RNC Speaker Said Cops Would Be ‘Smart’ To Racially Profile Her Own Son
A top speaker at the Republican National Convention this week said in a video in June that police would be “smart” to racially profile her biracial son, because “statistically, my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons.”
- Vice News reported that “Abby Johnson, a prominent anti-abortion activist,” made the remark “in a 15-plus-minutes video posted to YouTube in late June, after weeks of nationwide protests against the police killing of George Floyd.”
- “I recognize that I’m gonna have to have a different conversation with Jude than I do with my brown-haired little Irish, very, very pale-skinned, white sons, as they grow up,” she said.
- Vice noted that Johnson’s husband blogged about adopting their biracial son at his birth in 2015. Vice also noted that Johnson is white.
- “Right now, Jude is an adorable, perpetually tan-looking little brown boy,” she said in the video. “But one day, he’s going to grow up and he’s going to be a tall, probably sort of large, intimidating-looking-maybe brown man. And my other boys are probably gonna look like nerdy white guys.”
- It does not make Johnson angry that one of her sons might be viewed as a greater threat by police based solely on the color of his skin, she said, because “statistically” he is.
“Statistically, I look at our prison population and I see that there is a disproportionately high number of African-American males in our prison population for crimes, particularly for violent crimes. So statistically, when a police officer sees a brown man like my Jude walking down the road — as opposed to my white nerdy kids, my white nerdy men walking down the road — because of the statistics that he knows in his head, that these police officers know in their head, they’re going to know that statistically my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons.”
“So the fact that in his head, he would be more careful around my brown son than my white son, that doesn’t actually make me angry. That makes that police officer smart, because of statistics.”
- However, “Johnson went on to clarify that she would be angry if a police officer treated her ‘brown son violently, more violently than my white son.’”
- Vice observed that Johnson is correct in her assertion that there is a disproportionate number of Black men in prison. “While they make up about 13% of the U.S. male population, they comprise about 35% of incarcerated men, according to a 2018 report from the Vera Institute of Justice, which seeks to solve mass incarceration,” the outlet wrote.
But that’s not simply because Black men are more likely to commit violent crimes, as Johnson suggested. In fact, in 2011, just 6% of arrests of Black men were for violent crimes, according to a 2014 analysis of FBI data by the Brookings Institute.
Instead, study after study has uncovered deep racial biases and disparities throughout the U.S. criminal justice system, from individuals’ first interactions with police and continuing through sentencing. That 2018 Vera Institute report uses drug crimes to illustrate this inequality. Although Black people comprise 15% of adult drug users in the United States, 27% of people who are arrested for drug possession and distribution are Black. That number only rises when it comes to sentencing: In state court, 33% of people sentenced for drug-related crimes are Black; in federal court, 38% are.
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