The Colin Kaepernick-inspired protest movement has caused attention to be paid to what Slate calls social “striking racial disparities at nearly every level” in the criminal justice system.”
The disparities begin with the fact that a disproportionate amount of Africans are arrested and imprisoned. An arrest on Monday in Kansas City shows one very good reason, several reasons actually, why this may be so.
The fox4kc report notes that a 16-year old is being charged as an adult for a series of vehicle thefts. Why charge Michael Smith, who is black, as an adult? According to police, he and his newly-formed gang were responsible for “four violent vehicle thefts over the span of five days.”
In one of the cases, a “group of young men” assaulted and robbed a young woman, threw her violently on the ground, and stole her car. This robbery happened after midnight. Statistics suggest that not a single one of these young men had a father living at home able to corral his son’s behavior. A home without a father is a problem. A neighborhood without fathers is a potential war zone.
In another incident, the young men allegedly pulled a woman out of her car by her hair, took off with the car, and later abandoned it.
In a third incident, a cab driver drove two young men to 35th Street and Prospect Avenue where he was assaulted by “about eight other guys.” Without some major intervention, about 10 young black men may well be headed for a career behind bars.
If cab drivers discriminate against black men, one suspects they have had a similar experience. If the criminal justice system seems to be discriminating against these young men, it is because they are not just stealing cars. They are terrorizing their neighborhood.
These young men are likely part of what Smith calls the “Shmitty Street Gang.” When contacted by fox4kc, however, “Smith’s family” insisted Smith was innocent, that he had no gang, and–of course–that he “has been turning his life around.”
These kids are criminal justice statistics waiting to happen. At every step, from the home to the schools to local media to the NFL, there will be someone eager to reassure them that institutional racism or some such contrivance is responsible for their pointless lives behind bars.
That someone does these kids no favor.