comfort and cover in the hypocrisy of code words and denial, from even themselves.

The other effect of incarceration of Black men disproportionately, is that it then becomes extremely difficult to obtain jobs after their release. As one man put it on the Lisa Ling show “Would you hire a former felon?”. We’ve set up a system where recidivism is the norm for all prisoners and this is mainly because after serving ones sentence, there are far less opportunities to find gainful employment. I know this from personal experience since my father served time for a “white collar” crime before my birth and his whole working/economic life was affected until his death 20 years later. He was White, had a massive vocabulary and a dynamic personality. He could never get credit and a family member had to co-sign in order to get a mortgage for our house. My father earned a good living as a car salesman, but his many attempts at starting his own business was affected by an inability to obtain adequate financing due to his prior incarceration. My father had many advantages over many black men with criminal histories, but the primary one was his skin color

When you perpetuate a system that incarcerates such a large swath of the Black male population, sentences them disproportionately to other racial/ethnic groups and prevents them from going straight after they’ve served their time, you create instability and chaos within the Black community. The evil history of slavery and racism remains with us today. Until we acknowledge the reality of how it perpetuates itself, it will never cease and our country will continue its’ downward spiral of economic disparity and debilitating racial/ethnic tension.

117 thoughts on “The Incarceration of Black Men in America

  1. Please excuse some of the editing and linkage problems with this post. I’ve merely disclosed some of my shortcomings in dealing with WordPress, despite the fact I’ve been guest blogging for some time. I feel quite strongly about the content so I hope you’ll focus more on it, than on my technological incompetence.

  2. Mike, seriousness of the post aside, this is a Freudian slip for the ages:

    “I’ve been guest blotting for some time.” 😀

  3. Miles Davis told of being stopped many times in his Ferrari because the officer would not believe a black man should be driving a car that cost more than most people’s house.

  4. We (black men) make up most of the population in jail because white men make up most of the population of Judges and Prosecutors. Not all (black) men in jail should be there.

  5. Mike S;

    “These two sets of statistics when viewed together tell a terrible tale of how racial oppression still exists in this country despite our Black President and Black Attorney General.”

    It would seem that it should’ve made a difference.

  6. FYI:

    FAMM Commends President Obama for Exercising Clemency Power
    FAMM applauds President Obama for commuting the federal prison sentence of FAMM member Eugenia Jennings on Nov. 21, and for pardoning five others. Julie Stewart, FAMM president, said, “We are grateful… we urge the President to continue exercising his clemency power and grant more commutations to the many deserving federal prisoners, like Eugenia, who have paid a hefty price for their mistakes and deserve a second chance.

  7. How many of the white male banksters who were responsible for the near meltdown of our financial system are in prison today? How many have even been charged?


    Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?
    Financial crooks brought down the world’s economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them
    By Matt Taibbi

    Over drinks at a bar on a dreary, snowy night in Washington this past month, a former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer.

    “Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail,” he said. “That’s your whole story right there. Hell, you don’t even have to write the rest of it. Just write that.”

    I put down my notebook. “Just that?”

    “That’s right,” he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. “Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there.”

    Nobody goes to jail. This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth — and nobody went to jail. Nobody, that is, except Bernie Madoff, a flamboyant and pathological celebrity con artist, whose victims happened to be other rich and famous people.

    The rest of them, all of them, got off. Not a single executive who ran the companies that cooked up and cashed in on the phony financial boom — an industrywide scam that involved the mass sale of mismarked, fraudulent mortgage-backed securities — has ever been convicted. Their names by now are familiar to even the most casual Middle American news consumer: companies like AIG, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley. Most of these firms were directly involved in elaborate fraud and theft. Lehman Brothers hid billions in loans from its investors. Bank of America lied about billions in bonuses. Goldman Sachs failed to tell clients how it put together the born-to-lose toxic mortgage deals it was selling. What’s more, many of these companies had corporate chieftains whose actions cost investors billions — from AIG derivatives chief Joe Cassano, who assured investors they would not lose even “one dollar” just months before his unit imploded, to the $263 million in compensation that former Lehman chief Dick “The Gorilla” Fuld conveniently failed to disclose. Yet not one of them has faced time behind bars.

    Instead, federal regulators and prosecutors have let the banks and finance companies that tried to burn the world economy to the ground get off with carefully orchestrated settlements — whitewash jobs that involve the firms paying pathetically small fines without even being required to admit wrongdoing. To add insult to injury, the people who actually committed the crimes almost never pay the fines themselves; banks caught defrauding their shareholders often use shareholder money to foot the tab of justice. “If the allegations in these settlements are true,” says Jed Rakoff, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York, “it’s management buying its way off cheap, from the pockets of their victims.”

    To understand the significance of this, one has to think carefully about the efficacy of fines as a punishment for a defendant pool that includes the richest people on earth — people who simply get their companies to pay their fines for them. Conversely, one has to consider the powerful deterrent to further wrongdoing that the state is missing by not introducing this particular class of people to the experience of incarceration. “You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street,” says a former congressional aide. “That’s all it would take. Just once.”

    But that hasn’t happened. Because the entire system set up to monitor and regulate Wall Street is fucked up.


  8. chief,

    I’m going to disagree with you, but only slightly. While what you say is true to a certain degree, I think the biggest reason black men are disproportionately represented in the prison population is that they are also disproportionately represented in the poor population as well. This hinders them from getting good representation. Many if not most lawyers don’t give a damn what color their client is, but they do have to care whether their clients can pay their bill or not as a practical matter. Injustice usually claims the defenseless defendant no matter their race or ethnicity.

    To me, the most solid argument for your proposition of systemic racism isn’t the volume of black men incarcerated as a percentage (because that has other demonstrable causal factors), but rather the often huge disparities in sentences that can be found along racial boundaries – especially in drug related crimes. A drug crime that a white guy might get a fine and diversion for very often results in jail time for a black defendant even if they have equal qualities of representation. So while what you say is undoubtedly true, I think the whole picture is a little more complicated.

    We should keep Jefferson’s words in mind when discussing injustice – “All men are created equal”. While the injustices do indeed strike the black community hardest it seems, we would all do well to remember that an injustice problem is ultimately a problem for everyone no matter the color of their skin. An injustice problem is a sign of systemic failure. Systemic failure is a sign of chaos in a complex system. It is a sign that either the system is heading toward disequilibrium and/or ultimately failure and it is a sign that we as a society need to do more to stabilize and rectify the system. While no system is capable of perfection, every systems is capable of optimization – the aspiration of perfection. As a society, fixing the systemic injustices of the judiciary – intentional or not – should be just as high a civic priority as fixing the malfunctions of the legislative and executive branches as well to ensure that government works for all of We the People instead of working on us and against us for the benefit of the few. That is the call of the pursuit of social justice.

  9. For what its worth:

    At Morehouse College, the Herman Cain question is a live wire
    If a packed political forum is any indication, his Atlanta alma mater is sharply divided over his candidacy. Social justice is part of the school’s DNA.

