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Last week, The Washington Post published a study of the police shootings that took place in 2015. Likely they intended the story to be shocking — as on Dec. 24, 965 people were killed by police! Instead, the report quells the notion that trigger-happy cops are out hunting for civilian victims, especially African-Americans. Among its key findings:
•White cops shooting unarmed black men accounted for less than 4% of fatal police shootings.
•In three-quarters of the incidents, cops were either under attack themselves or defending civilians. In other words, doing their jobs.
•The majority of those killed were brandishing weapons, suicidal or mentally troubled or bolted when ordered to surrender.
•Nearly a third of police shootings resulted from car chases that began with a minor traffic stop.
The moral of this story is: Don’t point a gun at the cops and don’t run when they tell you stop, and you’re likely to survive. Since the population of the US is about 318 million people, a thousand deaths at the hands of police works out to 1 in 318,000. You have a better chance of being killed in a violent storm (1 in 68,000) or slipping in the tub (1 in 11,500) than being shot by a cop, no matter what color you are.
Robert . Sampson and Janet L. Lauritsen Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Crime and Criminal Justice in the United States ABSTRACT Although racial discrimination emerges some of the time at some stages of criminal justice processing-such as juvenile justice-there is little evidence that racial disparities result from systematic, overt bias. Discrimination appears to be indirect, stemming from the amplification of initial disadvantages over time, along with the social construction of "moral panics" and associated political responses. The "drug war" of the 1980s and 1990s exacerbated the disproportionate representation of blacks in state and federal prisons. Race and ethnic disparities in violent offending and victimization are pronounced and long-standing. Blacks, and to a lesser extent Hispanics, suffer much higher rates of robbery and homicide victimization than do whites. Homicide is the leading cause of death among young black males and females. These differences result in part from social forces that ecologically concentrate race with poverty and other social dislocations. Useful research would emphasize multilevel (contextual) designs, the idea of "cumulative disadvantage" over the life course, the need for multiracial conceptualizations, and comparative, cross-national designs. Research on race and crime has become a growth industry in the United States. For much of this century, studies have poured forth on racial differences in delinquency, crime, victimization, and, most of all, criminal justice processing. To take but one example, racial differences in sentencing have captured the attention of numerous journal articles, RobertJ. Sampson is professor of sociology at the University of Chicago and research fellow at the American Bar Foundation. Janet L. Lauritsen is associate professor of crim- inology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. We thank John Laub, Michael Tonry, and participants in the 1994 Race, Ethnicity, and Criminal Justice conference in Oxford for helpful comments on an earlier draft. ? 1997 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved. 0192-3234/97/0021-0005$01.00 311 312 Robert J. Sampson and Janet L. Lauritsen books, meta-analyses, and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences (among others, see reviews in Kleck 1981; Hagan and Bumiller 1983; Petersilia 1985). The volume of research has not gone hand in hand with dispassion- ate scholarly debate. The topic of race and crime still rankles, fueling ideologically charged discussions over competing schools of thought such as discrimination versus differential involvement, cultures of vio- lence versus structural inequality, and empiricism versus critical the- ory. Some argue that bringing empirical data to bear on the race and crime question is itself evidence of racism (MacLean and Milovanovic 1990). It is thus not surprising that, despite the abundance of empirical data, many criminologists are loathe to speak openly on race and crime for fear of being misunderstood or labeled a racist. This situation is not unique, for until recently scholars of urban poverty also con- sciously avoided forthright discussion of race and social problems in the inner city lest they be accused of blaming the victim (see Wilson 1987, pp. 3-19; Sampson and Wilson 1995). What, then, does one make of the charge to assess the current state of knowledge on racial-ethnic disparities and discrimination in the jus- tice systems of the United States and of the sources of knowledge from which such conclusions can be drawn? The sheer volume of research makes a review of empirical studies impossible in one essay, and the political climate suggests a no-win substantive outcome as well. In ad- dition, many important questions remain unanswered either because we lack the necessary data or because results are conflicting across al- ternative forms of measurement. Recognizing these perils, we none- theless tackle the topic of race, ethnicity, and crime in the United States by focusing on four general questions: What are the key empiri- cal findings on race, ethnicity, and crime? What are the most promis- ing theoretical explanations? What are the major limitations of both research and theory? and Where do we go from here? Rather than try to review all individual studies, we close in on the "big picture"-that is, the one painted by robust findings that hold up across disparate investigators, forms of data collection, and analytical methods. But empirical generalizations only take us so far (we have yet to hear