hippie punching and sentencing disparities
Wednesday, October 28 2020
This evening before Gretchen returned home, I began preparing a dinner of Trader Joe's gigli pasta with a chonky red sauce containing onions and tempeh. Gretchen came home before I'd finished, but it only took me about ten more minutes.
This evening, Kacey and Konca, the neighbors from the across the street, came over for hot chocolate and "blondies" (a kind of lighter-colored brownie) at the fire pit. Powerful was with us briefly but then had to join a Zoom call. While he was gone, Gretchen and I told our neighbors about the racial disparities we'd observed in sentencing in New York State. Powerful, for example, was locked up for 24.5 years after having beaten someone up at the age of 16 (a person his foster sister then doused in gasoline and set on fire, resulting in death). That's pretty typical for the sentence of an African American in New York State. By contrast, a white person we know was involved in a drug-related murder in which he cut the victim into pieces and dumped them in the Hudson River only served thirteen years in prison. This story led Konca to tell us a number of stories about hoodlums he'd known growing up as diplomat's son near the UN Building in Manhattan, though these were mostly stories of robberies and non-lethal knifings.
A conversation about politics led Konca to say that he knew lots of Black people who are considering voting for Trump because years of Democratic administrations have done little to help the Black community. He said that they're particularly upset about the passage of the 1994 Crime Bill, something Joe Biden and Bill Clinton supported fervently. When one considers how terrible Republicans have been to the Black community, just in terms of the judges they've installed, this seemed like an over-reaction. One also has to consider the politics of the 1990s, when Democrats thought they would never return to power unless they showed themselves to be "tough on crime" and "pro-military," a posturing I referred to as "hippie punching." (Kacey was unfamiliar with that term.) It's also important to note that less than ten percent of Black voters intend to vote for Trump, so this view Konca was describing is definitely an uncommon position. But then Powerful was done with is Zoom called and joined us at the fire pit, saying the same sorts of things while making excessive use of the word "dynamic" and confusing the terms "democratic" and "Democratic." Powerful doesn't really have enough interest in politics to shed much light on political topics, so I found this part of the conversation irritating, a situation made worse by the fact that I couldn't get a word in edgewise. So I eventually excused myself and went to bed, staying up for over an hour doing the usual things I do before falling asleep.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next