African-Americans are not soft on crime

Two narratives that differ in most respects nonetheless converge in spreading the myth that African-Americans are soft on crime. The New Jim Crow analysis, common on the left, maintains that law and order policies regarding drugs, guns and crime generally were ramped up from the 1970s – 2000s over the strong objections of African-American voters and politicians. The second narrative, common on the right, is that African-Americans protest police brutality while hypocritically turning a blind eye to Black-on-Black crime.

Neither narrative can stand up to an inconvenient fact: For at least the past 40 years and up to the present day, most African-Americans think the criminal justice system is not tough enough. If you want to learn more about what the evidence in this area really shows, see my latest piece in Washington Post Wonkblog.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College Lonon. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over ten thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.