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Systemic Racism? Make Them Prove It.


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National Review

Progressives say racism is everywhere in the criminal-justice system, but they don’t provide many specifics.

Andrew C. McCarthy

September 19, 2020

I  worked in the criminal-justice system for a quarter century. It is run, day-to-day, by the crème de la crème of graduates from America’s top law schools. Those institutions wear their progressive bona fides on their sleeves and proclaim it for all the world to hear.

In their offhand rhetoric — insouciant, because they know their bien pensant allies in politics and media will never call them on it — legal elites will tell you that the administration of justice in America is systemically racist. But they are the system. The judges, the top prosecutors, the defense bar, the experts who craft the sentencing guidelines and the standards of confinement — overwhelmingly, they are political progressives.

That’s fine. I’m a lawyer from New York City. I’ve not only lived in and around this world for decades, I have affection for lots of its denizens. Most of them are proud of being on the left. I don’t agree with them politically, but the routine handling of criminal cases is not political. It is clinical: professionals doing the best they can.

And that’s just the point: They do the best they can. That is the antithesis of racism.


Still, the legal elites will insist there is systemic racism. There must be, even though no one can put a finger on where it happened, because the outcomes the system produces are not “equal” — equality being a utopia in which the racial composition of those arrested, convicted and sentenced aligns perfectly with the proportion of that race in the overall population, as if all racial and ethnic groups committed crimes at exactly the same rates.

Nor is the problem confined to the justice system. Racism “happens in our residence halls and in our classrooms, at the tables of our dining halls and in our locker rooms, on our sidewalks, within the offices where we work, and in our town.” So maintains Middlebury College president Laurie Patton. Among the doyens of higher education, Patton is the rule, not the exception, in spreading this gospel across the campus. With characteristic clarity, Heather Mac Donald rolled off example after example in a recent City Journal essay. It is not just the administrators, the battalions of diversity coordinators, and the social scientists. According to academics, “structural racism” even “pervades” mathematics, geology, astronomy, you name it — to the point, Mac Donald observes, that the journal Nature claims “the mission of science should be to ‘amplify marginalized voices’ in atonement for science’s complicity in ‘systemic racism.’”

Okay, if they say so . . . but where are the concrete examples?


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