What Black people said: Because of racial discrimination, economic inequality, institutional racism and a systemic lack of opportunity, we have a problem with crime and drugs in our neighborhoods. What we need is more jobs, and viable, creative alternatives for at risk youth in our communities. We need things like job training programs, effective drug prevention & rehab programs, midnight basketball programs and perhaps more police officers who live in the communities they police.
What politicians heard: You have a drug and crime problem and you want more police in your communities and harsher prison sentences for minor infractions.
This is the essence of selective hearing in politics. This is how draconian crime bills that disproportionately incarcerate Black people are passed and then justified by blaming Black people, saying, “but YOU asked for this, we were only trying to help.”
Yes, racial bias was at play, and no, this is not what Black people asked for.