    “Traditional African American notions of social justice are part of the very DNA of Morehouse, founded in 1867 to educate recently freed slaves. King is but one star in Morehouse’s constellation of civil rights heroes. “The curse of poverty,” King once said, “has no justification in our age.”,0,2902112.story

  10. My dreams of attending grad school in the highly concentrated native American town of Flagstaff Arizona did not come to pass, and I ended up in basic warehouse labor until my new dream comes to pass and takes me out of the country.

    I found myself surrounded by native Americans and Hispanics, and in just a very short time, friends. One of my new dark-skinned Hispanic friends was picked up for unpaid parking tickets, and almost ended up having his citizenship rescinded and being deported. Instead, he was put on probation and released.

    During the time he was locked up, us fellas were having lunch and I mentioned something to the effect that “word has it that Antonio might be deported for having unpaid parking tickets, but it seems too crazy to be true, and that he may be an illegal with professional grade papers that beat the system for some time.”

    Looking around at my native friends’ faces, I received an eerily odd feeling, and said so. Something to the effect of “it sounds weird for me to be talking about illegal immigration when white people are the biggest illegals of all.”


    without even fully digesting the comments but bursting from some inner connection within them, my native friends nodded so emphatically that I felt a shiver of shame run through the deepest part of my being. The only other white person present, an elderly white gentleman, broke into a belly laugh so hearty it rocked his body.

    This entire country is founded on racism. Until we acknowledge and address that, we’ll continue to spin our wheels. The pain white people caused the natives is very much alive and present, even in the youngest generation.

    They know.

    Just my twopence.

  11. My own inner conflict came about when I realized the natives were fighting tooth and nail to prevent the local ski resort from creating artificial snow, having failed to have the resort removed entirely from what they consider their sacred mountains. And it is indeed sacred to them, it factors into their creation beliefs.

    I was torn, initially I despised them for interfering with my desires.Then I came to know them, and almost immediately, to love them.

    So I discovered split-boarding, whereby instead of snowboarding up via lifts and riding down, I could hike up and snowboard down. Double the cost of a season pass with all the new requirements plus an exponential expenditure of energy, but I chose to go that route in order to honor them.It was neither difficult nor an inconvenience once I got to know them.

    Now though, I’m in the process of joining the merchant marines, which should provide me with both sufficient time and money to take my riding to the very nicest places on the planet.

  12. Mr. Spindell,

    It’s a tragedy that in scope of depravity lies right alongside the Shoah. And yet no one seems to acknowledge it.

    Sometimes I feel like the pain we suffer is simply our due.

  13. Yes, those are surely among some ways to look at the causes, and there’s plenty of righteous anger to spread around.

    But until/unless the critical observers of these social woes, have bothered to invest in a weekend riding on an inner city Paramedic unit, I suspect the .
    validity of many arguments here will remain seriously flawed.


  14. We should keep Jefferson’s words in mind when discussing injustice – “All men are created equal”.
    True enough, even though Jefferson almost certainly was understood to mean all males are created equal, even all white males. I think it was more or less meant as a claim “we are too every bit as good as the upper class”, along the lines of the claims of the Levellers of the Putney Debates in 1647.

  15. All you lawyers need to ‘Occupy’ the justice department. Solve the beastly War on Drugs ™ apparatus, the Homeland Security apparatus, the War on Terror ™ apparatus.

    The disgusting injustice in the justice department. Power gives up nothing with out a demand. You all should be out on the streets protesting. Because, why not?


  16. Nate –

    It depends on where you live, of course. But most EMS systems that I’m aware of have civilian ride-along programs.

    EMS is generally operated by counties – not cities – and some limit who can ride & observe, based upon volume. For example, some Paramedic teams are literally snowed under by large numbers of EMT students at local colleges, who have to ride & observe as part of their training. In those areas, it may be a bit harder to get in. But I’d still give it a try.

    But if you are a professional in your community, a brief letter to the county EMS office requesting the opportunity to ride & observe, should get you in the door. And if not EMS, a lot of cop shops allow professional observers, too.

    And if per chance you can ride in one of the 4-dozen larger metro areas, so much the better. One night of street violence goes a long way.

    Best of luck.

  17. Martin,

    Jefferson’s words are clear. That his aspirations did not match the times in which he penned the Declaration is mitigated by the fact that if Jefferson had meant to qualify the statement in some way, he was in possession of sufficient language skills to have done so. It is part and parcel of the legally and philosophical importance of the Declaration that he chose clear and concise language. “All men are created equal” is the proposition, your attempt to rewrite it notwithstanding. The contradiction between Jefferson’s egalitarianism and his real or apparent racism (and I say his relationship with Sally Hemmings indicates it is more likely apparent in nature rather than actual) in keeping slaves only shows an imperfect man with internal conflicts and a man who was a creature of his times. That Jefferson the man was not perfect in no way diminishes his achievements or alters the plain language he selecting in drafting the Declaration. Had he wanted to qualify that language, he could have, but instead he went with the simplest and most egalitarian phrasing he could have chosen.

  18. Here’s just one statistic..Blacks represent between 10 and 13 percent of the population. In 2009, they committed 37.5 percent of the murders.
    These percentages scale even higher in other categories of serious violent or property crimes.
    If you want the incarceration rate to go down, the actual crimes committed must go down as well.

    As far as the drug sentencing goes, I believe the longer sentences have more to do with the higher incidence of violent crimes committed concurrently with a drug offense. If you are arrested for multiple crimes, your sentence is going to be longer.

  19. Mike,

    Incarceration rates of all races are far too high in the United States.

    In JT’s post last year entitled Black People in Great Britain Six Times More Likely to Face Arrest for Drug Offenses Than White People, I also commented on the problem more broadly.

    The culprit is the War on Drugs, and this modern-day Prohibition does a lot more harm than incarcerating millions.

    Civil liberties arguments aside, the War on Drugs creates strong economic incentives for children to drop out of school early, particularly if they are in a weak, inner-city public school. The drug war results in widespread violence and is a gateway to other criminal activity. The drug war destroys family structure by imprisoning so much of the population, if those who deal drugs are even considered better partners than the State.

    UC Berkeley’s John McWhorter spoke about your topic in a Cato-sponsored forum last year. If you’re willing to give it the first five minutes, I think you’ll be interested enough to hear the piece through. I do not endorse all of his views.

    The piece is available here.

  20. Patric,

    A good part of the reason I wrote this is that
    most of my career was spent working in all of the so-called “mean streets of NYC, day and night. Most of the time I was alone, without a weapon. I found some danger there, but mostly found good people dealing as well as they could, having been dealt a bad hand. The rest of my impetus comes from working with, for and supervising people from all racial and ethnic groups. I am firm in the knowledge that all humans are the same when you get beyond stereotypes. I can’t express how angry I get with our systems innate racism. What raises that anger to apoplexy though are those who deny these disparities exist.

  21. I have to remark that all the comments here have expanded the discusssion way beyond my original effort. Thank you, that makes me feel so good.

