My final point on Professor Gates. Zero tolerance doesn't work, nor does the standard of discomfort that Gates is trying to establish for himself. I would also clarify what I meant by suggesting the examples of 50 Cent and Jay Z, which is their use of the N Word in their 'art'. Which is to say if arguments for zero tolerance were to be taken seriously with regard to the things offensive to someone like a black Harvard snob, you would destroy most of that which goes by the label of 'black entertainment', or is it Urban Contemporary? Who has hurt and disrespected black people more, Officer Crowley or R. Kelly?
Glenn Loury points to the direction which I imagine a proper jumping off point should go, which is that it is the existence of a failed working class culture in America whose result is the Prison Industrial Complex, that generates the institutional and operational context of conflict between large numbers of young black men and the Justice System. Loury, I think, mistakes the Complex as the cause rather than the effect. But the failed working class culture of America affects all people. The difficulty is that the would-be working class blacks in particular are hypersegregated. They are where the cops are.
My contention is that if these black unemployed were dispersed geographically, as they were prior to the Great Migration, then the PIC would have no concentrated feedstock and would cease to exist. So my nickel bets that before blacks moved en masse from the South to major urban centers after the turn of the century, they were certainly more viciously discriminated against but did not comprise such a large proportion of the inmate population. And so if blacks were to step off the ghetto grid, they wouldn't funnel so easily into the ghetto jails. Loury must surely account for California where a large percentage of our incarcerated come straight out of Mexico into our large urban centers and then off to the pokey.