BLACK EDUCATION CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE NEWS

Voted the “Best Place to Live in America” But Statistics Show The City As Racially Bias

Written by Jae Jones

Police officers broke up a pool party in McKinney, Texas, after someone called complaining that kids had showed up to the party that were not supposed to be there. A video quickly surfaced of a police officer grabbing a young teenage girl by the hair and slamming her to the ground. The Dallas community was then forced to take a look at how the police department interact with people of color. Thousands of people showed up to protests and rally about the injustice of racial profiling.

However, now there is new information that has been obtained by a ThinkProgress investigation. The information shows the place that is considered “Best Place to Live in America” in 2014 is another example of widespread systematic racial bias. McKinney which was ranked the best place to live because of the diversity and economic opportunities must have not had day-to-day bias that African-Americans, Latinos, and women experience on a daily basis by Money Magazine.

Drivers of Color in Texas

The Department of Justice stepped in and conducted a deep investigation after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. The team looked at the city’s policing and municipal court practices. It was an attempt to determine if the civil rights of the majority of Black people had been violated. One primary problem was the scathing DOJ report was the failure of Ferguson’s Municipal Court to function as “neutral arbiter of the law,” instead using “…its judicial authority as the means to compel the payment of fines and fees that advance the city’s financial interest.” Unfair practices such as this violates the 14th Amendment, and also imposes unnecessary harm on Black Americans.

The situation in McKinney doesn’t rise to the extraordinary resource extraction and policing-for-profit scheme uncovered in Ferguson, most likely due to the above average economic success of most of its residents. But we did find an unequal application of the law when it came to the issuance of traffic tickets, arrest warrants and subsequent incarceration rates. The injustice also comes with another finding that out of 10,216 traffic tickets issued in McKinney between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2014 African Americans were ticketed at 4.77 percent above their population of 10.5 percent within the city, while whites were ticketed at 6.86 percent below. Another troubling factor was that Black Americans were most likely to be arrested once given a ticket.

President of the NAACP Dallas chapter, Arthur Fleming discovered a larger pattern in the McKinney disparities. Fleming told ThinkProgress that “the numbers lay bare the ruthlessness of the oppressive system put in place brick by brick for over 400 years.” The racial injustice moves so much further than McKinney. There are have recently been footage of traffic stocks in other parts of Texas that have gone horribly wrong. Footage recently showed 28-year-old Sandra Bland to the ground after she improperly signaled a lane change. She was allegedly found 3 days later hanging in her jail cell. Sandra Bland’s death has put a big spotlight on the frequency of false arrest of people of color during traffic stops. Before this traffic stop there was very little attention on the matter, and even if someone was told that this is what was going on, there would have been very little investigation into the matter.

It is a fact, and statistics prove it that Black drivers, are much more likely to be pulled over than white counterparts all over the country. A special report issued by the DOJ confirms just what has been expected all along by the African-American community traffic stops in McKinney is a larger part of a national trend. Black people and Latinos are often pulled over on offenses that their white counterparts get away with doing. White drivers are ticketed for visible offenses such as spending, while Blacks and Latinos are stopped for things that are not obvious. Black drivers and Latinos were more likely to get a ticket for not being able to show their driver’s license when pulled over.

Many people want to know why Black and Latinos are being pulled over at an alarming rate as opposed to the counterparts White Americans, and not just being pulled over but arrested as well. Dr. K. Russell Shekha, a sociology professor at Denison University reviewed the McKinney traffic data and chimed in about the results. “It all comes down to something called the “Minority Threat Theory.” The racial minority threat suggest dominate races, particularly Whites, perceive political, criminal and economic when the population of other races, especially Blacks grow in proportion. “This feeling of threat, especially the threat of crimes committed by other races, can lead to racist, targeted police practices to help the dominate race protect their social power. Practices include stopping, pulling, frisking, searching, detaining, and issuing citations to blacks and other racial minorities more often than whites despite white groups being larger.”

Gender Pay Gap and Racial Bias in Hiring

Although, minorities are facing difficult times at the hands of the law of McKinney, other minorities are being passed over for positions in the city where they might be able to shift the status quo.  The City of McKinney revealed how difficult it is for minorities to get jobs with what is supposed to be “America’s Best City.” Municipal employees have been separated into categories by race, and African-Americans are by far the most underrepresented group. They came in at 6.4 percent below the population of the city, while of course the White employees have well-established themselves and are highly represented at 16.3 percent.

The highest paid workers of course are 46 white, 2 Hispanics, and 2 Asian Pacific, not one person was African-American. African-Americans rank 3rd in hourly pay at $26.12. So, after looking further in depth into McKinney and it being “America’s Best Place to Live” Money Magazine was asked if it would reconsider the rankings for 2014, Diane Harris (Editor for Money Magazine) did respond by saying, “If we were made aware of a systematic pattern of bias, whether it applied to gender, ethnicity, or race, we would have not named the town best place to live.” So, for now the rankings will remain for 2014, but there might be big changes coming to the list for 2015.

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About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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