The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion This racial ‘progress’ looks like business as usual

Demonstrators march to protest against police brutality and the death of George Floyd, on June 4 in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington.
Demonstrators march to protest against police brutality and the death of George Floyd, on June 4 in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington. (Win Mcnamee/Getty Images)
Comment

According to Virginia state Sens. Dick Saslaw and Mamie E. Locke’s June 14 Local Opinions essay, “What progress on racial justice in Virginia will look like,” racial justice in Virginia will look like a big pile of business as usual. Training and sentencing reform have already been tried and have failed. Racial disparities come from layers of individual decisions (policing, prosecuting, sentencing) made by people born and raised in our pervasively racist society.

If we have the political will, then we are capable of measuring and correcting racially disparate policing. If blacks get jail time instead of community service more often than whites, then release nonviolent offenders from jail to remove the disparity. If blacks disproportionately receive traffic fines and fees, then issue refunds until the disparity is removed.

Until we are willing to measure and correct racial disparities in policing, racial disparities will persist.

Jonathan Krall, Alexandria

The writer is a member of the steering committee of Grassroots Alexandria.

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