Following up from a previous post: there are many things wrong with capital punishment in the U.S. (and with capital punishment as such), but the most obvious thing is the blatant racism of it all. A black person in the U.S. is almost 4 times more likely to be executed. Even if we assume that this higher probability of being executed correctly reflects a higher probability of being involved in crime that comes with capital punishment – and that’s something we shouldn’t assume, because it’s likely that there are injustices involved, e.g. inadequate legal representation and such – that shouldn’t put our minds at ease. We then still have to ask the question: why are blacks more likely to be involved in capital offences? Surely not because of their race. Something happens in society that leads to this unfair outcome.
Some would say that blacks in the U.S. have always been kept in their place, and that violence (including state violence) was and remains the best way to do that.
Here are some more numbers which show that it isn’t just the race of the defendant that matters but also the race of the victim, making it even more convincing that capital punishment is the new Jim Crow:
The probability of being sentenced to death is much greater if a defendant kills a white or Hispanic victim who is married with a clean criminal record and a college degree, as opposed to a black or Asian victim who is single with a prior criminal record and no college degree. … death is more apt to be sought and imposed on behalf of high status victims. Some victims matter more than others. (source, source)
So, capital punishment isn’t just racist, it’s also a means for the wealthy to keep the poor in their place. If that’s true, it’s depressing.