WASHINGTON — Several Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) agreed Thursday that racism is behind African Americans serving prison sentences at a disproportionate rate, but none of them thought systemic sexism was a factor in men being over 90 percent of federal prisoners.
The disparity between men and women is much larger then the one between whites and blacks when it comes to criminal justice. In 2011, black people in America were 2.5 times more likely to be stopped on the street by the police than white folk. That same year, men were 8.3 times to face a street stop then women.
Likewise, the disparity between men and women serving sentences in state and federal penitentiaries was much larger than it was for black people and white people in 2011. That year, African Americans were 5.8 times more likely than whites to be in a federal or state prison and men were 15.8 times more likely to be those same prisons than women.
The Daily Caller spoke to five Democratic CBC members who believed that a racist system was to blame for the disparity between whites and blacks in the justice system. When asked about how sexism could then play a role in that same system, they gave various different answers. None agreed with the premise that “systemic sexism” could be at play.
Congressional Black Caucus chairman Rep. G.K. Butterfield said, “I’m not going to say that men commit crimes at a higher frequency then women because I don’t know that to be true. I don’t really know the answer to it.”
Two other lawmakers — Texas Democratic Rep. Marc Veasey and Mississippi Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson — refused to entertain the question. New York Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel and Washington, D.C Democratic Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton believed that men and women had distinct differences leading to the different crime statistics.
“Men and women aren’t comparable groups to compare when it comes to crime,” Norton told TheDC. She described differences between men and women as being “old as the millennia.”
Rangel was more direct and suggested men are genetically predisposed to violence.
“Men generally, which has nothing to do with racism, have a tendency to be disorderly more than women, that goes without saying. There’s more goddamn [male] prizefighters than women,” Rangel said. He added, “Men are built differently, men play football, they’re boxers, they do things that require strength, they’re more disorderly, they get into more trouble.”