  22. (Check the graph on prison population growth)
    Arrests and incarceration

    United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.[52] A very large portion of people who are incarcerated are imprisoned for drug-related crimes. In 1994, it was reported that the “War on Drugs” results in the incarceration of one million Americans each year.[53] Of the related drug arrests, about 225,000 are for possession of cannabis, the fourth most common cause of arrest in the United States.[54]

    In 2008, 1.5 million Americans were arrested for drug offenses. 500,000 were imprisoned.[55]

    In the 1980s, while the number of arrests for all crimes was rising 28%, the number of arrests for drug offenses rose 126%.

    Sentencing disparities

    Statistics from 1998 show that there were wide racial disparities in arrests, prosecutions, sentencing and deaths. African-American drug users made up for 35% of drug arrests, 55% of convictions, and 74% of people sent to prison for drug possession crimes.[62] Nationwide African-Americans were sent to state prisons for drug offenses 13 times more often than other races,[68] even though they only supposedly comprised 13% of regular drug users.

    The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, Pub.L. 99-570, 100 Stat. 3207, enacted October 27, 1986, H.R. 5484, was the first major law passed by the U.S. Congress of the War on Drugs. Among other things, they changed the system of federal supervised release from a rehabilitative system into a punitive system. The 1986 Act also prohibited controlled substance analogs. The bill enacted new mandatory minimum sentences for drugs, including marijuana.[1][2]

    Check out the growth of Federal prisons:

  23. If I try to cut and paste anything here lately the reply box goes crazy and some postings won’t post at all. The above posting is actually the citations for this comment:

    The Reagan revolution had an impact on more than the economy. The war on drugs took off under Reagan though Carter actually started it. The Congress also passed mandatory minimum and sentencing laws under Reagan. Both state and Federal incarceration for drugs exploded after 1980 and the Federal government went into overdrive in building prisons. I don’t know if the fact that drug and gang crimes for which people are sent to prison falls more heavily on people of color was the point of the plan or if it was a serendipity that met with favour. I do know a good first step in decriminalizing the citizenry and making it less discriminatory is to end the war on drugs.

  24. Nate, first Americans don’t get much respect anywhere in North America.

    “What if They Declared an Emergency and No One Came?”

    “It’s been three weeks since Attawapiskat First Nation took the extraordinary step of declaring a state of emergency. Since then, not a single federal or provincial official has even bothered to visit the community.

    No aid agencies have stepped forward. No disaster management teams have offered help.

    Meanwhile temperatures have dropped 20 degrees and will likely drop another 20 or 25 degrees further in the coming weeks. For families living in uninsulated tents, makeshift cabins and sheds, the worsening weather poses serious risk.”

  25. “Mike Spindell
    1, November 27, 2011 at 12:14 am
    I have to remark that all the comments here have expanded the discusssion way beyond my original effort. Thank you, that makes me feel so good.”

    I too feel as you do that the post took own a very enlightning and thoughtful tone and the posters here never disappoint. So I’ll add this,which was in my paper today and these are my Brothers and Sisters with”NO” criminal record
    but the spin try is interesting.

    New Jersey Tea Party blames Barack Obama for unemployment of 540,000 blacks since January 2009

    “”Since Obama took office, a net of 540,000 additional black Americans – Obama’s strongest supporters – have lost their jobs,” the Tea Party retweeted to its followers on Sept. 2. The original tweet came from Ken Gardner, a junior fellow for The Right Sphere, a conservative website, and was retweeted by Jeff Weingarten, president of Morristown Tea Party Organization.”

  26. More hack journalism. Racism is a serious issue, but the rhetoric beyond quashing it – such as this – only hurts an intelligent conversation. The fact is that among blacks, poverty is high. Among poverty, regardless of race, crime is also high. And where crime is high, incarceration follows. Because blacks have disproportionately used and therefore convicted of crack cocaine, which carries higher sentencing under the guidelines, I suspect that we will see the incarceration differences between blacks and white lower dramatically now that the new guidelines are out which have pushed crack sentences closer to powder convictions. In any event, there are a number of consequential lurking variables in the “race/incarceration” conversation that any serious commentator needs to neutralize before writing any serious, let alone useful piece on the subject.

  27. Puzzling:

    “Civil liberties arguments aside, the War on Drugs creates strong economic incentives for children to drop out of school early, particularly if they are in a weak, inner-city public school. ”

    To say the least, this left me…puzzled. Mind explaining this? Frankly, the war and drugs increases the barrier to entry into the criminal field. For the rational person, it acts as a deterrent. Problem is, these people aren’t acting rationally. Freakenomics did a good piece on why most dealers live with their parents – because it isn’t financially rewarding. Add on all the other problems it causes, drug pushers are legitimately the stupidest people in society. Taking away the barrier to reduce drug use doesn’t make a lick of sense.

  28. Jack,

    I wrote

    Civil liberties arguments aside, the War on Drugs creates strong economic incentives for children to drop out of school early, particularly if they are in a weak, inner-city public school.

    You asked (emphasis mine):

    To say the least, this left me…puzzled. Mind explaining this? Frankly, the war and drugs increases the barrier to entry into the criminal field. For the rational person, it acts as a deterrent. Problem is, these people aren’t acting rationally.

    Criminal penalties are a deterrent to crime. That said, the economic prospects of many in the poorest areas of the United States makes dealing drugs a perfectly rational choice. The miserable education provided by inner city public schools leaves very few with the educational or employment prospects enjoyed by their more affluent suburban counterparts. In many ways these public schools have imprisoned entire generations.

    Should we continue to increase criminal penalties for drug crimes in order to move towards a more perfect Prohibition? Would the death penalty for street-level drug dealing deter more than years of prison time? I’m sure it would. But it would also raise the price and dangerousness of drugs, increase the level of violence in our neighborhoods, further sacrifice civil liberties to execution of the drug war, and make drug dealing for those willing to undertake it even more profitable. Legalizing drugs would eliminate this economic premium.

    As Mike lays out at the very beginning of this post, the United States already has the highest incarceration rate of any country on the entire planet. This drug war is a failure with extraordinary costs. Look around.

  29. Jack,

    There isn’t much puzzling and I agree upon, but the futility and needless expense – both in money and lives ruined – of the drug war is one area where we do agree. If the Volstead Act should have taught this country anything it’s 1) that prohibition doesn’t work and 2) that making intoxicants illegal only makes more criminals and 3) encourages organized crime to reap the profits of a black market schema. The War on Drugs is simply a War on Personal Choice and a rationalization for increasing the police state. Prohibition is (improperly) using a legal tool to address what is essentially a medical issue. It is using the wrong tool to fix the problem and in the process it is creating even worse problems in the arena of both civil liberties and efficacy of law enforcement in relationship to serious crimes against persons and property. These two articles point out some of the problems the drug war is having on enforcement of other much more serious crimes:

    Driven By Drug War Incentives, Cops Target Pot Smokers, Brush Off Victims Of Violent Crime

    The War On Drugs Has Failed – It’s Time For A New Approach.

    Personally, I think prioritizing police to solve crimes like murder and rape is far more important than busting pot smokers and junkies.

