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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Washington Post defends appallingly racist column

Huffington Post: The Washington Post is defending the publication of a column Tuesday that argues George Zimmerman was justified in being suspicious of Trayvon Martin on the night he stalked and killed the unarmed teenager because Martin was wearing a hoodie -– a “uniform we all recognize," according to the column.

“I’m tired of politicians and others who have donned hoodies in solidarity with Martin and who essentially suggest that, for recognizing the reality of urban crime in the United States, I am a racist,” wrote longtime Post columnist Richard Cohen. “The hoodie blinds them as much as it did Zimmerman.”

Politico later asked Cohen about the hoodie “uniform" that he described Martin as wearing the night he was killed.

"It’s what’s worn by a whole lot of thugs," Cohen said. “Look in the newspapers, online or on television: you see a lot of guys in the mugshots wearing hoodies."
That this argument is nearly logically identical to the “women in short skirts are begging to be raped" argument is apparently lost on both Cohen and the Post. But the underlying argument is far worse — that Zimmerman was justifiably suspicious of a young black male, simply because he was a young black male.

Where is the politician who will own up to the painful complexity of the problem and acknowledge the widespread fear of crime committed by young black males? This does not mean that raw racism has disappeared, and some judgments are not the product of invidious stereotyping. It does mean, though, that the public knows young black males commit a disproportionate amount of crime. In New York City, blacks make up a quarter of the population, yet they represent 78 percent of all shooting suspects — almost all of them young men. We know them from the nightly news.
You wonder if Cohen has ever heard the term “driving while black" or knows that 50% of the people who are subjected to NYPD’s “stop and frisk" policy are black, despite that demo making up only 10% of the population. Black people don’t commit more crimes than white people, black criminals are just caught more often because black people are heavily over-policed. Inversely, if police didn’t stop black people, few black people would ever be arrested and whites would make up the bulk of arrested criminals — but it wouldn’t mean that whites were suddenly committing more crimes. And if whites intereacted with police as often as blacks, the percentages would be pretty much equal.

But that’s math, math is a science, and science is of the devil.

Cohen’s column is as inexcusably racist as it is logically nonsensical. Not only should it be pulled, but Cohen should be fired. It’s the 21st century, not the 19th.

[photo via Wikimedia Commons]

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