[Ed. – Perception vs. reality: Suffice it to say that if things were as bad as he imagines, he would be locked up right now.]
Over the past 15 months, Americans have paid considerably greater attention to issues of race and criminal justice. This attention will only intensify with the release of the CNN/Kaiser Family Foundation poll on racism in America. The poll’s findings not only spotlighted the racial perceptions of everyday Americans but also pointed to deeper and more intractable forms of racial inequality than we often like to acknowledge.
The poll found that 2 out of 10 blacks and Hispanics felt unfairly treated by the police over the past 30 days. This is virtually the same finding from the early 2000s where black Americans felt equally vulnerable to police misconduct (there is no data on what Hispanics would have said in 2000s). The poll also showed that 8 in 10 blacks and 2 in 3 Hispanics agree that the criminal justice system favors whites.
Given the racial inequality across the criminal justice system — from arrests to charging to sentencing to death penalty application — this is hardly surprising.