Friday, February 22, 2013

Black Male Defendants Are 30 Percent More Likely To Be Imprisoned Than White Defendants For The Same Crime

by Inimai Chettiar

Economists and law professors at Harvard, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania have published a new study that confirms what reformers have been saying for decades: the criminal justice system is racially biased. The study is a huge step toward unveiling and ending the racial disparities that still persist in the United States.

Those of us seeking to end mass incarceration know it is the New Jim Crow. With more black men under the control of corrections departments than were enslaved on the eve of the Civil War, mass incarceration is the biggest civil rights issue of our time.

We’ve presented data pleading for reform to remove the chokehold of poverty-to-prison from our communities: people of color make up 30 percent of the United States’ population, but account for 60 percent of those in prison; black defendants receive longer prison sentence than white defendants; black Americans are far more likely to be arrested than white people. The statistics go on.

But many lawmakers, skeptics, and those who just don’t get it (or don’t want to) argue that these disparities occur because white people are inherently somehow more law abiding than people of color, or that white people commit less serious crimes. The underlying premise is that since the law doesn’t mention race, the justice system isn’t racially discriminatory.

Think again. This seminal study has now “demonstrated conclusively for the first time that racial bias affects judicial sentencing decisions.” The researchers used a rigorous statistical method that not only controlled for other variables but also controlled for “un-observables” (that may correlate with race), and conducted the study on a statistically significant sample size in Cook County, Illinois.

They found that “judges take race into account in their sentencing decisions” and that “the magnitude of this effect is substantial.” Judges punish criminal defendants differently based on their race – and only their race. Specifically, judges are far more likely to sentence black defendants to prison than white defendants.

The researchers divided judges into categories based on level of race bias. To make these results concrete, they compare two examples. There are two identically situated defendants, who differ only by race – one black and one white. If they are sentenced by a judge who is among the least affected by racial bias (meaning in one of the best case scenarios), the black defendant is still 30% more likely to end up in prison. If they are sentenced by judge who is among the most affected by racial bias (one of the worst case scenarios), the black defendant is almost twice as likely to end up in prison.

Racial bias is at work in almost all courtrooms – and in all parts of the criminal justice system. This study drives home how that is happening, its unfairness, and why we urgently need reform.

New Report: Black Men Get 20 Percent Longer Prison Sentences

by Herbert Dyer, Jr.

A new report released by the U.S. Sentencing Commission has put some solid numbers to the long-held suspicion, belief, understanding, and now objective fact that African-American men are routinely given longer prison sentences than white men for the same crimes.

According to the report, black men found guilty between December 2007 and September 2011 received sentences that were at least19.5 percent longer than white men found guilty for similar crimes.

Assistant law professor Lahny Rose Silva of Indiana University’s School of Law says that most objective observers agree with the Commission’s finding, but that it is simply impossible to actually prove racial bias in sentencing on the part of the judges. “How do you prove racial bias without an individual coming out and blatantly saying ‘I‘m using race as a factor in sentencing?” Silva asks. “You just don‘t do it.”

Silva further stated that it is a simple historical fact that black men have largely received longer sentences than white men and that although the report may be useful for “research” purposes, it reveals nothing out of the ordinary for the goings-on in this nation-state’s “criminal justice” system's practices and procedures.

However, the report does indicate that the racial divide in sentencing has widened since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2005. It was then that the court struck down a 1984 law requiring judges to follow sentencing guidelines for each particular crime.

Thus, in only two short years, by 2007, sentences for black men, on average, clocked in at 15.2 percent longer than those for white men. The one saving grace here, Silva says, is that even though the sentencing guidelines are no longer mandatory, they are still generally used by most judges, especially federal judges.

According to Silva, the overall numbers, however, may not necessarily reflect racial bias on the part of judges. Rather, the disparity in sentencing can more likely be conflated with the much heavier policing in “urban” areas and/or the more frequent and therefore more likely -- prosecution of African-American men.


Professor Silva’s last point about “heavier” policing and prosecution, though, reveals the racist bent of the justice system even moreso than the sentencing numbers. What that means, and what she overlooks, is that black men are targeted by both police and prosecutors.

Some years ago, the Chicago Tribune broke a story that rocked the entire state. It seems not a small number of white Cook County prosecutors played a little game with each other that went like this: Each day, before black defendants were hauled before a judge, they were ordered to step onto a scale. At the end of the day, the prosecutors tallied up the numbers, and the one who had convicted the most number of blacks-by-the-pound won a free dinner at a fancy downtown hotel. They called the game "N****rs-By-The-Pound."

For thirty years as a paralegal, I often handled cases in Cook County’s (Chicago) criminal courts building. On any given day, the vast majority, upwards of ninety percent of criminal defendants being prosecuted there were (and remain) black or brown men, with a smattering of women (almost no white women), and a negligible number of “others.”

