Race Matters

I just heard an interesting report on NPR on the racial aspects of the rioting and looting and what’s going on may not be as simple as the white-black narrative we’ve been hearing. Apparently, in some parts of Baltimore stores owned by Asians are being especially targeted.

That parallels what happened in the 1960s except that 50 years ago it was stores owned by Jews that were being targeted. After the destruction the Jews moved out, leaving empty storefronts or hollow shells. Don’t be surprised if the Asians do the same thing.

As far as the police are concerned I strongly suspect it’s not a white-black issue but a black-blue one.

6 comments… add one
  • ... Link

    Echoes of the LA riots in those reports.

  • PD Shaw Link

    Death while in police custody is a much more studied issue than topics like police shootings. Since 2000, local officials have had to report to the feds,so we have data:

    Most people who die in the local jail are white. In 2012, 554 whites died in a local jail; 272 blacks and 100 Hispanic/Latinos. White mortality rates are higher as well. From 2000 to 2012, the annual mortality rate per 100,000 jail inmates was 198 for whites; 106 for blacks; and 83 for Hispanic/Latinos.

    Causes. 52% of all jail deaths were illness-related, with heart attacks the most common. White mortality rates are highest for all illnesses, except HIV-related. Suicide is the next most common (30%), and white mortality rates for it were at least three times non-whites. Drug and alcohol intoxication is next (7%), and white mortality rates are twice any other group.

    Jails that have 2,500 inmates per day have by far the highest mortality rates.


  • ... Link

    Heard claims that gang-members were standing guard over some stores in the riots. That was interesting. I’m betting they weren’t standing guard for Asian-owned shops or national chains, if the reports are even true.

  • PD Shaw Link

    I start from the prior assumption that most of the tragedies that occur from police arrests are related to the victim’s condition: the person is either mentally-ill, or seriously impaired by drugs or alcohol. The relatively low cause of death from intoxication doesn’t dissuade me that drugs/alcohol are not a primary factor. Who is in a jail cell at 1 in the morning? It appears that many subsequent investigations find pre-existing health conditions, like enlarged hearts. That may be the police looking for excuses, but I don’t see how one could be surprised that people arrested are more likely to have poorer health or health care.

    I suspect many of the victims were acting obnoxious, so law enforcement will tend to tune out complaints that signal the onset of a health issue. Since death is more likely the larger the jail, individual watch may not happen.

  • PD Shaw Link

    Ellipses: I was thinking of Rodney King as well as Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” where the Italian restaurant was trashed after Lee threw a chair through the window.

  • I’m betting they weren’t standing guard for Asian-owned shops or national chains, if the reports are even true.

    The NPR report I mentioned above claimed that gangs were blocking looters from some stores saying “That’s black-owned—don’t touch it” while allowing looting to take place in the Asian owned store next door.

Leave a Comment