  30. OK; lets face facts, the population of Black and Brown people put in prison was the Whiteman’s way to keep the free labor lost by the end of slavery. Every since then Men with all power to make laws and wars turned their backs on the wills of Abraham Lincoln to keep their sons of guns employed with high ranking government official asskissing jobs. Now the ones who are called monkeys are caged by men who hunt them, wont befriend them or lead them like Tarzan.

  31. BurntOffering,
    I agree with your post Civil War premise about the labor market and incarceration, but I would add that it’s motivation was to keep the inequality of the races as close to slavery as possible. By focussing upon the black male they destabilized the family unit and they have continued to do so ever since. A stable family unit is what has allowed many ethnicities to succeed. By imprisoning the Black man and focussing law enforcement on him, it limits employment possibilities makes illegal activities a viable choice for survival. This process also destroys aspiration by making life seem hopeless. That despite this societally imposed handicap so many Black people have been successful in all fields destroys the myth of their inferiority.

  32. I havenot read all comments so apologize if just repeating someone else’s idea.
    It seems to me a lot of it is related to the “war on drugs” where a tiny amt of cocaine, etc can get you locked up for a long time, thanks to draconian sentencing laws.

  33. I agree with you Mike and I also think the reason the GOP is so hard on President Obama because they know exactly what his election means to so many big, little and medium size black kids. Many of our parents told their children in preparation for living in two worlds that “you’ll have to be twice as good to get half as far” as people like GW Bush. One thing for sure our History shows; when Blacks are just given the chance to compete they outshine the rest. Hopefully the powers that be can admit although GOD made man 1st and all men were created equal, that since GOD created women 2nd that they were created greater and better than men.

  34. BurntOffering,
    One of the things I find difficult about the race discussion is that we are all one human race. Skin pigmentatiotn is not a decider of worthiness. Humans may differ in ethnicity and/or religion, but beyond that there are insignificant differences. We consider the President a black man due to his skin Colorado, yet genetically he is 50% White. It’s all bullshit in my opinion brought about by people seeking power and choosing an “other” group to vilify and victimize.

  35. I understand what you said is true, but its really moot considering all of the privileges allowed to whites and oppression of those who are black is ingrained in US citizens over the age of 20 years old who have not been whitewashed by the media. Most people will claim they are not racist because they dont really know what racism is in the first place. No one should be put down for asking a question like “is macaroni and cheese a black thing”? This country sure could use an honest discussion about it, because that’s the only way to fix it.

  36. It may be ageist to say so, but I’ve always considered macaroni and cheese a grandma thing. They do tend to make it best. However, let’s look at Newt’s claim. If you Wikipedia macaroni and cheese, this is what the entry has to say about the history of the dish:

    “Macaroni is mentioned in various medieval Italian sources, though it is not always clear whether it is a pasta shape or a prepared dish.[3] However, pasta and cheese casseroles have been recorded in cookbooks as early as the Liber de Coquina, one of the oldest medieval cookbooks. A cheese and pasta casserole known as Makerouns was recorded in an English cookbook in the 14th century.[4] It was made with fresh hand-cut pasta which was sandwiched between a mixture of melted butter and cheese. It was considered an upperclass dish even in Italy until around the 18th century.[3]
    Thomas Jefferson, who called all pasta “macaroni”, is known to have had a pasta maker as early as 1793 and to have served a macaroni pie at the White House in 1802. There are also records of his purchasing, or attempting to purchase, imported pasta after his term as president.[5]
    The dish has been popular in the United Kingdom since the Victorian era.” –

    Although I knew Jefferson had served it at the White House, I was surprised to find that similar dishes appeared in 14th Century medieval cookbooks. I’ve learned something new today, so it hasn’t been wasted.

    But as to Newt’s statement, it displays a lack of culinary and cultural knowledge that can either be attributed to simple ignorance or racism. Given Newt’s history of making racist and bigoted comments (, I’m going to say his comments deserve criticism for being both racist and ignorant.

  37. Gene,
    Thanks for the history. Until I started working with Black people, during celebratory office parties, I never realized that macaroni and cheese was a popular dish among them. While we never ate it in
    my house, being Kosher, I was familiar with Kraft TV ads and thought it a WASP dish. It has become a quintessentially American dish. For Newt to consider it a “Black Dish” says as much about his contempt for the 99% (since it is so inexpensive) as it does about his racism, which has always been there.

    While I shared my distrust of the use of the term “race” in these discussions, I understand that it is ubiquitous at this point, can’t be avoided and must be discussed. I don’t like the reality of having one’s opponents framing the debates language. Jews, my people, are called by some a “race”, even though we are merely an ethnicity and a religion. The eugenicists in the 1800’s and the NAZI’s later, used race as a means of condemnation. The same definitional methods are used here to justify the genocidal activities against Blacks and Native Americans.

  38. Hey Mike; how come you cant have M&C or what ingredient cant you eat? As much as I could let you blame Newt, it wasnt him that asked the question. I think it was Pat Robertson after his cohost interviewed Condellisa Rice who had M&C on Thanksgiving. She was absolutely wrong to lable it a Black thing! I thought she was kidding and would tell him as much but then He went on to say; how He never heard of it before?…. What????? You are right We All are Humans. I heard said; the whole race began in Africa. I might be wrong but I think when anyone uses an attribute to discriminate such as color of skin; its just a way to lable folks, put them in a box; pick the color they want and to make themselves feel more comvrtable.

  39. BurntOffering,
    I’m in my late 60’s.. Back then we had meat at dinner. If you keep Kosher you don’t eat dairy products with meat. Also back then there were no kosher M&C products that I know of as there are today.

    I didn’t realize that it was Robertson, not Newt. My mistake but I like Pat even less than I like Newt and I think they’re both racists.

    Humanity did begin in Africa, but the problem with racism is it’s not based on evidence, but hatred.

  40. Mike,

    I know you’ve said you don’t eat Kosher now, so I’m going to share a M&C variation that would make your cardiologist want to punch me in the face. I call it the “Special Occasion Gorgon Mac & Cheese” and it’s a variation I came up with based on having an excellent example of one the key ingredients: Fresh Gorgon. But it works even better double cream Gorgonzola and you don’t run the risk of being turned to stone. It goes great with steak, lamb chops or pork roast.

    Make a standard issue Béchamel sauce and incorporate equal amounts of double cream Gorgonzola and shredded Fontina (ratio 2:1:1). Mix with pasta shape of choice (I suggest cavatappi), cooked al dente. Put mixture in casserole dish. Top with mixture of Italian seasoned bread crumbs and shredded Parmigiana. Bake at 375 for 25-30 min. or until desired browning is reached. Optional toppings include finely chopped oven roasted walnuts (may be added pre-bake) and/or a chiffonade of fresh basil (post baking).

    It’s mac and cheese that’s way too good for amphibians, their namesakes or any politician.

  41. Mike,

    I think you are wrong and that your analysis leaves much to be desired, but I shouldn’t have said it like that. My apologies.


    “That said, the economic prospects of many in the poorest areas of the United States makes dealing drugs a perfectly rational choice.”

    No, it’s not. That was the point of Freakenomics. It’s NOT rational. Even getting a steady, low paying job provides more stability, less risk, and (wait for it…) more money.