The sometimes block-long lines of “brothers” shackled hand and foot and to each other, shuffling through the building under the watchful eyes of “corrections officers,” looked like nothing other than those 19th century daguerreotype photographs of black slaves being led to the cotton, cane or tobacco fields – or, to the auction block.

And so, again, this “new” report from the government is really not new or “news” at all.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Many Black Men Driven Away Because of Female Emotional Baggage

by Kenray Sunyaru

As Black men too many of us are bombarded daily by Black women and other race females trumpeting that Black men are no good – “Niggas aint shit,” that Black men are nothing but ‘sperm-donors’. I hear single Black women constantly say they are just waiting for the right Black man to come around, this statement implies the woman is always right and all her previous relationships didn’t work out because of Black men who were all wrong! 

Unfortunately due to majority female-headed households, Black women dominate the discourse on Black male/female relationships in our communities resulting in a slanted and one-sided perspective that is verbally promoted, perpetuated, and propagandized by white male supremacy media into the accepted by default 'Black men are no good’ mantra. What this mantra-hype overshadows is the issue of so many Black women and other race females who are filled with emotional baggage; who are emotionally disturbed and abusive which drives Black men to leave out of these relationships. 

What must be noted is that the emotional baggage and disturbance of both Black women and men in most cases is the underlying 'emotional distress of racism' that objectively undermines the subjective relationships between Black men and women. With this noted, the following is an article by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, “10 Signs Your Girlfriend or Wife is an Emotional Bully,“ that exposes emotionally unstable and abusive women: 

Does your girlfriend or wife yell, scream, and swear at you? Do you feel like you can’t talk to anyone about your relationship because they just wouldn’t understand? Is your relationship making you feel like you’re slowly going crazy? If so, you’re probably involved with a woman who is an emotionally abusive bully. Most men don’t want to admit that they’re in an abusive relationship. They describe the relationship and their girlfriend/wife using other terms like crazy, emotional, controlling, bossy, domineering, constant conflict, or volatile. If you use words like this to describe your relationship, odds are you’re being emotionally abused.

Do you recognize any of the following behaviors?

1) Bullying. If she doesn’t get her way, there’s hell to pay. She wants to control you and resorts to emotional intimidation to do it. She uses verbal assaults and threats in order to get you to do what she wants. It makes her feel powerful to make you feel bad. People with a Narcissistic personality are often bullies.
Result: You lose your self-respect and feel outnumbered, sad, and alone. You develop a case of Stockholm Syndrome in which you identify with the aggressor and actually defend her behavior to others.

2) Unreasonable expectations. No matter how hard you try and how much you give, it’s never enough. She expects you to drop whatever you’re doing and attend to her needs. No matter the inconvenience, she comes first. She has an endless list of demands that no one mere mortal could ever fulfill. Common complaints include: You’re not romantic enough, you don’t spend enough time with me, you’re not sensitive enough, you’re not smart enough to figure out my needs, you’re not making enough money, you’re not FILL IN THE BLANK enough. Basically, you’re not enough, because there’s no pleasing this woman. No one will ever be enough for her, so don’t take it to heart.
Result: You’re constantly criticized because you’re not able to meet her needs and experience a sense of  learned helplessness.. You feel powerless and defeated because she puts you in no-win situations.

3) Verbal attacks.This is self-explanatory. She employs schoolyard name calling, pathologizing (e.g., armed with a superficial knowledge of psychology she uses diagnostic terms like labile, paranoid, narcissistic, etc. for a 50-cent version of name calling), criticizing, threatening, screaming, yelling, swearing, sarcasm, humiliation, exaggerating your flaws, and making fun of you in front of others, including your children and other people she’s not intimidated by. Verbal assault is another form of bullying, and bullies only act like this in front of those whom they don’t fear or people who let them get away with their bad behavior.
Result: Your self-confidence and sense of self-worth all but disappear. You may even begin to believe the horrible things she says to you.

4) Gaslighting. “I didn’t do that. I didn’t say that. I don’t know what you’re talking about. It wasn’t that bad. You’re imagining things. Stop making things up.” If the woman you’re involved with is prone to Borderline or Narcissistic rage episodes, in which she spirals into outer orbit, she may very well not remember things she’s said and done. However, don’t doubt your perception and memory of events. They happened and they are that bad.
Result: Her gaslighting behavior may cause you to doubt your own sanity. It’s crazy-making behavior that leaves you feeling confused, bewildered, and helpless.

