Conservatives’ Twisted, Racist Logic in the Trayvon Martin Case

. . . Zimmerman’s defenders marshal “data” and “statistics” proving that black men commit a “disproportionate” amount of crime in American society. . . .

In reality, matters are much more complicated. A surrender to a basic and fallacy laden argument that black people, and black young people in particular are uniquely and especially prone to violence, oversimplifies the nature of crime in America. As the old saying goes, “numbers lie and liars figure.” Or alternatively, the lazy recitation of statistics is a dumb person’s idea of how a smart person sounds. . . .

As compared to white neighborhoods, black and brown communities are also subject to more severe surveillance and aggressive police tactics. Moreover, the disproportionate number of minorities in the criminal justice system can be largely explained by the War on Drugs. In total, if white communities were subject to the same type of aggressive police tactics as black and brown communities, the number of white people in prison would skyrocket.

The data is very telling here.
 While people of color are the prime targets of such policies as “stop and frisk” and racial profiling, it is in fact white people who are far more likely to be both drug users and to be in possession of narcotics at a given moment. This reality signals to a larger social phenomenon: black individuals who commit crimes are representative of their whole communities, crime is racialized, and there is no qualifier of individual intent. All black people are deemed suspicious and guilty because of the deeds of the very few.

In contrast, white people who commit crimes are unique individuals: the criminals who destroyed the global economy, a group of white men, were not taken as representative of the entire white community. There is a long list of crimes such as domestic terrorism, serial murder, child rape, sedition, treason, and financial fraud that are almost exclusively the province of white people. But again, whites as a group are excluded from suspicion or indictment as a “criminal class.”

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PZ Myers: Irrational Humans

I really have a hard time wrapping my mind around the strategies of anti-choice activists. I’ve encountered a few, and I’ve browsed some of their websites, and am so unimpressed with their tactics . . . but they seem to work effectively with some people. . . .

The argument is never about whether some state is alive or not. Your appendix and tonsils are great masses of living cells, but if the organ becomes inflamed, doctors will cut them out and throw them away. Every time you poop, about a third of that mass that you excrete and flush away consists of living bacterial cells, yet no one hesitates and feels regret at the tragic loss of life when their hand is on the handle.

The argument is about whether that living thing is a person requiring extensive legal and moral protection, and it’s entirely clear that “life” is not a sufficient criterion, or people would be lobbying for the protection of turds and tonsils. We are not absolutists about protecting all life; we can’t be.

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