The Thinking 

We Need More Women in Prison

January 14, 2013


WE OFTEN hear about how unfair it is that there are not more women chief executives or cabinet members or physicists. Just last week, this photo in the New York Times of Obama advisors brought a thinly-veiled scolding from the newspaper. Too many men, especially white men. The mere fact of many men, and few or no women, is treated as proof of discrimination. No further evidence is needed.

But if a preponderance of men is proof of discrimination, then shouldn’t we be concerned that there are so few women in prison? There are more than two million men in jail and about 200,000 women, according to these figures. Also, white men appear to be especially underrepresented. As of 2010, the incarceration rate for white men was 678 per 100,000. The incarceration rate for black men was 4,347 per 100,000.

I realize feminists would say these figures are only proof of white male hegemony. But if male power is what feminists suggest it is – a constant, unrelenting conspiracy in the minds of men, a conspiracy so ever-present that when a president whose political fortunes rest on approval by women chooses his cabinet he favors men because he has a residual male superiority complex — then wouldn’t men do a better job of keeping themselves out of jail?

The truth is, feminists are duplicitous when it comes to the full reality of female underrepresentation. While men occupy the  most powerful public positions in society, they also predominantly occupy the least powerful positions. Feminists are not really clamoring for a co-ed world. They want the best of masculinity, not the worst.


— Comments —-

Don Vincenzo writes:

When I saw the photo of President Obama and his and closest advisers, all of whom are white and male, my first reaction was that a picture can be worth a thousands words. Why? In that photo rests an underreported, but widely held belief, that our Commander-in-Chief is neither comfortable nor enjoys being amongst other people, with a few exceptions, of course. The rest are kept at a distance, a noticeable distance to be sure. The fact that they are all white males may add to that discomfort.

Notice, too, the fact that he is sitting while everyone else stands. One is reminded of “High Table” at English university dining rooms, but even in that particular case, the students and lesser faculty sat, and did not stand while the university’s professorial cadre dined. There is something very revealing about the photo and its connection to the way Obama views his staff.

Then there is the question of distance between the group and the seated president. In Tudor England during the frequent outbreak of the plague, the guests and advisers of Henry VIII were kept at some distance to avoid infecting the monarch with the illness. One senses that the president seeks that distance not for health reasons, but to keep his distance in another way. In my experience of knowing people who attended meetings at the White House, the guests sat around a table or sofa with the president part of the group. That is not the impression one gets from this photo.

I will leave aside the casualness of the president’s and his staff’s dress, but why would the official White House photographer take such a revealing photo and release it for publication raises a lot of questions, whose answers do not burnish the president’s reputation.

 Laura writes:

It’s a bizarre and revealing photo. I agree that the strange way Obama sits apart from everyone else suggests he is not comfortable with these people and wants to convey in an exaggerated way his authority. The President’s office released the following photo the day after the Times ran the one above:

Don Vincenzo writes:

The rapid release of the second photo is not accidental, I assure you. Far too many people that surround the president, or the focus groups they utilize, had a reaction similar to that of your scribe, and Obama’s handlers sought to minimize the collateral damage. The negative has been zapped and disappeared into the ether.

I’m afraid that this new photo will not substantially improve the president’s status with his base: although there are women included, they are all of the melanin-challenged variety, something assiduously avoided, for example, when Obama visits a military base, or police academy, where people of color are prominently shown. Where, I ask, are the people of color in this administration?

I anxiously await the third installment of this continuing saga of “presidential photo-ops,” which historians will refer to as Photogate. I further wonder if White House Press organs such as The Washington Post will take note of the president’s betrayal, and for weeks carry – above the fold – articles chronicling the ineptitude and insensitivity of the White House “plumbers,” …er, make that photographers.

Sage McLaughlin writes:

People keep asking Don Lorenzo’s question, “Where, I ask, are the people of color in this administration?” The answers to this question seem fairly obvious to me. Obama craves nothing on this earth more than to be fawned over by white people, and to exercise his authority over them in the most imperious possible way. His entire political career is a grand psychodrama about his hangups concerning race, and of course his no-account father. Why would anyone expect him to surround himself with blacks and Hispanics–people with whom he has very little in common, it must be said. He has moved his entire adult life in the world of elite whites, learning their mannerisms and constructing a pathetically obvious persona, calculated with one purpose in mind, which is to bring white liberals to their knees in adoration of the black intellectual of their imaginations. If there is any genius in Barack Obama, it is in the sculpting of this visage.

So tell me, why would he waste his life’s work by surrounding himself with underqualified blacks? To expect that he would do so, or that he would care to be seen doing so, is to miss the entire point of Barack Obama. Remember, those are people for whom he probably has more contempt than any white man could. Deep down, he knows that such men as the loathsome Communist thug Van Jones–whom he had to fire within a year of assuming office–would simply ruin his administration and destroy his presidency.

In another life, he might have hosted a reality TV show called The Liberal Whisperer. As it is, though, he is able to send out photographs for the entire globe to see, of a room full of white cabinet members beseeching him his approval. And his motive for this behavior strikes people as mysterious?

Terry Morris writes:

Regarding the title of your entry, “We Need More Women in Prison,” speak for your own state! Not only have women broken through the glass-ceiling in Oklahoma with a vengeance, but also, and simultaneously, through the concrete floor.

While we can now boast of having our first female governor in Mary Fallin (who was elected in a race between two women), as well as many other women who occupy important, powerful positions in the state, governmental and otherwise, we also boast the highest per capita incarceration rate for women in the U.S. at 135 Oklahoma women incarcerated per 100,000 residents. That’s fully twice the national average of 67 female incarcerations per 100,000, with one woman to spare (perhaps the woman who got a life sentence for selling an undercover agent what amounted to a couple of marijuana cigarettes).

Laura writes:

Breaking through the concrete floor — that’s it. Feminism hasn’t made an explicit project of breaking through the concrete floor but it has helped bring it about.

Mr. Morris adds:

Correction: I mixed a couple of different cases up in my parenthetical remark about the Okla. woman who received a life sentence for a relatively minor crime. The woman who sold the pot ($30.00 worth) to an undercover officer got twelve years in prison with no parole, whereas the life sentence was handed down for another woman who stole a purse and other items valued at about $1000.00. The former was a first offense; the latter woman had a lengthy criminal record.

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