Female arrest rates and politics

There is something off about Maureen Dowd’s July 25 editorial in the New York Times. For her, the arrest of Harvard Department of African and African-American Studies scholar Henry Gates is about race, class and testosterone.(1)

Speaking for myself, the arrest was about creating something enabling the media to raise race in a trivializing manner, because when I was watching CNN television news, other stories of much greater racist import received short shrift. It were as if to tell the world, “and the worst thing that ever happens is that a Black man at his mansion gets arrested and then the president, governor and mayor apologize.” Nonetheless, I realize this angle starting from the international stories that CNN was covering or not covering does not interest most Amerikans.

So, to return to the Maureen Dowd angle, the persyn who called in the complaint on Henry Gates was a female. Then, a female writer gets to step back and snicker over what her female species set off.

I did not see any news coverage where people asked why this female felt entitled to call in a complaint. Obviously she did not know who lived at Gates’s house or if she did, she was creating a conspiracy for media or other purposes. In the conspiracy-free assumption, someone who does not know what she is talking about feels free to make an accusation. Yet, Maureen Dowd says testosterone is to blame.

Save the female is deeply ingrained as a gender role in Amerikan culture.

Maureen Dowd might have done better to ask the role of stultifying gender roles in reinforcing racism. Just as Avakian/Kasama feel free to entice pseudo-Maoists who don’t know what they are talking about in class and international politics, white privilege dictates that accusations can arise out of thin air. The female who called in the complaint obviously never spoke to Gates, if we assume no conspiracy in this news story.

One of the reasons that Amerikan females relative to males do not understand the state is that gender roles protect them from interaction with the state. An amazing example that I witnessed was a young female who organized a drugs and alcohol party, only to call the police on her own party in the wee hours, while in an intoxicated state herself. She obviously did not think police would arrest her. It was only years later that I learned there is a statistical basis for her to think so. (I organized people to depart.)

Years later, I would learn in one large study that given a male using cocaine and female using cocaine in the inner city, the male faced a 1000 times higher probability of arrest. This is consistent with the patriarchy’s seeing females as for sexual access, not prison, something I have been teaching, regardless of whether people like to hear it or not, since the 1980s.

One exception for arrest rates is runaways. Female runaways are more likely to be arrested than males, again, mostly because adults are more afraid of what happens to female runaways, a protection angle that would make the director of “King Kong” proud. The same authors who reported that also found that male juveniles have consistently faced drug arrests at a five or six times higher rate than females since the 1980s.(2)

If one wants to know why females view the state as protective, one can start with the discrimination against males in arrest rates. This in turn will explain why revolutionary males have some tension with females, as do any males finding themselves in unconscious opposition to the state. There is a real reason, other than disproportionate military service by males, that females do not “get” the state. To say that oppression is additive with females as most oppressed is to deny that Black females face less pay discrimination and have higher graduation rates and lower arrest rates than Black males. It’s not just a testosterone joke.

1. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/opinion/26dowd.html?_r=1
2. Joan McCord, Cathy Spatz Widom, Nancy A. Crowell, Juvenile Crime, Juvenile Justice Panel on Juvenile Crime: Prevention, Treatment, and Control, National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Law and Justice.


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