Some blacks see a racial double standard in Kavanaugh case



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WASHINGTON — Marcus Dixon was sentenced to 10 years behind bars in Georgia for having sex with an underage white girl when he was 18. Dayonn Davis, another black youth, got a five-year prison sentence for stealing a $100 pair of shoes at gunpoint when he was 15.

It’s cases like those that minorities and others point to with frustration when they hear some of Brett Kavanaugh’s defenders say the sexual assault and underage-drinking accusations against the Supreme Court nominee fall under the category of “Boys will be boys.”

Some see a racial double standard at work, complaining that when young blacks get into trouble, their actions rarely are viewed as youthful folly in the way that the misdeeds of privileged whites are.

“I think there is a very distinct difference between the benefit of the doubt that is extended to black males and to white males,” said Jarvis DeBerry, columnist and deputy opinion editor of NOLA.com/Times Picayune.

Studies show young blacks are often perceived as older and less innocent than whites their age, a phenomenon some say translates all too often into African-American youths being demonized as “thugs,” arrested, incarcerated and sometimes killed.

Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, says a drunken Kavanaugh held her down, tried to take off her clothes and covered her mouth to muffle her screams when they were high school students in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has forcefully denied doing any such thing to anyone, and many supporters say they believe him.

Others have suggested that if it did happen, he might deserve a pass.

“Let’s say he did this exactly as she said. Should the fact that a 17-year-old, presumably very drunk kid did this, should this be disqualifying? That’s the question at the end of the day, isn’t it?” Bari Weiss, a New York Times opinion editor, said on MSNBC.

Minnesota state Sen. Scott Newman tweeted: “Even if true, teenagers!”

Some black commentators and others have recoiled at that line of argument, pointing to the killings of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot by a white Cleveland police officer in 2014 while carrying what turned out to be a pellet gun; Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old whose shooting by police that same year touched off violence in Ferguson, Missouri; and 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was gunned down in 2012 by a neighborhood watch volunteer while carrying iced tea and a bag of Skittles.

“The right wants Brett Kavanaugh to get another chance because, hey, he was just a teenager, but they also believe teenagers like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown got what they deserved,” author and critic Toure tweeted.

Opel Jones, a black Democrat running for the Howard County Council in Maryland, said that in the case of Martin, “you have the issue of the perception that this young man, he’s an adult, he’s bigger, he’s stronger, he’s such a savage, a beast, all the things that young black men especially get.”

“Wherein the public, some are excusing Brett Kavanaugh as ‘Oh, he’s young, he’s white, he was just having fun,'” Jones said. “I don’t want to use the term racist, but they kind of are.”

Dixon was accused by a 15-year-old classmate of raping her in 2003. Dixon’s attorneys argued that the sex was consensual and that the underage girl fabricated the rape story to avoid getting in trouble with her father. A jury acquitted him of rape but found him guilty of statutory rape and aggravated child molestation.

Dixon spent 15 months behind bars in Georgia before his 10-year sentence was thrown out.

As for Davis, the teenager sentenced in June for stealing a pair of Nikes in Georgia while an accomplice pulled a gun, he was prosecuted as an adult, even though his lawyer said he had no prior record.

Black boys as young as 10 are more likely to be mistaken as older, be perceived as guilty and face police violence if accused of a crime, according to an American Psychological Association report in 2014.

Adults likewise think that black girls are less innocent, are less in need of protection and nurturing, and seem older than white girls, according to a 2017 report from the Center on Poverty and Inequality at the Georgetown University Law Center.

Eileen M. Ahlen, assistant professor of criminal justice at Penn State University at Harrisburg, said it is not just young people who are treated differently.

Ahlen said research shows that there is disparate treatment at all stages of the justice system — who’s stopped, who’s arrested, who gets bail, who gets prosecuted, severity of sentence, who gets parole — with whites able to exit the criminal justice system earlier and with less impact than minorities.

Even when accounting for similar crimes, “generally, all else being equal, a person of color is going to receive a harsher sentence,” she said.


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11 Comments

  1. robert says

    Kinda weak comparing armed robbery and statuary rape with a single person with a foggy memory alleging “groping” in high school.
    this is just another “stir the pot” on white and black americans.
    You own the airwaves and the ink so continue trying to divide the only true “multicultural” country in the world
    Newsflash! there is a life after death. I would be greatly concerned. Both Jewish and Christian written law descibes penalty for unrighteous behavior. It is very bad….very, very bad… good news .both allow for repentance

    1. chris says

      I think you should read the article before making ridiculous statements. Might also recall there were three accusations (agreed not investigated or proven) against this man

  2. Cornfed says

    Sort of missing the ENTIRE POINT if you think boys will be boys…. He didn’t do it. You’d make more sense if you were mocking him for not trying!

  3. Doug R says

    Must be a slow weak to be playing the race card. Robbery with a gun? Statutory rape? Not even apples and oranges.

    1. Stella Beard says

      Typical liberals, they always have to play the race card. Example: I was sitting in a mall, had to take a break, health reasons, I one thing that I noticed was black on black hate comments. Worse if a white girl was with a black guy, they would make racial comments. Yes, there is still racial discrimination, but don’t blame white people only. This racial discrimination has gotten worse since the previous administration took office 10 years ago. These cases referred to above, are completely different from what’s going on today. Put yourself in judge Kavanaugh’s shoe and you know someone is falsely accusing you or a male relative, what would you do. Remember the Duke Lacrosse buys, or Bill Clinton.

  4. Flip S says

    Irresponsible article. Kavanaugh did nothing…..so where is the double standard? I mean if was guilty of something and got off, sure then. This is not the case. This mag is promoting ignorance and equating things that are not equal as if they were then pointing out some sort of unbalanced false reprisal in reality is not there. You should be informing people the facts so as different “groups” (which we all need to be one) would no there is no double standard here .How do you sleep as a race baiter?

    1. B Erned says

      Flip, What does Kavanaug did nothing mean? No point in me going further until I get clarification from you. Thanks (I threw in a couple typos so you’d feel better)

  5. Flip S says

    apologize for the typos and misspellings I should have read it

  6. Patrick Russell says

    Well, let’s see what the caption of a white teacher who has recently been sentenced for assaulting students says; “Teacher Gets 40 Years For Sexually Assaulting Students” Well, doesn’t seem like there’s any special treatment here. This article seems to be recycled “LEFT” thinking from someone who seems to have Republicanphobia, or Trumpaphobia.

  7. Viteye says

    Any woman accuses any man of groping 36 years ago, no witness at all. The DA will toss the complaint out the window. Color is not an issue, Sanity is. The only abuse was the Democratic party of Ms.Ford.

  8. Nancy Temple says

    We are alldifferent in how we understand and we had a much larger audience expressing an opinion. Statistically, I’m not sure what that should mean, but I know his chances of being found innocent must have been better. But no one excused Judge Kavanaugh for rape….but she didn’t accuse him of rape, and couldn’t even prove there was a party. According to her there were witnesses, but no one came forward. If you were black, you would have had to be found innocent as well. Do you remember Justice Clarence Thomas? Both of these cases were all about politics, not really a rape. or hair on a coke can. It’s about women lying for poltiical reasons and not agreeing with other women that lying about this crime, only hurts the real victims. Girl children have such a small chance of making it to adulthood without being molested, or raped, or kidnapped and killed. They are even molested by their own fathers and grandfathers and brothers. Women have a right to be able to do that. But we don’t want it at the expense of innocent people. It is NOT a political problem. That makes it a game that people don’t have to pay attention to or try to fix.

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