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Your Opinion: Remove 'racial discrimination' blinders

Your Opinion: Remove 'racial discrimination' blinders

June 11th, 2018 by Bert Dirschell, Centertown in Opinion

Dear Editor:

Will we ever be able to accurately address our societal problems if we must always wear "racial discrimination" blinders? A recent article in the News Tribune was titled "Missouri report: Blacks 85 percent more likely to be stopped."

I accept the statistic that blacks are stopped more frequently than whites. Rather than only considering that racist police officers are the major cause for the disparity, should we not at least consider that blacks may commit more traffic offenses? I find it abhorrent that anyone would consider that the color of a person's skin at birth dictates their propensity for criminal behavior, but at the same time I recognize that socioeconomic environment does have an impact on behavior.

Missouri's average violent crime rate (crimes per 100,000 residents) for 2012-14 was 443. Forteen percent of Missourians were below the poverty level. Eighty-two percent of Missourians are white while 11 percent are black.

For some Missouri cities the violent crime rate/poverty data is: Sikeston 2,025/22.0 percent; St. Louis 1,683/26.7 percent; Kansas City 1,262/18.3 percent; Branson 1,221/20.9 percent; Jennings 1,168/24.7 percent and Springfield 1,113/25.9 percent. For Jefferson City the rate/percentage is 457/15.7 percent and for Columbia it is 381/23.6 percent.

The poverty levels in Branson (84 percent white) and Springfield (85 percent white) seem to indicate that the poverty crime link may be as important as the race/crime link, but race/crime statistics can't be discounted. I could not find violent crime rates broken down by race, but I did find data on the Department of Justice website for murder offenders. For 2013 there were 10.2 black murder offenders for every 100,000 blacks, while only 1.4 white murder offenders for every 100,000 whites. If blacks are 7.3 times more likely than whites to commit murder it seems reasonable to assume they commit other crimes at a higher rate.

We must take off the "racial discrimination" blinders if we are ever to make progress in race relations.