Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Racism and Incarceration in the U.S. and " Hate Crimes "


Jena 6-KKK

and in case you missed it here is a summary of the events in the Jena 6 case
Of White Trees, Black Boys, & Jena
by Mumia Abu-Jamal recorded 7/21/07 from Death Row

In previous posts I have been looking at racism in America and the struggle of Black people in America with regard to the life of Martin Luther King Jr. But the struggle did not end with the passing of Civil-Rights legislation in the 1960s. In deed the struggle did not end when slavery was finally abolished in America in 1865. African-Americans were told that they would thenceforward be treated as equals in America but this they soon found out was not the case. After slavery came Jim Crow and racial segregation . And with these came vigilantes in the guise of the Klan and the use of lynchings to enforce the laws and perverted values of the segregationists. Lynchings were considered lawful and continued as regular form of punishing black men and women who broke the Jim Crow laws or the unwritten code of the racist white majority especially in the South into the late 1960s. Over 5,000 lynchings took place during that time yet no one who participated in these murders were brought to justice.

And as mentioned in my last post the U.S. Senate had not just refused to pass legislation outlawing the practice of lynching for some eighty to a hundred years but in fact did everything it could to interfere with any attempts to pass such legislation. It was not until 2005 that the U.S. Senate finally apologized for its past behavior . But it was merely an apology and did not go so far as to bring charges against those who might still be alive for their participation in these lynchings. Nor did the Senate agree to some form of reparations for the families of the victims or to the black communities from which the victims came. It was all merely symbolic as a way to ease the consciences of these law makers .

But even now Black Americans do not receive equality before the law. The U.S. Justice system appears to treat Blacks differently than it does white Americans. Black Americans are much more likely to harassed by the police being stopped either on foot or in their cars just because they are black . Blacks are more likely to be victims of police brutality. Black Americans are more likely to be incarcerated for their alleged crimes than are White Americans for their alleged crimes.In the case of murder a Black man is much more likely to receive a harsher sentence including capital punishment than is a White Male for a similar crime.

Status of bill C-250/2004-APR-29 :
Race and US Prison Statistics

Summary findings US Department of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Statistics

Summary findings

On December 31, 2006 —

– 2,258,983 prisoners were held in Federal or State prisons or in local jails – an increase of 2.9% from yearend 2005, less than the average annual growth of 3.4% since yearend 1995.
– 1,502,179 sentenced prisoners were under State or Federal jurisdiction.
– there were an estimated 501 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents – up from 411 at yearend 1995.
– the number of women under the jurisdiction of State or Federal prison authorities increased 4.5% from yearend 2005, reaching 112,498, and the number of men rose 2.7%, totaling 1,458,363.

At yearend 2006 there were 3,042 black male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 black males in the United States, compared to 1,261 Hispanic male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 Hispanic males and 487 white male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 white males.
Links to full size graphic and data
In 2004 there were an estimated 633,700 State prisoners serving time for a violent offense. State prisons also held an estimated 265,600 property offenders and 249,400 drug offenders

Human Rights Watch US Punishment and Prejudice

The disproportionate representation of black Americans in the U.S. criminal justice system is well documented.17 Blacks comprise 13 percent of the national population, but 30 percent of people arrested, 41 percent of people in jail,18 and 49 percent of those in prison.19 Nine percent of all black adults are under some form of correctional supervision (in jail or prison, on probation or parole), compared to two percent of white adults. 20 One in three black men between the ages of 20 and 29 was either in jail or prison, or on parole or probation in 1995.21 One in ten black men in their twenties and early thirties is in prison or jail. 22 Thirteen percent of the black adult male population has lost the right to vote because of felony disenfranchisement laws.23

Admissions to Prison
and the war crimes continue on the part of Israel maybe its because our expectaations are somewhat higher that those for other countries . Israel is the Jewish state created by those who knew 2000 years of humiliating and unjust , brutal and deadly antisemitism which led to Auschwitz . So maybe it is unfair to Israel to treat it as if it were a separate case from other countries we have Musharraf in Palestine and Olmert in Israel and a George Bush in Washington how are they really that different

Racial disparities in incarceration increased in the 1980s and 1990s as the number of blacks sent to prison grew at a faster rate than the number of whites. 24 Between 1979 and 1990, the number of blacks as a percentage of all persons admitted to state and federal prisons increased from 39 to 53 percent.25 Although the admissions for both races, in absolute numbers, rose sharply, the increase was greatest for blacks (Figure 1).

