Did Blacks Really Endorse the 1994 Crime Bill?

April 13, 2016

In this New York TImes opinion pieceJulilly Kohler-Hausmann, assistant professor of history, and her coauthors dispute the idea that black Americans pushed for the 1994 crime bill, a hot topic in this year's election season. 

"Instead of being the unintended consequence of the democratic process at work, punitive crime policy is a result of a process of selectively hearing black voices on the question of crime," they write.

"There’s no question that by the early 1990s, blacks wanted an immediate response to the crime, violence and drug markets in their communities. But even at the time, many were asking for something different from the crime bill. Calls for tough sentencing and police protection were paired with calls for full employment, quality education and drug treatment, and criticism of police brutality."

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