    If you actually read what was written, it’s pretty obvious that the reference was to those that enter “into the criminal field.” Seriously, go play the race victim-in-waiting card elsewhere.

    Gene H,

    Frankly, I don’t care much to stop someone from extracting themselves from the gene pool. The problem is that thus far, there has been no way of stopping the external costs or limiting them in any meaningful way. For example, look at the costs associated with alcoholism. They are tremendous, not only in time, productivity, and money, but also lives. If you legalize drugs, their uses will increase (Bill Bennett did an interesting piece on this the past couple months). And, so will those externalized costs. I don’t dispute the war is expensive, but my prediction is that the societal costs would actually be greater. Now, I don’t know that…but that’s my hunch. Let’s also note that the war on drugs itself can be managed better to get better results at lower costs. The typical binary evaluation of “we do or we don’t” is inherently problematic because it forwards a false dilemma. The truth is there’s always a third option: “we do, but we do better.”

  42. Mike: Thanks for letting me know about the Dairy thing. I cant tell you what I thought at first, but I’ll suffice to say, that why Race needs to be talked about.Some people eat M&C as their meal and as some Jewish people I know who had black maids, I’m sure they fixed M&C for them.

    2ndly thinking someone is Racist is not the same as knowing someone is racist, but unfortunately lots of people know other people who are racist but say NO THING about it which in my opinion is much worst and why our nation is in such a state. Racism must be confronted and unfortunately the ones who breed it, will never admit it and will fight tooth and nail in Court to make you prove it. If someone brings a Racist to the EEOC nothing happens and IF they can find a lawyer to represent them and they Win; they get less than a white person would get because hell they are Black. Besides that if they win they still will have to sign some sort of privacy agreement saying they wont let other people know how racist, sexist, corrupt a system or organization has become.

    3rd Most of the congress are lawyers whose daddy was a lawyer etc making the laws that ensure they will never get caught for their corrupt practises.

    4th According to Time magazine from like 1970’s the oldest bones discovered were in Africa and they did a big spread on it which let everyone know we All Come From Africa and then spread out, after parts of the earth broke up etc.

    5th How long do judges sit on a Court acting like they dont stuff that’s been going on, because Nobody knows what happened like who was abused, raped, harrassed, etc. It’s gotten to the point most people think Lady Justices is not only Blind, but Deaf, Dumb and also a Blond when She is NOT. What She and Her Gender is this; Severely handicapped, Retarded and Statutorily (by law) Raped from Equal use of the Swift sword of Justice promised US all because of a damn blindfold put upon by her masonic forefathers and brothers.

    6th the main reason so many Black men, women, or darker color people are in Jail is because the White Man is Scared. They know whatever they realize what was Taken or Stolen from them; One Day Justice will finally Come Around and get back to them.

    7th What would be the consequence if the Bible that was used and them removed from Public views turns out to be Absolutely True and because they Believed A Lie; many poor innocent sheep will Die. The GOP and even the Mormans like Willard Romney always knew Cain was the 1st Black son of Adam and Eve and since than started waiting for some Fat Lady to Sing. But low and behold; as Thomas Jefferson Feared; instead or by a revolutionary Turn of Events; the Fat Lady decided to send Her Evil Lunatic (moonlike) Daughter instead as Satan Risen and Reborn in the Flesh as the Daughter of GOD, sister spirit and wife of Jesus Christ. I said that to says this; Satan Needs a Lawyer for Her Extraordinary Writ of Certiorari asking for Man-Damn-US and Prohibition of them passing gender specific discriminatory laws affecting the Health, Safety, Voting and Welfare of Women. So Tweet me at MrsJesusChrist if you dont believe this story is True & in the Good News Gospel aka the Holy Bible.

  43. “Mike,
    I think you are wrong and that your analysis leaves much to be desired, but I shouldn’t have said it like that. My apologies.”

    You were somewhat nasty, but had that bothered me I would have replied i kind, so no apology is needed. I think you need to understand the role of a guest blogger here and indeed the purpose of all the articles. While the writer’s opinion is integral to each piece, they are meant to stimulate discussion and not as authoritative tomes. That is why at one point I thanked people for adding weight and depth to my original premise. While all guest bloggers comment frequently on their posts, the real pleasure in the work comes from getting a good discussion going.

    “That said, the economic prospects of many in the poorest areas of the United States makes dealing drugs a perfectly rational choice.”

    To Puzzling’s quote above you replied:

    “No, it’s not. That was the point of Freakenomics. It’s NOT rational. Even getting a steady, low paying job provides more stability, less risk, and (wait for it…) more money.”

    I think you ascribe far too much credibility to Leavitt’s work. It is a good read and certainly Dubner is a good writer, but it is a work of “pop culture” economics, about the work of an economist who has come under a fair amount of criticism for his trying to extend economics into all areas of social science. I read the book and enjoyed it but came away vaguely unsatisfied due to its superficiality. Even though I have an advanced degree in a field of social science, Social Work, I am quite dubious as to the use of the term “science” to describe such work. My dubiousness reaches incredulity when we come to Economics, which in my opinion is really a argument between people of various opinions, who marshal studies that are interesting, but shallow and allow their pre-judgments to color their results.

    The idea that people who become drug dealers are “not rational” is absurd on its face. Was Henry Ford rational when he endeavored to produce a mass produced automobile, or was Preston Tucker irrational when he endeavored to do the same thing? Ford succeeded, Tucker failed, both were following the myth we know as the American Dream. The American Dream is a myth because it ignores that for every great success in an endeavor there are 100,000 people that fall far short of success. So while many poor Black kids aspire to be the “Big-Time Dealer” driving the BMW, most wind up a “soldiers” in the gang, earning pittances. The “Costra Nostra” follows the same model, as do many legitimate endeavors.

    When you are poor, black and living in horrendous conditions, with little hope for your future, you grasp at chimera’s of success. What most poor, Black males have to look forward to based on their experiences is success through sports and crime, with the latter having the possibility of prison hanging over it. To make it on the streets one has to subsume them-self with bravado, or suffer physical punishment. It is silly to think that one becomes a drug dealer through rational choice, or that the other options are even apparent to them. Leavitt’s mistake is not in the fact that probably drug dealing is not as lucrative in the end as a low paying job, but in his assumption that this information is available to those who make the choice to deal drugs. This lack of understanding options is not about intelligence by the way, it is about the perceptions available to those on the bottom of the economic barrel.

    “If you legalize drugs, their uses will increase (Bill Bennett did an interesting piece on this the past couple months). And, so will those externalized costs. I don’t dispute the war is expensive, but my prediction is that the societal costs would actually be greater. Now, I don’t know that…but that’s my hunch.”

    First of all Bill Bennett, former US Drug Czar under GHW Bush, is an ass with an agenda. His perceptions are not only formed by his moral judgments, but by how he makes his living. Your “hunch” is valueless in the face of real evidence. That evidence is Prohibition. “Wars on Intoxication” simply do not work and in the process form powerful incentives for people to deal in them. The historical truth is that humanity has been using intoxicants for tens of thousands of years and to the extent that we should classify it as normative human behavior. The banning of intoxicants is really based in some religions that do not
    believe that humans should lives lives with pleasure across the board.
    Banning normative human behavior simply does not work and never has, no matter how severe the penalties. Repeating behavior that thousands of years of history has shown not to work (i.e. legislating morality) is ultimately an act of insanity. This is true of the “War on Drugs”.

