The Wall Street Journal, in an article titled "Crime Persists As Grim Challenge For Black Men," presents data that calls into question the opposition to Stop and Frisk. There is something to be said about this data, and how it underscores the point that the African American community are the principal beneficiaries of the policy.
African Americans have made great strides during the 50 years since Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. The Wall Street Journal mentions some of them in its piece. They include the following:
- Since the 1963 march, blacks have been doing much better educationally: 86% of African Americans have a high school diploma versus 92% of whites; 21% of African Americans have Bachelor Degrees, four times more than 50 years ago, versus 34% of whites. However, some would quibble with these numbers by pointing out that urban education statistics are misleading and overestimate the learned skills of students with high school credentials, many of whom are black.
- More jobs have been made available to African Americans because of equal-opportunity employment and affirmative action. Yet, blacks have the highest unemployment in the country.
- Blacks still lag behind in life expectancy, but the gap is narrowing.
Still, the major problem facing the African American community is crime. Even though overall homicides in the U.S. have been decreasing, the number of black homicides specifically has increased. African Americans make up 14% of the population, yet they account for more than half of the homicide victims.
Over the last 50 years, incarcerations of African Americans increased significantly. In 1960, 1,313 blacks out of 100,000 blacks were incarcerated, according to Pew Research. In 2010, the number rose to 4,347. The corresponding numbers for whites were 262 and 678, respectively.
President Barack Obama has chimed in as well. He said, “[over 50 years] The anguish of assassinations set off self-defeating riots. Legitimate grievances against police brutality tipped into excuse-making for criminal behavior.”
If 50% of homicide victims are African Americans, why would black leaders object to Stop and Frisk policies? Their children would be the principle beneficiaries of weapons confiscation that could have preempted another murder. And, the paranoia among young troublemakers could very well decrease their propensity to carry illegal weapons.
I am not questioning the legal or constitutional issues relating to this form of police activity. Rather, I am questioning the blowback from the group that will benefit the most from it.