Where it pays to lie

I’ll start with the caveat– there’s a lot of great police officers who’s genuine and primary motive is to serve the public.  That, unfortunately, does not change the fact that many of them work within departments that have various levels of endemic corruption within their culture.  For example, the NYPD where lying is just part of the job.  We’re talking about a pretty rotten barrel here.  NYT with a disturbing, though, alas, not suprising, report on the matter:

For years, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, a New York City agency that investigates abusive police behavior, has documented every instance it believes it has caught an officer lying. The cases rarely present much of a mystery: Often they involve officers who deny throwing a punch or who downplay the force used during an arrest — only to have their accounts undermined by video recordings.

But the civilian board has no power to mete out discipline in such cases; it refers them to the Police Department for further investigation and possible action.

In case after case, the Police Department reaches the same finding: There is not enough evidence to determine whether the police officer made a false statement, The New York Times found.

The board has been notified of only two cases — out of the 81 it has been able to track since 2010 — in which the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau upheld the board’s accusation that the officer had made a false statement. In the other 79 cases, the Police Department found no wrongdoing or found the officer guilty of lesser misconduct, such as failing to properly fill out a memo book, according to information provided by the board and a document obtained by The Times…

“There didn’t appear to be any disciplinary consequences for cases where it seemed black and white that the officer was not telling the truth,” said Richard Emery, who was the civilian board’s chairman from 2014 to 2016.

The Times has examined how lying remains a persistent problem within the Police Department, which, with its 36,650 officers, is by far the nation’s largest municipal force. A monthslong investigation uncovered a number of cases in recent years in which officers had clearly not told the truth about arrests they had made — a phenomenon with a storied nickname, testilying, that is still tossed around.

But the department’s reluctance to investigate and discipline officers for lying — as shown by the information collected by the civilian review board — appears to be as much of a problem as the initial lies. One reason officers lie, it would seem, is that they can get away with it. [emphasis mine]

Like, I said. Many good officers.  But if they are operating in a culture without accountability and lying is a clearly acceptable norm, then lying we will get.  We need to expect so much more from these public servants in whom we entrust so much power over our lives and liberty.

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In America, it’s race, not just class (and gender, too!)

Fascinating new study on social mobility nicely summarized in the Upshot.  You should read it all.  That said:

Black boys raised in America, even in the wealthiest families and living in some of the most well-to-do neighborhoods, still earn less in adulthood than white boys with similar backgrounds, according to a sweeping new study that traced the lives of millions of children.

White boys who grow up rich are likely to remain that way. Black boys raised at the top, however, are more likely to become poor than to stay wealthy in their own adult households.

Even when children grow up next to each other with parents who earn similar incomes, black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America. And the gaps only worsen in the kind of neighborhoods that promise low poverty and good schools.

According to the study, led by researchers at Stanford, Harvard and the Census Bureau, income inequality between blacks and whites is driven entirely by what is happening among these boys and the men they become. Though black girls and women face deep inequality on many measures, black and white girls from families with comparable earnings attain similar individual incomes as adults… [emphases mine]

The study, based on anonymous earnings and demographic data for virtually all Americans now in their late 30s, debunks a number of other widely held hypotheses about income inequality. Gaps persisted even when black and white boys grew up in families with the same income, similar family structures, similar education levels and even similar levels of accumulated wealth.

The disparities that remain also can’t be explained by differences in cognitive ability, an argument made by people who cite racial gaps in test scores that appear for both black boys and girls. If such inherent differences existed by race, “you’ve got to explain to me why these putative ability differences aren’t handicapping women,” said David Grusky, a Stanford sociologist who has reviewed the research.

A more likely possibility, the authors suggest, is that test scores don’t accurately measure the abilities of black children in the first place.

If this inequality can’t be explained by individual or household traits, much of what matters probably lies outside the home — in surrounding neighborhoods, in the economy and in a society that views black boys differently from white boys, and even from black girls.

“One of the most popular liberal post-racial ideas is the idea that the fundamental problem is class and not race, and clearly this study explodes that idea,” said Ibram Kendi, a professor and director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. “But for whatever reason, we’re unwilling to stare racism in the face.”

The authors, including the Stanford economist Raj Chetty and two census researchers, Maggie R. Jones and Sonya R. Porter, tried to identify neighborhoods where poor black boys do well, and as well as whites.

“The problem,” Mr. Chetty said, “is that there are essentially no such neighborhoods in America.” …

The research makes clear that there is something unique about the obstacles black males face. The gap between Hispanics and whites is narrower, and their incomes will converge within a couple of generations if mobility stays the same. Asian-Americans earn more than whites raised at the same income level, or about the same when first-generation immigrants are excluded. Only Native Americans have an income gap comparable to African-Americans. But the disparities are widest for black boys.

Wow.  It’s good to know the extent of the problem.  Our society really needs to do something about.  I’m pretty sure that arguing racism no longer exists and we just need to get over it is not the answer.

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