With the fervor of a left-wing ideologue, Hillary Clinton accused America’s police of racism in a speech today to the NAACP, saying that “We need to recognize our privilege,” and end the “systemic racism” that exists in the criminal justice system.
Clinton falsely argued that racism pervades police shootings, saying, “let’s admit it, there is clear evidence that African-Americans are disproportionately killed in police incidents compared to any other group.” Most police shooting victims are white, but it is true that 26% of those shot by police in 2015 were black, compared to 13% of the population. But that higher rate simply reflects the higher crime rate in the black community, and the fact that black suspects are disproportionately likely to pose a risk to police. As the Daily Wire notes, “Blacks are more likely to kill cops than be killed by cops. This is according to FBI data, which also found that 40 percent of cop killers are black.” Moreover, a “police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black than a cop killing an unarmed black person.” This is backed up even by a recent study by a liberal-leaning black Harvard economics professor, Roland G. Fryer. That study, “‘analyzing more than 1,000 officer-involved shootings across the country, reports that there is zero evidence of racial bias in police shootings.”
Indeed, as the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald notes in the Wall Street Journal, a “‘deadly force’ lab study at Washington State University by researcher Lois James found that participants were biased in favor of black suspects, over white or Hispanic ones, in simulated threat scenarios. The research, published in 2014 in the Journal of Experimental Criminology, confirmed what Ms. James had found previously in studying active police officers, military personnel and the general public.” Nor are white officers more likely to shoot blacks than black and Hispanic officers are. As Mac Donald notes, “In 2015 a Justice Department analysis of the Philadelphia Police Department found that white police officers were less likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed black suspects.” And the risk of violent crime comes disproportionately from blacks. More than half of all murders in America are committed by blacks, who are just 13% of the population. (See FBI, “2014 Uniform Crime Reports: Crime in the United States,” Table 43A, Arrests by Race, 2014.)
Clinton also accused the police of racism in stops and searches, saying that “African-American men are far more likely to be stopped and searched by police.” But as a black lawyer and member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Peter Kirsanow, noted in 2015, the fact that a higher percentage of blacks are stopped by police than whites does not show racial discrimination, since “several studies over the last 20 years (including data adduced before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights) show that black drivers commit various types of traffic offenses – including speeding, driving under suspension, DUI, and running red lights and stop signs – more often than drivers of other races.” While there are individual cases of cops racially-profiling black motorists, most police do not engage in such racial profiling, and the fact that a higher percentage of black motorists are stopped reflects a higher black crime rate, not racial profiling.
Clinton also falsely insinuated that racist school officials were colluding with racist police to put black students in jail, saying that we must “dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline that starts in school and diverts too many African-American kids out of school and into the criminal justice system.” This reflects a misconception, widespread on the Left, that there is institutional racism in school suspensions, which supposedly results in blacks being suspended at a higher rate even though blacks allegedly do not behave worse on average than whites.
In reality, school officials are not racist against black students: There is no such bias against black students in school suspensions, and black students’ higher suspension rates just reflect higher rates of misbehavior among black students, not a mythical “school-to-prison pipeline.”
As Katherine Kersten wrote months ago in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, black students’
discipline rate is higher than other students’ because, on average, they misbehave more. In fact, a major 2014 study in the Journal of Criminal Justice found that the racial gap in suspensions is “completely accounted for by a measure of the prior problem behavior of the student.” That problem behavior can manifest itself in other ways. Nationally, for example, young black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at 10 times the rate of white and Hispanics of the same ages combined.
You can find that 2014 study, by the University of Cincinnati’s John Paul Wright and four other researchers, at this link. (It is entitled “Prior problem behavior accounts for the racial gap in school suspensions,” and is found in the Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 42, issue 3, pages 257-266, May-June 2014). But many progressives refuse to accept this reality. They believe the false notion, at odds with state and Justice Department juvenile delinquency statistics, that student misconduct rates do not differ by race, when they in fact differ profoundly.
Based on this fallacy, the Justice and Education Departments have pressured school districts to adopt veiled racial quotas in school suspensions. As the Daily Caller noted in 2014, “an appeals court ruled in People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education (1997) that schools cannot use racial quotas in discipline, striking down a rule that forbade a ‘school district to refer a higher percentage of minority students than of white students for discipline.’ Ignoring that ruling, the Obama administration has pressured school districts such as Oakland and Palm Beach County into imposing veiled racial quotas.” Hillary Clinton has called for Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights to crack down on school districts that discipline higher percentages of black students, and has advocated further increasing OCR’s budget to increase its muscle over school districts.
In her speech to the NAACP, Clinton also falsely implied that “mass incarceration” was the product of racism, even though high black incarceration rates just reflect the high black crime rate. Never mind that black victims themselves tend to identify their attackers as black. As City Journal has noted, “the race of criminals reported by crime victims matches arrest data. As long ago as 1978, a study of robbery and aggravated assault in eight cities found parity between the race of assailants in victim identifications and in arrests—a finding replicated many times since, across a range of crimes. No one has ever come up with a plausible argument as to why crime victims would be biased in their reports.”
This is not the first time Hillary Clinton has falsely claimed that there is “‘systemic racism’ in police departments” fueling “mass incarceration,” since she has made such claims both before and after the murder of the five police officers in Dallas.