ThinkProgress: Arguing on CNN Sunday Morning that the jury in the George Zimmerman case “made the right decision from their standpoint,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) dismissed any suggestion that America’s justice system is unfair to African-Americans or other people of color. In Perry’s words, “I think our justice system is color blind.”…The statistics are damning enough, but you might’ve notice that — while conservative pundits have been gleefully politicizing Trayvon Martin’s killing — Republicans have mostly managed to keep their big yaps shut about it. The reason is simple: Republicans are terrified of black voters. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be pushing all these voter suppression schemes designed to keep minority voters from voting booths.
Perry’s claim that race plays no role in our justice system simply cannot be squared with the data from his own state. The most distinguishing aspect of Texas’ criminal justice system is its penchant for the death penalty. Over one third of all U.S. executions take place in Rick Perry’s state. Moreover, over 40 percent Texas’ death row inmates are black (121 out of 300 total inmates), despite the fact that only about 12 percent of Texans are African American. So a black Texan is more than three times more likely to be sentenced to die than their representation in Texas as a whole would suggest.
Nor is Texas an anomaly in this regard. In Alabama, just six percent of murders involve black defendants and white victims, but but 60 percent of black death row inmates were convicted of killing a white person. In Colorado, African Americans make up four percent of the population and 100 percent of the death row. And, in North Carolina, prosecutors in capital cases are more than twice as likely to remove a nonwhite juror from a jury pool than to do the same to a white juror.
But those very efforts, combined with the open joy demonstrated when SCOTUS gutted the Voting Rights Act, were already encroaching on doing more harm than good. They’ve got this whole "missing white voter" plan going and it hinges on the idea that the size of the African-American vote drops when Barack Obama is no longer on the ballot. So they want to be really careful about riling up the voting block they’re currently counting on staying home.
Now, here comes the bottomlessly gaffe-prone Rick Perry to talk about Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, race, and the justice system. And his completely unhelpful take is that everything’s just fine and all these black people are getting all worked up over nothing. That we shouldn’t change a thing and this is the best possible outcome.
From local school board members seeking reelection to presidential hopefuls, just about every Republican with any sort of brain at all must want to strangle Rick Perry right now.