Racism

Radley Balko and Rafael Mangual Debate Systemic Racism

The Washington Post's Radley Balko vs. The Manhattan Institute's Rafael Mangual on whether or not "there is overwhelming evidence that the criminal justice system is racist."

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There is overwhelming evidence that the criminal justice system is racist.

That was the resolution of an online Soho Forum debate held on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. It featured The Washington Post's Radley Balko and the Manhattan Institute's Rafael Mangual. The debate was moderated by Soho Forum Director Gene Epstein.

Arguing that America's criminal justice system is, in fact, racist was Radley Balko, an opinion writer for The Washington Post. A former editor at Reason, Balko is also the author of Rise of the Warrior Cop and co-author of The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist.

Defending America's criminal justice against the charge of racism was Rafael Mangual, the deputy director of legal policy at the Manhattan Insitute, who is also a contributing editor for City Journal. Mangual's writing has appeared in The Wall Street JournalThe Atlantic, the New York Post, the Boston Herald, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Soho Forum, sponsored by the Reason Foundation, is a monthly debate series at the SubCulture Theater in Manhattan's East Village.

Update: Voting on this debate ended on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, at noon EST. Radley Balko won by convincing 21.62 percent of the audience to change their minds. Rafael Mangual convinced 10.81 percent.

Produced by John Osterhoudt.

NEXT: Glenn Loury on Police Abuse, Systematic Racism, and Hysteria

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  1. At first I was going to compliment the person who found someone willing to advocate publicly for bigoted authoritarianism in today’s America, but then I remembered all of the right-wing think tanks.

    1. I’m sure you wanted the spot for yourself, but unfortunately no one has ever heard of you.

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      2. The Reverend of the Religion of Hate and Prejudice speaketh! His way is the truth and if you degree you are called bigoted and authoritarian. TROLL.

    2. “willing to advocate publicly for bigoted authoritarianism”

      There are plenty of them.
      They’re rioting in the streets, tearing statues down, dedicating bills to George Kirby, and writing for Reason

      1. This is just the beginning. George Floyd was the Archduke Ferdinand of the 20th century. The civil war has begun. The progs started it.

        Time to fight back while there is still an America left to defend.

    3. Ah, the Good Rev’s classic 3 step program. Ignore the arguments, don’t try to rebut, engage in ad hominems. You really are a horrible person.

    4. And that someone was neither you nor Kamala Harris.

      http://groups.google.com/d/msg/soc.culture.israel/k4OvsDOxGlM/gdo8uXL1BQAJ

      “Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine
      who can carry a concealed weapon,” said Kamala Harris, who was then the
      California Attorney General.

      I have always wondered how #BlackLivesMatter would view this. After all,
      according to their narrative, cops are just Klansmen with badges who
      habitually gun down unarmed black men. How could we trust such people with
      discretion to determine who may carry a concealed weapon?

      And yet, just yesterday, she tweeted this:

      Today, we remember #MikeBrown and recommit to ensuring truth,
      transparency, and trust in our criminal justice system. #BlackLivesMatter

      So I wonder if any reporter from the network broadcast and print media would
      ask her any of the following questions:

      – If the reason that “[l]ocal law enforcement must be able to use their
      discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon” is because they
      are just Klansmen with badges, why shouldn’t the Stormfront White
      Nationalist Community also get to decide who can carry a concealed weapon?

      – If the reason that “[l]ocal law enforcement must be able to use their
      discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon” is because they
      habitually gun down unarmed black men, why shouldn’t the Crips also get to
      decide who can carry a concealed weapon?

      – Is more black men dead or in prison a worthy price to pay to make lawful
      gun ownership more difficult?

      – Is making lawful gun ownership more difficult a worthy price to pay to put
      more black men in prison?

      – Does some magical guardian fairy turn these Klansmen with badges into
      freedom riders whenever they exercise their “discretion to determine who can
      carry a concealed weapon”?

    5. “right-wing think tanks” ended slavery. You’ve been very misguided.

    6. Did you also remember that it was Daddy Obama and Serial Rapist Bill Clinton who contributed most to building that police system you decry?

  2. Why are we still pretending that this is about race? The people screeching the loudest about it don’t believe it, they just want you to bend over backwards for them out of a fear of being called racist. Then they can more easily push their real agenda. The whole debate is bullshit.

