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How can it be in a nation that elected Barack Obama that a third of young black men are controlled by the justice system, and black men are seven times likelier than white to be in prison? Michael Tonry demonstrates in lucid, accessible language that these patterns result primarily from drug and crime control policies that disproportionately affect black Americans. These policies in turn result from a lack of white empathy for black people and from racial stereotypes and resentments provoked partly by the Republican Southern Strategy of appealing to white voters through use of coded appeals to race. The white majority, Tonry observes, has a remarkable capacity to endure the suffering of disadvantaged black and, increasingly, Hispanic men. The criminal justice system is the latest in a series of devices, including slavery, Jim Crow, and legally countenanced discrimination, that have maintained white dominance over black people. Tonry pushes for overdue--and realistic--changes in racial profiling and sentencing, and to the War on Drugs, to reduce their staggering human and social costs.
Michael Tonry is Professor of Law and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota Law School, and Senior Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement at Free University in Amsterdam.
Table of Contents
A Continuing American Dilemma
Race, Bias, and Politics
Ideology, Moralism, and Government
Doing Less Harm
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