Prison sentences of black men are 20% longer than those of white men who commit the same crimes, and the gap is WIDENING.
Killings of black people by white people are more likely to be found legally justified than killings of white people by black people.
Stand Your Ground laws lead to increased homicides.
Stand Your Ground laws worsen racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
These laws are an embarrassment to our country. The evidence is overwhelming that Stand Your Ground laws lead to more murders and worsen systemic racial discrimination.
This is about 10 degrees passed out of hand. Growing up as the only Black family in my neighborhood, I was scared all the time—as I know my mother was. I have loads of White friends who saw police as great protectors on their side, while I have always felt more endangered when they were around. They have guns, legally, and the justice system will have no problem justifying their murder of someone who looks suspicious—and in America, all Black people are considered suspicious-looking.
My mother was careful to warn us growing up, “If things get crazy at a party, you have to leave,” because if a problem escalates, we would be the ones taking the fall for it. Even today, living in New York, I become overwhelmed by the prospect of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and being convicted of something simply because I was Black in the wrong place.
I worry about the future—about bringing children into this world who will be hunted for increasingly “justifiable” reasons like listening to music in their car, or walking home from a bodega.
John Green is right. This is a shame. This is an embarrassment for this country—and until we face the fact that Black life has been deemed irrelevant or worth-less-than in this country we are doomed to have more and more of these tragic cases.
We have to do better.