NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

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July 26, 2013

Zimmerman trial opens window onto unequal world

(Continued)

However, an abundance of statistical evidence related to crime suggests the contrary. For example, an American Civil Liberties Union study released in June showed that blacks in Indiana were about three times more likely than whites to be arrested on marijuana charges. This discrepancy exists despite evidence that the incidence of marijuana use among whites and blacks is roughly equal.

Why is that? Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the concept of “institutional racism,” which suggests that minorities are often victimized because they are treated unequally by key sectors of society — government, education and employment opportunities in particular. Perception also plays a key role, as was evidenced by President Obama’s discussion of racial profiling that he experienced as a young man.

The issue is thorny and deep-seated; and the protest of the Zimmerman verdict is not without justification. Maybe one day in a case like George Zimmerman’s, judgment will be passed and few will feel that racial prejudice swayed the verdict. That day, clearly, is a long way off.

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