What Sullivan says:
Three times as many black men will spend tonight in a prison cell as in a college dorm room. That number is almost as bad for Hispanics. A quarter of a century ago, the ratio was even.
What the study actually says:
The numbers, driven by men, do not include college students who live off campus. Previously released census data show that black and Hispanic college students — commuters and those in dorms — far outnumber black and Hispanic prison inmates.
Now my reading of this is that blacks and hispanics have moved off campus — much like the rest of the student body. The crowing headline that “three times as many black are in jail as in college” is pure hysterical race-baiting that misses and obfuscates the more important point:
The data show that big increases in black and Hispanic inmates occurred since 1980.
Not stated is how big the increases have been for whites. I went to the Census Bureau website but their data is almost deliberately opaque. I couldn’t get a handle on what it actually said and nor find the answer to the real question: Over the last 25 years, how has the incarceration rate changed for blacks, white and hispanics?
One things I’ve learned about social scientists. When they present you with answers to the wrong question, it’s because the answer to the right question didn’t fit their agenda.
The real story here is that our prison population has exploded over the last thirty years, primarily because of the War on Drugs. That’s something that affects all of us, not just black people. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. That needs to change. For everone.