Denying Structural Racism: The Academic Incompetence of Ben Shapiro

 

Inner-City Black America is often frequently spoken about in the media by various political pundits. Black America is often made synonymous with crime, violence, and vice. 

Ben Shapiro is a political pundit and social commentator who constantly takes to the media to deny the fact that the United States is systematically racist. His Juris Doctorate degree from Harvard Law school, his ability to talk fast, and his motto of “facts don’t care about your feelings” give many the illusion that his commentaries are intellectually well-grounded.

 In reality, Ben Shapiro’s so-called arguments attempting to debunk the fact that America is systematically racist are saturated with both academic dishonesty and academic incompetence. 

In a video titled Ben Shapiro debunks Racial Discrimination Myth Within our Justice System,  Ben Shapiro is asked by a college student how he would explain the high amount of Black people in jail.

 Ben Shapiro responds “higher numbers of Black people committing crimes.” He denies the fact that systemic racism plays a factor. Rather, he explains “Every person who is in jail has had a trial or a plea.“ 

Ben Shapiro reveals his incompetence in being unable to delineate between prison and jail. Jail is where people who have been arrested are held prior to a trial. Usually, the arrested person in jail is required to pay bail in order to be released. Studies have found that judges exaggerate the dangerousness of black arrestees and set a higher bail amount for Black arrestees than similarly situated white arrestees.

  In 2009 Cornell School of Law published a study in Cornell Law Library entitled “Does Unconscious Racial Bias Affect Trial Judges” by Jeffrey J. Rachlinski found that white trial judges were impacted by racism. Judges set bail at amounts that were twenty-five percent higher for black defendants than for similarly situated white defendants.

 A 2017 study entitled “Racial Bias in Bail Decisions” conducted by David Arnold and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research titled Racial Bias in Bail Decision found that white defendants marginally released on bail were 9.7 percent more likely to be rearrested for a drug crime prior to case disposition than marginally released black defendants and 8.2% more likely to be rearrested for a violent crime prior to disposition than marginally released blacks.

The study further indicates that “even after accounting for differences in other observable characteristics by defendant race, bail judges appear to be directly racially biased against black defendants.” Furthermore, when taken together “these results are most consistent with bail judges relying on race-based heuristics that exaggerate the relative danger of releasing black defendants versus white defendants.” 

 A study titled  “Race and Wrongful Convictions in the United States” look at the National Registry of Exonerations and found that African-Americans are more likely to be wrongfully convicted for the crime of murder, sexual assault, and drug offenses than White people. 

The study also found that police perjury and police misconduct and perjury  played a more significant role in African-Americans who had been wrongfully convicted of crime than white people who had been wrongfully convicted of crime.  

   The 2004 study “The Relationship between Race, Ethnicity, and Sentencing Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis of Sentencing Research ” by Omarrh Mitchell and Doris MacKenzie analyzes prison sentences given to African-Americans.  The study took into account  “controlling factors” such as criminal history and the severity of the crime. The results showed that even when African-Americans and Whites have the same or similar criminal history and are being convicted for the same offenses, African-Americans are punished more severely than whites.    

An additional study from the United States Sentencing Commission found that Black men who commit the same crimes as white men receive federal prison sentences that are, on average, nearly 20 percent longer. The disparities were evident after researchers controlled for several sentencing factors, including age, education, citizenship, and prior criminal history.  

 Therefore, when data shows that Black people are more likely to be wrongfully convicted of crimes due to prosecutorial misconduct and police perjury and when the data shows Blacks who have been convicted of crimes are given harsher sentences than whites convicted of the same crimes(controlling for other sentencing factors) the notion that the disproportionate amount of Black people in prison can be explained by ‘blacks commit the most crime’ is wholly unsubstantiated. 
   

 

References

Race and Wrongful Convictions.  (7 March 2017) National Registry of Exonerations.,

Rachlinski, Jeffrey J.; Johnson, Sheri; Wistrich, Andrew J.; Guthrie, Chris (2009) Does Unconscious Racial Bias Affect Trial Judges? Cornell Law Library Scholarship@Cornell Law: A Digital Repository. Retrieved from  https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1691&context=facpub

 Arnold, David; Dobbie, Will; Yang, Crystal (May, 2017) Racial Bias in Bail Decisions. The National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieve from https://www.nber.org/papers/w23421

Mitchell, Omarrh; MacKenzie, Doris (December, 2004) The Relationship between Race, Ethnicity, and Sentencing Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis of Sentencing Research. U.S. Department of Justice. 

 Demographic Differences in Sentencing: An Update to the 2012 Booker Report. United States Sentencing Commission Retrieved from https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-publications/research-publications/2017/20171114_Demographics.pdf

 

 

 

 

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