Thursday, December 08, 2005

Tookie Williams and the race hustlers

Stanley Crouch rips the "give a brother a break" crowd that is calling for clemency for Tookie Williams, founder of the Crips and murderer of at least four people. Why? He disdains the redemption claims.

Williams is being held up as an example of redemption because he has supposedly turned his life around. He has written children's books that speak out against gang violence. But the actor and writer Joseph Phillips discovered that the highest selling children's book written by Williams has sold only 330 copies. Not exactly a universal audience. The murderer has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times. But almost anyone can nominate you. That does not prove universal acknowledgment of importance.

What does all of this mean? Little. When we see the NAACP, Jamie Foxx, Danny Glover and that paragon of public morality, Snoop Dogg, calling for Williams to receive clemency, one is sure that they have bought into the big con that has as its foundation the interconnectedness of the death penalty and race. The two elements have become so interwoven that some assume that if a black man is on Death Row it has something to do with bias and an unrepresentative jury pool. One of the men crying for Williams to get clemency cites the fact that he was tried by an all-white jury, none of whom were his peers. Does that mean that Williams should have had a jury of ruthless gang leaders? Williams, like all criminals, is a lawbreaker first and has an ethnic identity second.

Ultimately, Crouch cites the most damning statistic against Williams -- what his gang warfare has wrought -- to negate all arguments in Tookie's favor.

The hard fact is that since 1980, street gangs have killed 10,000 people in Los Angeles, which is three times the number of black people lynched throughout the United States between 1877 and 1900, the highest tide of racial murder in the history of the nation.

And worst of all, those killings are black-on-black, latino-on-latino, and minority-on-minority.

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