Large numbers of Americans see racial bias in our country’s criminal justice system:
The latest Reason-Rupe poll finds 44 percent of Americans believe the criminal justice system in the United States treats white Americans more fairly than black and Hispanic Americans. Another 45 percent believe the system treats all racial groups the same, 6 percent think the system favors black and Hispanic Americans, and 5 percent aren’t sure.
But Congressmen, for example, are among the least likely to see bias:
When we compare these results to the average elected official, such as those in Congress, we find that politicians come from the very demographic groups least likely to believe there is bias in the criminal justice system:
The average member of Congress in 2014 is 57 years old, college-educated, male, and Caucasian. Using a statistical technique, we find a person with the same demographics as the average member of Congress has a 65% chance of believing the criminal justice system in America is fair to all racial groups. In contrast, a similar nonwhite female who is 40-years-old is 26 percent likely to agree.
Basically, those in elected office are most likely to come from demographic groups least likely to detect bias in the criminal justice system. This may help explain why Ferguson residents are so upset—they feel those in power do not believe them nor care about them.