Sunday during the Democratic presidential debate on NBC, party front-runner Hillary Clinton was asked by co-moderator Lester Holt, anchor of NBC’s “Nightly News,” about the value of black lives.
Clinton pointed to incarceration rates of African-Americans and whites and questioned that if one of three white men were going to prison, would there be a different reaction.
“Sadly it’s reality,” Clinton said. “And it has been heartbreaking and incredibly outraging to see the constant stories of young men, like Walter Scott, as you said, who have been killed by police officers. There needs to be a concerted effort to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system. And that requires a very clear agenda for retraining police officers, looking at ways to end racial profiling, finding more ways to really bring the disparities that stalk our country into high relief. One out of three African-American men may well end up going to prison. That’s the statistic. I want people here to think what we would be doing if it was one out of three white men. And very often the black men are arrested, convicted and incarcerated for offenses that do not lead to the same results for white men. So we have a very serious problem that we can no longer ignore.”
Sanders also took a stab at Holt’s question, adding that the double standard applies to those incarcerated for drug crimes and some of the players on Wall Street accused of bringing down the American economy last decade.
“I agree with what the secretary said,” Sanders said. “We have a criminal justice system which is broken. Who in America are satisfied that we have more people in jail than any other country on earth, including China? Disproportionally African-American and Latino. Who is satisfied that 51 percent of African-American, young people are either unemployed or underemployed. Who is satisfied that millions of people have police records for possessing marijuana when the CEO’s of Wall Street companies who destroyed our economy have no police record.”
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