data speak), so the second question becomes crucial-what the- oretical and substantive interpretations can we place on the empirical data? Of course, both the answers to this question and the empirical backdrop of data are subject to numerous pitfalls, and hence question three prompts an inquiry into the limitations of extant knowledge. United States 313 Consideration of limitations leads naturally to the final question of fu- ture research designs. In probing this issue, we focus on how knowl- edge might be advanced by using a comparative, international perspec- tive with collaborative research designs. Our essay addresses these questions in the following way. We start with a discussion of general contextual issues relevant to the United States. For background purposes, Section I describes the racial and ethnic makeup of the U.S. population and the American criminal jus- tice system. Sections II-VI subdivide the empirical morass of U.S. data into several interrelated domains. Section II discusses race, ethnic- ity, and criminal victimization (who becomes victimized by crime?), whereas Section III overviews the literature on race, ethnicity, and criminal offending (who commits criminal acts?). The findings pre- sented in these two sections represent the dominant tradition in crimi- nology, which seeks to distinguish individual offenders from non- offenders and victims from nonvictims. Section IV discusses the community structure of race, ethnicity, and crime in the United States, namely, what are the characteristics of communities that contribute to rates of crime for different race and ethnic groups? The findings from the community literature are compared with evidence on individual differences in criminal involvement, and critical problems in interpre- tation are discussed.1 Section V summarizes the findings on racial dis- parities in the U.S. criminal justice system (e.g., who gets convicted and imprisoned?), and Section VI reviews the various approaches for understanding differential treatment. Finally, Section VII presents our interpretations of the literature on race, crime, and criminal justice and discusses what we believe are the important implications for future re- search. Before we begin, it is important to qualify our use of the terms "race" and "ethnicity." In the United States, the term "race" tradi- tionally refers to skin pigmentation or color, whereas ethnicity refers to the countries from which a person's ancestors can be traced. For various historical and social reasons, definitions of race in the United States have referred mainly to categories that are allegedly mutually exclusive-(a) white, (b) black, (c) American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut, and (d) Asian or Pacific Islander. The American conception of eth- Our review of the empirical evidence on racial differences in victimization and of- fending, and our theoretical arguments regarding communities, race, and crime, are drawn in large part from two previous papers-Sampson and Lauritsen (1994) and Sampson and Wilson (1995). Robert J. Sampson and Janet L. Lauritsen nicity differs from that of race in that it is usually reported by subjects themselves (as opposed to visual identification), and it may consist of as many categories as one believes necessary to indicate his or her heri- tage. Clearly, however, there are ongoing scholarly and political de- bates that challenge the definitions and usefulness of these terms in U.S. society. For example, it has been argued that the American con- ception of race is arbitrary insofar as there is no single set of traits that satisfactorily distinguish one group from another. Biological research reminds us that race definitions are socially constructed and reflect the concerns and preoccupations of a particular society (e.g., Hawkins 1995; Marks 1995). Simple classification attempts rooted in biological analogies are also invalidated because many individuals are of mixed races. Furthermore, we sympathize with those who argue that by high- lighting race differences in crime and criminal justice sanctioning, such work has the potential to exacerbate problems of institutional racism and stereotyping in the United States. Yet to acknowledge these points does not undermine the salience of race or ethnicity, however socially constructed, in a given society. There are profound race and ethnic differences in the representation of citizens in the U.S. criminal justice system. It seems to us that knowledge about the origins and consequences of these discrepancies is preferable to ignorance-even as we acknowledge that observed dif- ferences between groups are not due to inherent differences in physical traits. We would add that while definitions and records of race and ethnicity differ across countries, the social conception of race has valid- ity and reliability within the United States. We are less certain of the validity of the term "ethnicity" since social agreement as to whether someone is, for example, Hispanic or of some other ethnic heritage is likely to be much lower. For our purposes, then, the definition of race imposed by administrative and political structures is an important sub- ject of study in its own right, but it should not be a significant source of error when making cross-group comparisons. The interpretation of ethnic differences (much less available in the data) requires more cau- tion. Other data limitations, not relevant to definitional issues, are dis- cussed when appropriate.
originally posted by: DMC71
a reply to: Revolution9
''I already anticipate the kind of response here on ATS, so I will not be looking at this thread as I will get too upset. Just letting you know.''
Well why bother starting the thread then?
I am sure you will be back to see how many stars you get but.
Now run off to your ''safe space''.