  44. Jack,

    I was going to say using Bill Bennett as an authority (on anything) is pretty weak, but Mike beat me to it as well as summing up accurately why I think prohibition laws are all ultimately doomed to failure. Since the behavior cannot be eliminated or effectively mitigated by a legal tool (because all current evidence shows that drug laws do not mitigate the negative effects of drugs on society but rather exacerbates them), then a legal tool should not be used to address the problem. Instead, use a paradigm that does have an effect on reducing drug use and mitigating the social costs with less damage done to the social fabric than turning the country into a police state in the name of the Ware on Drugs, namely the combination of education and medical treatment.

  45. BurntOffering,

    Like with all things religious, some people don’t follow all the tenets of their religion. Many Jews do not keep Kosher. I don’t, as Gene mentioned, but I grew up in a Kosher home.

    “2ndly thinking someone is Racist is not the same as knowing someone is racist, but unfortunately lots of people know other people who are racist but say NO THING about it which in my opinion is much worst and why our nation is in such a state. Racism must be confronted and unfortunately the ones who breed it, will never admit it and will fight tooth and nail in Court to make you prove it.”

    I agree. I don’t claim moral perfection, nor am I free of all prejudice, but when it comes to racist prejudice I am adamant. I’ve lost many friends through the years because I couldn’t abide their prejudice ad I don’t regret it.

    Sounds like a great recipe, but I’ve got a new heart and don’t intend to screw it up this time around. Great recipe, great fat content and huge amounts of cholesterol. I’ll bet you’re one of those high metabolism people that can eat anything. I’m now trying to lose the twenty pounds I’ve gained since the transplant.

    Thank you. I always enjoy your comments and especially the information you bring that rounds out a topic so well.

  46. Mike,

    “I’ll bet you’re one of those high metabolism people that can eat anything.”

    I wish! lol I have to be careful what pictures of food I look at let alone what I eat. No, that recipe is like a once a year dish. If consumed on a regular basis, I’m pretty sure that M&C variant would quickly be renamed “The Artery Glue Special”. Good luck on the weight loss. It can be difficult during the holiday seasons, but I know what a struggle it can be. My father had a “yo-yo” weight problem after his by-pass surgery, but he finally managed to get it under control. I’m sure you will too.

  47. I just have to add; there is a Big difference between being Racist and being Prejudice. As All people have their preferences, the difference is stopping or excluding a person from working, living, eating, breathing because of it. So in order to do this you have to be willing to look at the Subject Matter Clearly

  48. BurntOffering,

    I have to disagree that there is a big difference in the terms. Racism is in fact a subset of prejudicial behavior by definition.

    prejudice \ˈpre-jə-dəs\, n.,

    1: injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one’s rights; especially : detriment to one’s legal rights or claims
    2a (1) : preconceived judgment or opinion (2) : an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge
    b : an instance of such judgment or opinion
    c : an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics

    racism \ˈrā-ˌsi-zəm also -ˌshi-\, n.,

    1: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
    2: racial prejudice or discrimination

    Contrast with . . .

    preference \ˈpre-fərn(t)s, ˈpre-f(ə-)rən(t)s\, n.,

    1a : the act of preferring : the state of being preferred
    b : the power or opportunity of choosing
    2: one that is preferred
    3: the act, fact, or principle of giving advantages to some over others

    While preference can (but not necessarily) result in prejudice, racism is a consequence of prejudice using race as the determining criteria for differentiating, i.e. prejudice has the negative elements required to form racism whereas simple preference does not. You skated right up to the edge of this distinction when you said ” As All people have their preferences, the difference is stopping or excluding a person from working, living, eating, breathing because of it”, but as a matter of language, I don’t think there is much of a difference in prejudice and racism at all. Where the line really gets blurry is between preference and prejudice. For example, I prefer red heads, but that does not mean I won’t date a blond. That’s a preference. If I preferred red heads and would only date red heads exclusively, that would be a prejudice.

  49. Actually Gene I think we agree on the difference between prejudice and racist since you said “While preference can (but not necessarily) result in prejudice, racism is a consequence of prejudice using race as the determining criteria for differentiating, i.e. prejudice has the negative elements required to form racism whereas simple preference does not.” Lets say you live in China and your parents are both short, are you prejudice or racist against your own because you wish you were tall? Everyone has the right to prefer whatever they choose, but when none of their choice is available, than waiting for when it is is is Dumb, Racist, and Prejudicial because you Prejudged them without even givng them a chance

  50. BurntOffering,

    I don’t think so. The difference here is semantic and about degree. There cannot be a big difference between prejudice and racism when prejudice is a primary prerequisite for racism. You say “big difference”, I’m saying “little or no difference”. Instead, your own hypothetical question “are you prejudice or racist against your own because you wish you were tall” points to the wider gap in meaning being between preference (which may not be prejudicial) and prejudice rather than between prejudice and racist (which is necessarily prejudicial by definition). Where we do agree is that both prejudice and racism are dumb.

  51. Well Gene, I still disagree because I think prejudice can be due to a persons traditions, religion, and fact they never saw or knew anything else. Racism is a science designed to keep all who are not like you out (white, chineese, french, italians in the mafia, hence the words sexism, nepotism, anti semitism, etc.

    We used to put truly bad folks in jail, for numbers running, running moon shine, gambling etc….Then they cleaned up their acts after becoming very rich and started turning their kids into congressman, or presidents. So we can go back and forth about racism or prejudice without ever getting to the problem which is stopping it, by confronting it. You know all sterotypes aint wrong

  52. This has long been a subject near and dear to my heart and one I have spent years trying to understand and remedy.

    I have read every post thus far and find no mention of Frances Cress Welsing, who has, in my opinion, given the best explanation of this historically persistent and ever ongoing miscarriage of justice.

    ” … if you are classified as “non-white” under the conditions of white supremacy domination, when the hammer of white supremacy falls, you will be under that hammer.” (Frances Cress Welsing)

    “The system of white racism must take power from the Black man if there is going to be White genetic survival,” stated Dr. Welsing. “The attack,” she continued, “must center on the Black man, because he does have a weapon, it’s called dominant genetic power.” When addressing the continuous murdering of Black men in this society she stated, that “if it’s happening over and over again, it implies intentionality.” (Frances Cress Welsing)

    There is much to be learned from this stellar Black scholar … start here with one young woman’s review of a lecture Dr. Welsing gave in Dec. 2010:

  53. BurntOffering,

    “Well Gene, I still disagree because I think prejudice can be due to a persons traditions, religion, and fact they never saw or knew anything else.”

