Nearly Fifty per-cent of Black Men are arrested by the age of 23 for traffic-related crimes…
In my own state of New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s recent “State of the State” address included encouraging references to the “madness of an incarceration society,” and a call for better services for re-entering men and women.
But there are still plenty of states in our union where this is the landscape, and little will change anytime soon.
But, since this is a blog about interracial families, I’d like to take a moment to consider the implications of this statistic from a woman’s perspective:
This statistic means that, if your son is black; if your husband is black, you are more likely to:
- See him arrested or threatened with arrest;
- Need money to bail him out of jail; pay a fine; or require retainer for his attorney;
- Need more money for his college tuition if his arrest record makes him ineligible for college tuition assistance;
- Need even more money to assist him financially, perhaps well into adulthood, if his arrest record makes it harder for him to find sustainable employment;
- Worry, whenever he is late–even a little bit late–for an appointment; or in calling you; or, maybe just in returning from a trip down the street to pick up a quart of milk…that his freedom..or maybe his life…might be in danger….
We should leave aside, for the moment, the question of why the man we love might be arrested; the most interesting element in this statistic, to my mind, is the disparity between the arrests of black and white men for traffic violations… if there are, heaven help us, young and foolish drivers on every road of this great nation, are we really to believe that the characteristic of reckless youth is not evenly distributed across our male population?
But I also wonder, as the mom in an interracial family, how much of this asymmetric pattern of arrest in our society might leave a yawning gap between women who do not know what it is like to live with this sword of Damocles dangling over the men they love–and women who do.