Is America’s ‘No Tolerance’ approach to battling crime something for Europe and the rest of the world to emulate? According to Die Zeit columnist Dr. Eva Schweitzer, this may seem counter-intuitive and disturbing to European sensibilities, but cracking down on grand and petty crimes committed primarily by ethnic minorities is the very ‘glue’ that hold America’s multicultural society together.
For Die Zeit, Dr. Eva Schweitzer writes in part:
American is similar to Europe in its demographic composition: A Caucasian majority with a darker-skinned minority (a somewhat larger group than in Europe). But while the minority in Europe consists of immigrants, in the U.S. the situation is reversed. Here, the immigrant hierarchy is turned on its head. The immigrants who today govern the country, the majority of whom immigrated between 1880 and 1924, are White Europeans. On the other hand, those with darker-skin usually belong to the indigenous population or are descended from Black slaves who arrived before 1807, when the slave trade [in Europe] was abolished.
Ultimately, the core of U.S. integration is its zero-tolerance policy toward criminals, which was advocated by New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (or actually, more by his chief of police, William Bratton). In essence, it was about making inner cities in the most ethnically-diverse cities – their public parks, squares and transportation – more habitable for the White middle class by the massive augmenting of police and judicial power. Whites who had lived there in the sixties and seventies fled in droves for the suburbs.
“Zero-tolerance” involves not only harsh penalties for minor infractions and first-time offenders, but also quick judicial rulings. But even critics – and there are many – cannot deny that in the end it was a success. And that success is evident not only in the crime figures, but in the prevailing coexistence of Blacks and Whites (and Hispanics).
Of course, the American system also has its disadvantages: A large proportion of the population – one percent of adults, an increase of two million people – sit in prison thanks to “No Tolerance,” many for drug violations. There are a disproportionate number of Black men amongst them. Punished particularly severely, the legal system is still prejudiced against them.
Although it isn’t all one-sided: even crimes against Blacks or other ethnic minorities are classified as “hate crimes” and perpetrators are severely punished.
Particularly in New York, police conduct is especially ruthless. Police intervene first and ask questions later. For Europeans, this often leaves the impression that the United States has failed as a multicultural society. But the opposite is the case. This police force is the glue that holds multicultural America together.
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