5) Unpredictable responses. Round and round and round she goes. Where she’ll stop, nobody knows. She reacts differently to you on different days or at different times. For example, on Monday, it’s ok for you to Blackberry work email in front of her. On Wednesday, the same behavior is “disrespectful, insensitive, you don’t love me, you’re a self-important jerk, you’re a workaholic.” By Friday, it could be okay for you to Blackberry again. Telling you one day that something’s alright and the next day that it’s not is emotionally abusive behavior. It’s like walking through a landmine in which the mines shift location.
Result: You’re constantly on edge, walking on eggshells, and waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is a trauma response. You’re being traumatized by her behavior. Because you can’t predict her responses, you become hyper-vigilant to any change in her mood or potential outburst, which leaves you in a perpetual state of anxiety and possibly fear. It’s a healthy sign to be afraid of this behavior. It’s scary. Don’t feel ashamed to admit it.

6) Constant Chaos. She’s addicted to conflict. She gets a charge from the adrenaline and drama. She may deliberately start arguments and conflict as a way to avoid intimacy, to avoid being called on her bullshit, to avoid feeling inferior or, bewilderingly, as an attempt to avoid being abandoned. She may also pick fights to keep you engaged or as a way to get you to react to her with hostility, so that she can accuse you of being abusive and she can play the victim. This maneuver is a defense mechanism called projective identification.
Result: You become emotionally punch drunk. You’re left feeling dazed and confused, not knowing which end is up. This is highly stressful because it also requires you to be hypervigilant and in a constant state of defense for incoming attacks.

7) Emotional Blackmail. She threatens to abandon you, to end the relationship, or give you the cold shoulder if you don’t play by her rules. She plays on your fears, vulnerabilities, weaknesses, shame, values, sympathy, compassion, and other “buttons” to control you and get what she wants.
Result: You feel manipulated, used, and controlled.

8 Rejection. She ignores you, won’t look at you when you’re in the same room, gives you the cold shoulder, withholds affection, withholds sex, declines or puts down your ideas, invitations, suggestions, and pushes you away when you try to be close. After she pushes you as hard and as far away as she can, she’ll try to be affectionate with you. You’re still hurting from her previous rebuff or attack and don’t respond. Then she accuses you of being cold and rejecting, which she’ll use as an excuse to push you away again in the future.
Result: You feel undesirable, unwanted, and unlovable. You believe no one else would want you and cling to this abusive woman, grateful for whatever scraps of infrequent affection she shows you.

9) Withholding affection and sex. This is another form of rejection and emotional blackmail. It’s not just about sex, it’s about withholding physical, psychological, and emotional nurturing. It includes a lack of interest in what’s important to you–your job, family, friends, hobbies, activities–and being uninvolved, emotionally detached or shut down with you.
Result: You have a transactional relationship in which you have to perform tasks, buy her things, “be nice to her,” or give into her demands in order to receive love and affection from her. You don’t feel loved and appreciated for who you are, but for what you do for her or buy her.

10) Isolating. She demands or acts in ways that cause you to distance yourself from your family, friends, or anyone that would be concerned for your well-being or a source of support. This typically involves verbally trashing your friends and family, being overtly hostile to your family and friends, or acting out and starting arguments in front of others to make it as unpleasant as possible for them to be around the two of you.
Result: This makes you completely dependent upon her. She takes away your outside sources of support and/or controls the amount of interaction you have with them. You’re left feeling trapped and alone, afraid to tell anyone what really goes on in your relationship because you don’t think they’ll believe you.

You don’t have to accept emotional abuse in your relationship. You can get help or you can end it. Most emotionally abusive women don’t want help. They don’t think they need it. They are the professional victims, bullies, narcissists, and borderlines. They’re abusive personality types and don’t know any other way to act in relationships.Life is too short to spend one more second in this kind of relationship. If your partner won’t admit she has a problem and agree to get help, real help, then it’s in your best interest to get support, get out, and stay out.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

For Black Men Slavery and Freedom is Still Based on Direction

By Kenray Sunyaru

As a Black man I’ve learned the importance of direction in my own self-determination. Historically, direction has been critical for Black men and Black people. Being enslaved in America primarily in the South for 246 years, southern America was the directional location of slavery and northern America – North was the so-called direction of freedom.

For Blacks enslaved in the South going in the direction toward freedom in the North was illegal. Even when Blacks escaped to the North they could be re-enslaved by the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Historically in America up until this day white male supremacy has been very influential in controlling our direction thus determining our destinies.

Too often in life too many Black men are headed in the wrong direction due to miseducation, racist media stereotype propaganda, social engineering, and socioeconomic deprivation’ that leads them to dependency, debt, destitution, detention, defeat, and death!!!!!

Regarding the racist media stereotype propaganda directional influence Carter G. Woodson the founder of Negro History Week now Black History Month stated: “If you can control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.”

Every day as a Black man you should question the education and media images you've received and ask yourself what direction are you headed in? You have to ask yourself are you ‘inner’ directed or ‘outer’ directed? Do I have a moral compass and positive goals that dictate my directional choices? Do I have self-direction in my life?

It is critical as a Black man to ask these directional questions because your direction determines your destination – your destiny! Still today for Black men in America slavery and freedom is about direction!