at Boone County's Jail is majority white, a third statistic suggesting racial bias in crime reporting and public perception.
Persons arrested in Boone
-- which includes Columbia -- and persons wanted for felonies
are also majority white, in keeping with the county's roughly 82% Caucasian population
The statistics raise a troubling question that would make a good Philosoraptor meme: "White people are a majority of the population and commit a majority of crimes, so why are black people featured in a majority of crime news stories
The jail population statistics may also raise questions for those concerned that black persons are incarcerated at higher rates than other populations. Statistics show black persons commit 29-35% of crime in Boone County, but their jail population is 12-17% higher: 47% of all inmates
Boone County breaks down its inmate population by age, sex, and race. As of Nov. 1, 97 persons described as black
-- eight females and 89 males -- were jailed.
One hundred and one (101) white persons
and nine Hispanics comprised the other 53% of the inmate population.
suspects are 65%
of outstanding felony warrants and 62%
of persons arrested for all crimes -- felony and misdemeanor -- in Boone County.
And yet, black mugshots and crime stories featuring African-American males dominate news coverage locally -- and nationally.
A keynote speech topic at last month's Mizzou Black Studies Conference, racial bias in crime reporting even has its own Wikipedia entry
. Nationally, FBI statistics
show 69.3% of persons arrested for crimes in 2012 were white; 28.1% were black. But media reports -- and public perception -- suggest the reverse.
"Many media outlets reinforce the public’s racial misconceptions about crime by presenting African-Americans and Latinos differently than whites — both quantitatively and qualitatively
," a 2014 study by the Sentencing Project found
. "Television news programs and newspapers overrepresent racial minorities as crime suspects
Television and written news reports in Columbia and Boone County have featured black suspects in roughly 57% of crime stories reported over the past six months.
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) publishes a 10-point guide to bias in news media
that examines double standards portraying "youth of color who commit crimes as 'superpredators,'" and drug-crime coverage focusing "almost exclusively on African Americans, despite the fact that the vast majority of drug users are white."
FAIR also suggests a remedy. "Educate journalists about misconceptions involved in stereotypes, and about how stereotypes characterize individuals unfairly." RELATED: