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Do Disproportionate Crime Rates Mean Racist Laws?

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African-Americans make up 40 percent of the nation’s prison inmates, but only 13 percent of the overall population. Does this mean the laws that sentenced these prisoners are all racist, and need to be repealed? Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul seems to think so.

 

In his announcement of candidacy, when describing his vision for America, Senator Paul declared: “I see an America where criminal justice is applied equally and any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed.” This statement is part of Rand Paul’s admirable effort to recruit people of color to the GOP, but does he mean what he’s saying? Blacks are three times more likely to be imprisoned for murder than white people, so would Senator Paul repeal all murder laws? This idea takes focus away from dealing with the deeper problems that lead the African-American community to suffer so intensely from crime—not only as perpetrators, but as victims.

 

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