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Minority Youth

May 28, 2000

Re "Justice Is Not Colorblind, Studies Find," May 22:

It appears that the "sympathy deficit," which causes harsher treatment of minority youth, results from the law of unintended consequences. Our young brothers fail to recognize that "acting bad" often results in the perception that they are bad. Hip-hop culture, to which most African American youth subscribe, emphasizes male belligerence on an unprecedented scale in African American history. Belligerence has unfortunately become almost a cultural imperative.

"Conference Looks Into the Violent Heart of Hip-Hop" (May 21) quotes rapper Ice-T reflecting this view: "Masculinity runs this world. The person who's violent gets control. Peace gets nothing."

Being black and poor already gives us two strikes in the criminal justice system. Displaying a "gangsta" attitude will then virtually guarantee hard time.

MARK DAVIS

Los Angeles

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