A recent study released by the Crime and Delinquency journal claiming that 50 percent of Black men in the United States have been arrested by the age of 23 caused an online storm as conversations about Stop-and-Frisk and racial profiling escalated into contentious debates.
[The study] analyzed data from 1997 through 2008, the study found that 30 percent of Black men have experienced at least one arrest by age 18, while 22 percent of White males that age have been arrested.
The number rose to 49 percent of Black men by age 23, with White males coming in at 38 percent.
The rates shift when analyzing White and Black females: At age 18, 12 percent of White females have experienced arrest. That number was 11.9 percent for Black females and 11.8 for Hispanic females. By age 23, 20 percent of White females, 18 percent of Hispanic females, and 16 percent of Black females have been incarcerated.
While the numbers are disturbing, Dr. Ivory Toldson, associate professor at Howard University School of Education, senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Negro Education, dismisses the study as nothing but a collection of reckless soundbites — and he has the research to prove it:
Toldson writes for The Root:
Although the study is new, the data are old. The study also contributes nothing new to our collective understanding about race and the law. The study used self-reported data on a group of black males that would not quite fill a gymnasium, when direct data from court records are available. We have legitimate issues related to sentencing disparities and school-based arrest, but this study and the ensuing articles are nothing more than stunts, designed to create sound bites for culture critics, caricatures of young black men and fodder for popular discourse (or righteous indignation).
The research team have no ethnic or gender diversity, yet they attempt to address complex relationships between race, gender and the likelihood of being arrested during childhood and young adulthood. The study handles provocative findings in a manner that is glib and disconnected and rehashes trite themes without offering any meaningful solutions.
Of the findings, the authors suggest, “Future research should focus on the identification and management of collateral risks that often accompany arrest experiences.” If they consider this “future research,” they are dreadfully late to the conversation.