Is There No One in the Middle?

Heather MacDonald writes about New York City's "stop and frisk" policing policy as if all cops are angels concerned only with saving black and Hispanic lives. She's responding, of course, to politicians who campaign as if all cops are incipient fascists concerned only with putting their jack boots on the jugular of minorities.

Neither caricature is true, of course. Many cops want to do a good job. Some are thugs. The tougher enforcement policies New York adopted a couple of decades ago have reduced crime; they have also made young, minority males understandably feel hassled and picked out because of their color.

Neither caricature is helpful. What is needed is people who want to sit down and explore, "How can we reduce the burden these policies place on young black and Hispanic males without sliding back to the high crime rates of the 1980s?"

But I don't have much hope that this will occur.


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