Category Archives: Civil Rights

Northam’s Good Move: End Executions

The Martinsville Seven

By Peter Galuszka

Governor Ralph Northam will propose legislation to ban executions in the state. The move could end decades of systemic racism in the criminal justice system.

“I’ve strongly about this for a long time,” he was quoted as saying. The bill will be taken up by the General Assembly, which met in its 2021 session today.

If the bill passes, it would make Virginia the only Southern state to ban executions.

According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, 113 executions have been conducted in the state since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed executions to resume in 1976. Virginia’s vigorous efforts to kill those convicted of capital crimes gave it the dishonorable distinction of being No. 2 in the country after Texas which had 570 executions in that time frame.

Historically, African Americans have been executed at rates that exceed their numbers in the general population. Continue reading

Race vs. Class in Education Personal Data Collection – An Alternative

by James C. Sherlock

Earlier I addressed the current method for collecting racial and ethnicity data for civil rights enforcement and found it lacking.

So why do we do it that way? Because we have done it for a long time? The constitutional concerns can’t be wished away, and there are new proofs available in genetic testing databases that the data are wrongly constructed and wrongly answered.

I spent some time in founding and running the nation’s largest military simulation facility in Suffolk, Virginia, in my last assignment for the Navy nearly 30 years ago.

What if we at least test alternatives using modern computer simulation methodologies and see what the results show? Simulations may give better estimates than the current system, or, importantly, show that civil rights concerns may be more efficiently and effectively focused on class rather than race. Continue reading

E Pluribus Unum

by James C. Sherlock

Federal and state executive and legislative branches and the courts make thousands of decisions daily based on race and ethnicity data.

The federal regulations for gathering and reporting those data have been imposed in response to civil rights laws. The iron law of unintended consequences has taken precedence as it often does in such matters.

We know absolutely that those data are wrong: both artificially constructed and inaccurately reported. The working assumption in the drafting of the regulations is that the data will be close enough for government work. Let’s take a look.

Race and ethnic information about educational system participants is required by the federal government from the states, by the states from school districts and institutions of higher education and by those institutions from individuals, all driven by federal regulations.

Data about school staff, teachers and students are being collected at each of those levels and consolidated at each level in reporting. Continue reading