by Mike S. Adams
Barack Obama just announced his disappointment with the Supreme
Court ruling making it unconstitutional to execute those who rape
children. Many were surprised that he would support capital
punishment given that it is a position traditionally associated
with conservatism. But I wasn't surprised. Like affirmative action,
the death penalty is just another policy Obama supports because it
so clearly discriminates against white people.
The role of race in executions first became a hot topic in 1972
when the Supreme Court placed a moratorium on executions because of
the way Georgia was allowing race to creep into the punishment
process. Georgia was doing a good job of instructing jurors during
the guilt/innocence phase. But, then, they allowed jurors - so
often twelve white people - unbridled discretion in deciding which
convicted murderers were to be executed.
Consequently, for a time, there was an 89% chance that a black
man would be sentenced to death (sentenced in Georgia but not
actually executed) for killing a white man. During the same time
period, the likelihood of a white man being sentenced to death for
killing a black man was 0%.
So, in 1972, when data convinced the High Court that the death
penalty was unconstitutional - not
but as applied - the justices made states re-write their death
penalty statutes (See Furman v. Georgia, 1972). The Court wanted to
make certain that - at least when assigning the ultimate penalty -
race took a back seat to legal sentencing factors.
States did re-write their statutes and the Court approved of new
capital punishment sentencing procedures in Georgia (and elsewhere)
in a case known as
. This ushered in what is now known as the post-Furman era.
Criminologists have been keeping a watchful eye on death penalty
demographics throughout the post-Furman era. For example, Robert
Bohm - formerly a professor in the UNC system where I teach -
published an article on race and the death penalty after the first
120 post-Furman executions. Bohm was forced to admit that a
majority of those 120 executions were of whites.
Nonetheless, Bohm tried to argue for the possibility of a racial
conspiracy against blacks in the post-Furman era. By breaking the
first 120 post-Furman executions into deciles (ten groups of
twelve) he was able to detect a possibly racist trend. This view
was based on the fact that 75% of the first twelve executions were
of whites while just over 50% of the first 120 executions were of
Bohm actually stated that he believed, in the post-Furman era,
states were making a concerted effort at first to execute more
whites. The idea was that when no one was looking they would revert
to their old ways of executing more blacks than whites. He
concluded - looking at less than sixty blacks put to death years
into the post-Furman era - that the criminal justice system tried
to control blacks by extermination or, more importantly, threat of
It is worth noting that Bohm did not, however, use the term
"extermination" in reference to the thousands of blacks killed by
other blacks every year. This is largely due to the fact that he
did not mention that thousands of blacks are killed by other blacks
every year. Criminologists don't talk about blacks killing other
blacks. They just let it happen.
Now, about a decade and a half has passed since Bohm's
unsophisticated little study. And what do we find? It is still the
case that most of those executed in the post-Furman era are white.
This is a problem - for the liberals, of course - because white
people simply do not commit most of the homicides in America.
But beware of a potential sleight of hand by the author of this
provocative column. When we are talking about the death penalty, we
are talking about a penalty reserved for first degree murders.
Statistics indicating that 55% of homicide arrests are of blacks
should be qualified, should they not? After all, not all homicides
are first degree murders. Not by a long shot.
Here is where the radical death penalty abolitionists have
painted themselves in a corner. For years, they have lamented the
fact that, for example, the doctor (read: wealthy white man) who
loses a patient in an unnecessary surgical procedure has not
committed a death eligible offense. He has committed involuntary
manslaughter at best or depraved heart murder (a form of second
degree murder) at worst. He has not committed first degree murder
by any stretch of the imagination and so he escapes the ultimate
The suggestion here is that the law defines the kinds of
killings black people commit as death eligible and the kinds of
killings white people commit as death ineligible. Of course, this
all goes to show that there is no common sense distinction that is
immune to an accusation of institutional racism.
Put simply, there is no evidence to suggest that blacks aren't
committing the majority of homicides in general and first degree
murders in particular. Nor is there any evidence to suggest that
proponents of affirmative action will demand that we begin to
execute more blacks to make up for their present
under-representation in American death chambers. And we can safely
say they are under-represented by ignoring their representation in
the general population (an irrelevant 12%) and looking at their
representation among the population of killers (a relevant
Some find it ironic that Obama supports both capital punishment
and affirmative action. The real irony is that his support for the
death penalty may cause whites to elect a black president. And that
having a black president might be a death sentence for affirmative