    This is addressing causation, not the meaning of the word. The causation of prejudice is manifold, it is even in some cases perhaps justifiable, but in the end it is always irrational as it rests on the fallacy of composition (something true of part of a whole must also be true of the whole – good and bad people come in every color ergo there is no homogeneity of action based on color) and the fallacy of the single cause (in the case of racism that race is the determinative factor in undesirable or bad behavior of an individual instead of the multiple causes of character, education, upbringing, cultural context, circumstance, etc.).

    “Racism is a science designed to keep all who are not like you out”.

    Racism is not a science.

    Science is the state of knowing, knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding, a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study (arguably the study of racism can be a science, but to call racism a science confuses verb and object – see below*), something (as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge (again, see below *), knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through the scientific method, such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena (natural sciences), or a system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws (applied sciences).

    Racism is simply a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race that manifests as racial prejudice or discrimination.

    *Now the manipulation of that belief to foster dissent and division along racial lines? That is an applied science. The science of applied psychology and one of that science’s associated tools for manipulating large numbers of people, propaganda, to achieve a desired outcome. Ergo racially based propaganda is an exercise in applied science, but racism and its use for political and social division and disruption are the objects of study in an area of applied psychology but racism is not a science proper.

    Sorry. This is nothing personal. At the core we agree that racism is both stupid and undesirable and that is the important thing. I just have a thing about the meanings of words. Call it an advanced form of linguistic OCD.😀

  54. Gene,

    As I have said to you before…. You can dislike someone because of the way they are and still be considered a racist. You can dislike someone for what they represent, but still like the person. There are some folks out there that dislike you because of who you support for office. Unfortunatly these folks have not gotten past 8th grade who’s who….

    In the big scheme of things and as Jim Morrison has said in his unauthorized biography….(I am pretty sure) that “no on gets out of here alive”…

    I add one thing to this… We will more likely be remembered for what we did did rather than what we said we did….

  55. yes racism is a sciences and it was studied and used for at least 50 years against Black people in America. Slave masters were told to distinguish the light from the dark giving preference to the Light Darkie for the House chores, and the Black ones left out in the flied to to use them as studs. Of course 9 times out of 10 the light one were the Master own children, but I digress. Just this very small part of the science taught is still alive today in Black American households. Now other races wouldnt know that if you dont know any black people which brings me back to the point I started with about Macaroni & Cheese. Although it was not developed by Black, they were just able to perfect it, just like they did with Fried Chicken, Barbecue and Chitterlings.

  56. Google this on Willie(William)Lynch 1712 Speech and the making of a Slave and one more thing; Part of the Racism in this nation comes from People like Michelle Bachman who signed a Pledge that stated; “African Americans were more likely born in a two parent household during slavery than under the Obama Administration.

  57. Sorry, BurntOffering, but words have meaning and grammar has rules.

    Feel free to confuse verb and object all you like, but rest assured, the confusion here is entirely yours as to what constitutes science.

    As to black on black racism? That’s always been a conundrum that a minority with a history of being discriminated against would respond with yet more racism and internally directed toward people nominally their own. It just tells me that dumb doesn’t have a color correlation any more than smart does.

    As to culinary “perfections”, they are a cultural bias. For example, let’s look at barbecue. There is a strong argument that black cooks perfected barbecue in America; a double cultural bias. I’d even go so far as to say I can even name the black man who did it; Arthur Bryant. However, someone from China might argue that the Cantonese perfected barbecue (called char siu); also a double cultural bias. The bottom line is that people tend to like the foods they were raised on, but perfection is a relative and personal distinction. One man’s excellent barbecue is another man’s McRib. The only objective criteria for perfection in food preparation is skill in execution of technique as taste is both personal and culturally influenced. If you want to think blacks perfected M&C, you are free to adopt that bias just as I have adopted a bias for Bryant’s barbecue, but people will differ. That doesn’t make them right or you wrong, it just means you have different tastes. I’ve eaten more than my share of M&C made by people of all colors and what I’ve found is that my idea of perfection in the dish doesn’t lie along racial lines but rather on age lines: grandma makes it best no matter her color. I loved my grandmother’s mac and I loved the mac I used to get at Ruby’s Soul Food. Both about the same age, my grandmother was white, Ruby was black and the funny thing of it was is that their mac and cheese was practically indistinguishable from each others. I loved both women and I loved both of their dishes. What brings people together over food is sharing – both the food itself and the traditions which spawned it. It is a good way to bring cultures together. Just because I prefer Bryant’s barbecue doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a good plate of char siu and even appreciate its differences in both preparation and cultural roots. Some of the best dishes in the world have something in common no matter their disparate cultural backgrounds: they are poor food – dishes mastered by people taking sparse and/or cheap ingredients and maximizing the flavor, cooked with love. This is the origin of barbecue be it one of the many American styles or various Chinese styles – cheap cuts of beef and pork slow cooked and carefully seasoned to maximize flavor and make what could be a tough nasty cut into something tender and juicy. As any chef will tell you, passion is important to cooking and there is no passion quite like love.

  58. Also, Michelle Bachmann is an idiot . . . and she’s batshit insane on top of it. All you’ve shown is that stupidity has no racial boundary. But she is a practitioner of racist propaganda. She is the verb – the applied part of the applied science of psychology – but the object of her study and the goals of her application are race and the utilization of race to create dissent and division. Do you know what people like her fear the most? That Americans of all colors will see through the bullshit to see the truth that fermenting racial division is about maintaining social status and wealth for the few by keeping the masses fighting one another instead of fighting for social justice that the machinations of the 1% deprive from We the People.

  59. It really doesnt matter Gene because most people will do wrong to another if its been done to them. It takes a lot to be able to Brainwash People. Besides that; I already told you what I think White people FEAR, and so did Michael Moore I’m sure.

    Yes, MB is an idiot and so is Her hubby, but who are the ones or entity allowing Her or Her kind to spread such stupid racist shittim … a 4letter word taken from the bible.

  60. “It takes a lot to be able to Brainwash People.”

    Not as much as you’d think. Just a lie repeated enough times.

    “Besides that; I already told you what I think White people FEAR, and so did Michael Moore I’m sure.”

    I’m not sure how Moore got into this conversation, but the salient point of my statement about Bachmann had to do with her being an elitist foremost. She’d have signed the same pledge if she was black. Racism ultimately isn’t about race, it’s about class – one class playing races against each other so they can’t unite and end their classes social oppression and thievery. White has less to do with than green does.

  61. Youre Right about telling a lie over and over to brainwash folks. That why Zig Ziglar went on tour with GW Bush when he got out of office. I probably would have fought you to the death about the same thing happening if MB were Black; until I saw, heard and read what Herman Cain had to say. Unfortunately what you dont see until its too late is how it affects and effects people who say to themselves; that they just cant wait to be King

  62. Quoted from above… “6th the main reason so many Black men, women, or darker color people are in Jail is because the White Man is Scared. They know whatever they realize what was Taken or Stolen from them; One Day Justice will finally Come Around and get back to them.”

    Had a conversation today with the elderly white gentleman that had such a hearty laugh at my comment that whites are the biggest illegals of all.

    I mentioned how I was just recently becoming aware of how deeply the pain still runs in native Americans from the sufferings and injustice they received at white people hands.