Human Rights Watch has been able to analyze state prison admissions based on raw data on 37 states gathered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice through its National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP) for 1996, the most recent year for which this data is available. In 17 of these states, blacks constituted more than half of all prison admissions (Table 2). Maryland had the highest percentage of black admissions, 79 percent, followed by Illinois with 74 percent, Louisiana with 73 percent, and New Jersey with 72 percent.
Canada has always had high incarceration rates compared to those of other countries. To
some extent, this is due to variations in the age of majority among countries and different
classifications of prison sentences. However, simply put, Canada relies heavily on
prisons, and we incarcerate at a rate of 130 of every 100,000 adult and juvenile
Canadians (Canada, Solicitor General Canada, Corrections Population Growth,

It should be noted that the United States still outdoes Canada by having four times as many people incarcerated that is 529 out of 100,000 to Canada's 130 of every 100,000.

The other matter which I mentioned earlier is that of " Hate Crimes ". So today I wish to add just a couple of comments . Hate Crimes for instance include threats and intimidation and statements to the effect of calling for violent actions against particular groups especially minorities such as African-Americans or other persons of color or religious groups such as Jews or Catholics etc. Hate Crimes also include for instance; the burning of a cross, or the hanging of " nooses " as in the Jena 6 case, or displaying other symbols such as Swastikas on a Black person's property or adjacent to it or on school property , or in the town square or outside a church attended by Black Americans as a means of terrorizing Black individuals or the Black community as a whole.These symbols such as a burning cross are considered to be a form of speech and communication and what such a symbol says is quite obvious to the community as a whole.

Anyway I was discussing the difference between the laws against Hate Crimes in the United States compared to Canada and other countries.

So here is an outline of The Hate Crimes Law in Canada as it now stands:

Religious ,Hate speech in Canada:Sven Robinson's private member's bill C-250

The bill was given royal assent by the Queen's representative in Canada on 2004-APR-29. It took immediate effect. It is now part of the legal code of Canada. Some propaganda directing hatred against persons of any sexual orientation, heterosexuals, homosexuals and/or bisexuals, is now a crime in Canada. Sexual orientation has now joined four other groups protected against hate speech on the basis of their "color, race, religion or ethnic origin." 1 However, a "not withstanding" type clause allows hate speech if it is religiously motivated. In essence, the law states that the freedom of one person to express religiously-motivated hatred is given higher priority that the freedom of another person to be free of hatred expressed against them.

The Criminal Code of Canada: Hate Propaganda:

Before 2004-APR-29, the "Hate Propaganda" section of the Criminal Code of Canada (Section 318 & 319) prohibited the expression of hatred against -- or the advocacy of genocide of -- four "identifiable groups:" people distinguished by their "color, race, religion or ethnic origin." 1 Curiously enough, sex, disability, and other criteria are not included. Apparently one can deliver a speech that "willfully promotes hatred" -- even one which "advocates or promotes genocide" -- against women or the disabled and enjoy immunity of prosecution under the law. Hatred against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation was not protected either. An individual could promote hatred or even advocate genocide against heterosexuals, bisexuals, or homosexuals with impunity, as long as the speech was directed at persons with a specific sexual orientation. Bill C-250 changed this when it was signed into law.

Who can be convicted under Section 319?

Section 318 deals with genocide. Section 319 deals with hate speech:

1. If it can be shown that the speech was so abusive that it was likely to incite listeners or readers into violent action against an identifiable group, and if the the speech was made in a public place, then a person could be convicted.
2. If the speech promoted hatred against an identifiable group, but was not likely to incite a listener to violence, then a person could still be convicted. However there are many safeguards that could give that person immunity. A person could not be convicted if:
The hate speech was expressed during a private conversation.
If the person can establish that the statements made are true.
If, "in good faith, he expressed or attempted to establish by argument an opinion on a religious subject." This would give clergypersons immunity from conviction for a hate-based sermon, for example.
If the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, and if, on reasonable grounds, the person believed them to be true. This would give additional protection for the clergy.
If he described material that might generate feelings of hatred for an identifiable group "for the purpose of removal" of that hatred.
If the provincial Attorney General refused to give permission. The Attorney General's consent is required before charges can be laid.. 1

In this section of the Code, the term "statements" includes spoken words, written words, published text, gestures, signs and other visible representations.

Though this is a fairly good law it is more than likely that it is no used as much as it should be. The law also applies to the internet in Canada so you will not find nearly as many websites set up various Hate groups which use the hateful and sickening sort of language on them in comparison to U.S. Hate Groups on the American internet as it were.Even a number of European Hate Groups to get around the Hate Crimes laws governing the internet in their respective countries have set up sites through U.S. servers which can be viewed around the world . This is one of the negative side to the Internet that such Hate Groups are able to use this incredible tool to spread their venom and hatred .

and so it goes,

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