    1. I’m willing to at least entertain the possibility, but then the case needs to be made that any remedy wouldn’t also apply if the justice system weren’t racist. It is unclear what the charge of racism brings to the discussion, to what degree, and the application to the entirety of the justice system.

      I mean on the one hand, you have the admission of Lee Atwater in the formation of policy, nevermind the entirety of the Southern Strategy. On the other hand, you have to account for other factors, much like the claims of misogyny by feminist, which while sexism is present, is largely overstated, at least in the present.

      Taken at face value, the charge of racism doesn’t suppose any policies to reduce the instances of racism, and in fact may introduce more racism when sculpting policy where race is a predominate consideration. That, by definition, is a racist policy.

      1. Um…you do know Lee Atwater, from long ago, was speaking sarcastically in that speech, right?
        Here’s the part leftists always omit “And subconsciously maybe that is part of it, I’m not saying it.”
        What Atwater did say, repeatedly and unambiguously, is that racial prejudice no longer plays a significant role in Southern elections, and that Reagan won the South in 1980 on the same issues with which he swept the rest of the country: the economy and national defense. It requires a great deal of dishonesty to twist Atwater’s words into the exact opposite of what he actually said.

    2. Maybe you should actually listen to the debate first.

    3. You can make a good case for the system being racist, but only if you admit that it is numbers which make it so, not bigotry.

      There are roughly five times as many whites as blacks. Assuming a generally random distribution of workers and bosses, any boss is 5 times more likely to be white than black, thus anything a boss says, such as calling you names, insulting you, denigrating your intelligence and skills, etc, is easy to perceive as being racist.

      Ditto for cops, politicians, whatever.

      That makes the system inherently racist, if you want to push that agenda. But it’s pretty damned silly yo get worked up over it.

      I know people who, in an argument, try to rattle the other guy by insulting him. Heck, lots of commenters here do that, eh? If the opponent is hard to rattle, the insults can escalate into racist taunts, but that does not make the taunter racist. Same as calling someone a Hitler, a pervert, anything — it shows the taunter’s facts or presentation are not working, and it’s time to pound the table.

      There are real racists: white, black, brown, red, yellow supremicists. But I bet 99% of the people yelling racist insults are not really racists, they just don’t have very good arguments and cut to the chase with insults.

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  3. did one of them offer “the concept is fucking stupid”?

    1. They’d have my vote.

  4. “Systematic racism?”
    You mean like racial quotas in hiring, college acceptance, etc.?

    1. It’s not systemic racism when it screws Whitey. Or Asians.

      1. Racism is screaming racial epithets out of a speeding car.

        Systemic racism is denying a permit to carry a handgun, because of the applicant’s race.

  5. Racism is screaming racial epithets out of a speeding car.

    Systemic racism is denying a permit to carry a handgun, because of the applicant’s race.

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  7. Balko’s argument: the system was set up in the Jim Crow Era; the Jim Crow Era was racist; therefore, the system is racist. The fact that he can’t point to a single thing about *the system* that is designed to create racist outcomes shows how tenuous his argument is.

    1. The real,outcomes they seek are Marxist outcomes.

  8. “Systemic racism” is hard to disprove, since no individual action can counter anything “systemic.” It should equally hard to prove. “Police forces were set up in the segregation era to enforce segregation.” Okay, presumably *one* of the goals of police forces was to enforce segregation, although that also requires some proof — I would especially expect it to differ significantly regionally. One might expect that the primary goal of police forces was, rather, to enforce the law. Now, every other aspect of segregation has long since disappeared. What *specifically* about the way the system was set up makes it inherently racist? You can’t just assert that it was set up during segregation, ergo it was racist, ergo it’s still racist. Since proponents don’t require anyone actually to be racist in the police system, there has to be something about how policing is done that makes it racist, and it’s hard to see what that thing would be, and especially how (and why) it would exist in every police department in the country.

    1. It’s a bullshit premise designed to cow whites into rolling over for a Marxist agenda.

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  10. Kinda odd how many former writers here tend to buy, wholesale, into the progressive orthodoxy du jour.

    If one didn’t know better, one might think libertarians are just progs who don’t want to pay for their policies.

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  12. To me I would like to see factual evidence that:

    1. Life: Are police/govt forces taking the life of more blacks as a % of blacks in the total population and reasons why
    2. Liberty: Are police arresting/imprisioning blacks at a higher rate as a % of blacks in the total population than whites for the same offensives
    3. Property: See above

    Let’s see the evidence to see the size of the problem and if so then based on facts craft solutions

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