Nicholas Goldberg: We rarely prosecute bigots and racists who spew hate speech. And rightly so.
In 2018, more than 20 police departments nationwide recorded high-profile cases involving racist epithets that led to one-year prison sentences and fines, and some of these incidents are still unfolding.
In Los Angeles, the FBI is investigating the threats of violence made against the president of the National Rifle Association, a man who said he is tired of “whitey” threatening his family. In New York, the police arrested two teenagers for calling the president of the NAACP a “n—– nigger.” And in Pennsylvania, police arrested a man who called a black man a con artist and a “thug,” and said he should “kick your [expletive] ass or I will.”
This is the reality of the justice system, which in many ways is a reflection of society’s deep-seated prejudices and intolerance, but the fact that it has to be fought is part of a long history of injustice. In this week’s episode, the conversation turns to how we can make the criminal justice system more fair, and to which issues we should prioritize in our current society to ensure that every voice is heard.
Our guest is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley who has spent 20 years on the front lines of the fight against racism, and he believes that we shouldn’t have to go to such lengths to rid our society of prejudice.
Nicholas Goldberg: You’ve spent your entire career researching the intersection of race and crime. What is the role of criminal justice in fighting racism?
I’ve spent the last 20 years of my career really on this topic but also other topics that really engage me, including the fact that it’s a very complicated subject. In criminal justice, there’s a complex and a very complicated web of issues that have to be addressed for there to be justice