    “Oh yeah,” said he. “But they have to realize, that’s all in the past and they can’t keep hoping they’ll get anything back, or anything for free.”

    Was so dismayed to hear that sentiment from such a lively, wonderful old gentleman. I sensed the presence of racism from the beginning to end of his spiel, and would be surprised if the said gentleman actually recognized himself as such.

    But indeed, that is the fear behind the silence. An injustice so far beyond words must be recompensed, and the very idea is more than people are willing to acknowledge.

    I asked many natives, “how can white people repair this great evil they have done to native people?” All but one said, “I don’t know.” But there was one who replied, “give us our land back. What I mean is, make our reservations bigger. And also give us the money from the National Parks.” So then I asked, “who is a native that should receive this money? What percent native blood?” And he replied, “25%.”

  63. Nate that’s exactly why I said I need a lawyer to represent me because as fate would have it, my employer owns my great, grandfather and mothers land and I can prove I’m at least 25% Nanticoke American Indian. The only way to get recognition and honor for the long trail of blood sweat and tears and things like the French and American Indian War is to rewrite the History that was wrote and show exactly who was at fault. I’m pretty sure Marylands Constitution says something about being Grateful to God and a New World to Come. Wouldnt that be awesome if its just in time for a Dawn of Democracy and Hopi Indian 2012 Prophesy. Then things can return to the old ways so a Her It Age can begin? Peace Out

  64. It couldn’t be because they are committing crimes, could it? No, must be a deep dark political agenda the white devil has against the black man. Give me a break. Don’t give police a reason to arrest you and they won’t.

  65. John Q,

    You are dead wrong….That I can promise you…People won’t believe that the cops target some neighborhoods…

  66. John Q & A. Yours –

    From the perspective of someone in the trenches, let me say you are both right – and both wrong.

    Yes, cops do indeed focus on some neighborhoods more than others, and in the policing of these ‘hoods, some very nice folks get mistreated daily by stormtroopers with particularly despicable attitudes. And that fact is indisputable. I know, because for three decades I’ve looked into a ton of smashed faces, not all of which were deserving.

    These neighborhoods get the focus of the stormtroopers because they happen to be invested with a ton of monstrous inhumanity to it’s law-abiding residents. Does the crap these cops wade into daily rub off on their attitudes? Damn right does. How could it not? Is that a good thing? Of course not. It’s simple animal nature.

    The only question – to my mind – is, would society be better off sending Boy Scouts into the melee?

    I don’t pretend to know the answer. Hell, maybe we ought to give it a try.

  67. Being a sensitive, kind hearted person doesn’t change statistics! “It is what it is” and we can only be accountable for our own actions, not anyone else’s. People have to want to better themselves and because we live in America there are opportunites and programs available to help low income families further their education if they would like to. If you don’t like your situation or your family trend, change it.

  68. The high amount of blacks in prison is not proof they are being mistreated.. Its proof that they commit more crimes and get caught more often.. Period. I don’t know of one black person on a personal level that got arrested for no reason. I don’t know one black male that didn’t get arrested at least once in his life.

    Their IQs are lower they have a higher chance of being violent.. Higher chance of incarceration, higher Std rate. As well as a 70% chance of abandoning the mother of their child.

    It’s a chemical cocktail for failure. Which supports the idea that these men get put in prison for the right reasons instead of the wrong ones.

    Also if I hear one more story of a black male getting pulled over for being in a nice car I’m going to scream. Hell I’m white and get pulled over for my car because my hair is long.. I don’t cry about it. Also you can’t legally pull someone one for no reason so stop crying and sue..

    Until you all stop pointing the finger and start working on your short comings it will always be this way.

  69. Their IQs are lower Am I reading you correct, you are saying Black people (or just black men) have lower Iq’s then whites? Please provide us a click/link for this…malarkey

  70. It’s on wiki do you not know how to use Google? ” IQ tests performed in the United States have consistently demonstrated a significant degree of
    variation between different racial groups , with the average score of those with African ancestry
    lower than that of European ancestry and the average score of those with East Asian ancestry
    being higher than that of European ancestry.” from other sites I have read the Jewish have the over all highest…. With blacks being lowest. But then you all just blame it on being poor.. But the poor white kids in America are higher then the nation average. Where the poor blacks have the lowest.. So it’s not a money issue either.



    The literature on the effects of education and cultural background on Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III (WAIS-III), Wechsler Memory Scale-III (WMS-III), WAIS-R and WMS-R performances was reviewed. The electronic databases PsycINFO, MEDLINE and PubMed were searched over the period 1980–2008 and reference lists from papers identified were examined for relevant articles. of 3,081 papers identified, 19 met criteria including English language, group research, adult sample, quantitative data published and focus on relationship between culture and/or education and performances on WAIS-III, WMS-III, WAIS-R or WMS-R measures. There was converging evidence that both education and culture showed significant relationships with test performances, particularly on the WAIS-III and WAIS-R in control and clinical groups. The limited research available did not demonstrate improved diagnostic efficiency with the application of demographic corrections for the WAIS-III. Clinical implications were discussed, including the issue of compromised validity when assessing people from diverse cultural backgrounds for whom relevant normative data are not available. Suggested research directions included the development of culturally and linguistically specific normative data, the modification and validation of “culture-free” tests and the examination of cultural effects in clinical groups in the Australian context.

    The WAIS and WISC have long been criticized for cultural invalidity
    See I google to find out why. You google to prove your invalid, and appearingly racist, point

  72. Once again you pass the buck and blame the tests. The same tests are giving to all students. The blacks do more poorly then the other races.. Period. You can’t blame the tests. You can’t blame wealth because as I pointed out the poor white kids do great. You can’t blame the culture because they themselves created that culture.

    You can also look at Africa itself. The is one of the poorest places to live in the world. Even with their abundance of natural resources they still do poorly.

    It’s not all bad… You have people like Will Smith and Degrasse. Who are both smart and intelligent. But overall the blacks are the least intelligent race in the world.

    Their lack of intelligence make them get caught more committing crimes as well as makes them commit more crimes overall. This is why the numbers of jailed black men are so much higher.

    As I said before you have to accept these short coming in order to improve on them. Passing the blame will only make things worse.

    The only reason why I am speaking out on this right now is the US is in a trance like state right now…. They are in denial like the rest.. The restraints of this denial is reaching its peak and when they break reality will hit very hard.. It will be bad for all of us trust me.

    This is what I do although no one ever listens.. They would rather feel right then be right.. So I guess I’m just wasting my breath once again.

    And jesus don’t result to being a Grammer Nazi… We aren’t on a teen forum here.

  73. “It will be bad for all of us trust me.” I figure you left out the word ‘if”, it will be bad for all of us if you trust me (or the nonsense you spout.)

  74. I recently finished working on an infographic that explores some devastating facts on the topic. While America makes up 5% of the world’s population, 25% of the world’s prisoners are Americans in America’s prisons! I thought I would share this with you in the hopes you might make some use of it. It’s certainly an important issue. Here’s the link:

    Best Wishes,
    Jack Kelle

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