Povertenza

Dear Judge,

I know that Davontaye’s actions caused the deaths of four people. But please don’t give him life in prison. He suffers from Povertenza. You may not know about this condition but Povertenza is an illness that people from impoverished socio-economic backgrounds have.

Due to the inability to access quality education and employment, Davontaye’s development has been stifled. This leads to poor decision making and I would further argue that since his neighborhood sees so much death and destruction, that he may even suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in addition to Povertenza.

Judge, it is clear that Davontaye can not be held responsible for his actions. He needs rehabilitation, not prison. Prison would only worsen his mental condition. 

Sincerely,

J.A.M.

This defense obviously doesn’t work for black  and poor youth. Yet, news outlets are spiraling about 16 year-old  Ethan Couch who caused the deaths of 4 people by drunk driving. His defense, was that he suffered from “Affluenza” a disorder that only the affluent have. According to his lawyers, Couch was shielded from personal responsibility his entire life. Discipline is not a word in his vocabulary.

Affluenza

Judge Jean Boyd sentenced him Tuesday to 10 years of probation but no jail time, saying she would work to find him a long-term treatment facility.

But Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter in the crash, said on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” “There are absolutely no consequences for what occurred that day. The primary message has to absolutely be that money and privilege can’t buy justice in this country.” – CNN

Basically, Couch was coddled his entire life and now his punishment is more coddling.

On the flip side, there are millions of under-privileged youth across America, that have lived under the worst conditions imaginable. They’ve witnessed murders, endured hunger, and survived sexual abuse. However, upon committing a crime, they are handed down the harshest prison sentences imaginable. As I’ve pointed out before, many youth spend years in prison for crimes they didn’t commit because they didn’t have enough money to sway the justice system or get proper legal counsel. It’s a non-laughable joke.

If “Affluenza” is real, then I posit that my newly coined “Povertenza” be considered. Instead of jumping to fill up prisons, let’s start putting youth from disadvantaged backgrounds in treatment facilities. This would be ideal, but it won’t happen because there is too much money to be made. This is one of the reasons why Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr was able to sell 5,000 children to prisons.

Disgraced Pennsylvania judge Mark Ciavarella Jr has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for conspiring with private prisons to sentence juvenile offenders to maximum sentences for bribes and kickbacks which totaled millions of dollars. He was also ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution.

In the private prison industry the more time an inmate spends in a facility, the more of a profit is reaped from the state. Ciavearella was a figurehead in a conspiracy in the state of Pennsylvania which saw thousands of young men and women unjustly punished and penalized in the name of corporate profit. – Examiner

Most of the children he sentenced are likely to be from backgrounds that are far less privileged than anything Ethan Couch has experienced. His sentencing tells us a lot about the American justice system and how deeply embedded economic disparities are when it comes to accountability. Essentially, the poor are expected to be more accountable for their actions while the wealthy are viewed as inherently respectable (especially if they’re white). Being from what people view as a “good” family can go a long way. This opens the door for more opportunities and the right to be viewed as non-threatening even when your actions prove otherwise. This is exactly why racial and economic inequalities are an on-going battle.

The next time someone tells you that there is no such thing as “White” privilege or elitism, ask them why Affluenza is a viable defense but Povertenza isn’t.

JamAllen2-nb-smallJessica Ann Mitchell is the founder of OurLegaci.com & BlackBloggersConnect.com. To reach JAM, email her at OurLegaci@gmail.com.

Follow OurLegaci on Facebook at Facebook.com/OurLegaci.

496 thoughts on “Please Excuse Davontaye, He Suffers From Povertenza”

  1. I say we make “Povertenza” the new word for 2014. They don’t care what happens to our kids but this boy got off scott free.

      1. How about drinking and driving is known to be illegal and be a high cause of death even in impoverished neighborhoods. The family needs to sue the OFFENDERS/KILLERS family as a wake up call. This is total bullshit. Jail time,rehabilitation combined then probation. You can JAM this up your ass.

      2. I’m all for making povertenza 2014’s hallmark cry of justice. Let’s stop punishing people for circumstances beyond their control and start working for real equality and revocation of white privilege.

      3. So, the solution is to get MORE guilty people out of suffering the consequences for their actions instead of putting an end to it? Instead of destroying affluenza we make 2 wrongs to equal a right???? disgusting way of thinking

  2. You know, I’m actually surprised that this shocked me. As a former probation officer, I saw this ALL of the time. However, if a defense attorney tried that crap in the system I worked in, he’d have been not just laughed out of the courtroom but sanctioned for contempt.

    Sadly, though, I’m afraid all the talk this incident may create, change nothing any time soon.

  3. I love this. So well written and to the point. This is such a tragic example of what we already know to be true: money and skin color matter more than facts in our justice system. Thank you for speaking up!

  4. The Affluenza defense is particularly ironic because that term comes from a book that was critiquing modern excesses of consumer capitalism.

    But yea, the criminal justice system in the US is criminally racist.

  5. Seems to me, the best cure for ‘affluenza’ would be a swift kick in the behind, and, for once, facing the consequences of one’s actions. Povertenzia, that might be a little harder to deal with, but we have to try.

  6. This is a very serious matter and aside from the fact that its an ongoing epidemic, it does not undercut the severity of the evil waged against black and brown skin. In all truth, it would have been better for those who are apart of the race committing these atrocities to have never been born.

    Psalms 92:4-7

    4 For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD; I sing for joy at the works of your hands. 5 How great are your works, O LORD, how profound your thoughts! 6 The senseless man does not know, fools do not understand, 7 that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.

    Psalms 58:1-5,9-11

    1 Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge uprightly among men? 2 No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands mete out violence on the earth. 3 Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward, and speak lies.
    4 Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears, 5 that will not heed the tune of the charmer, however skillful the enchanter may be.

    9 Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns— whether they be green or dry—the wicked will be swept away. 10 The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they bather their feet in the blood of the wicked. 11 Then men will say,
    “Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.”

    Jeremiah 5:26-30

    26“Among my people are wicked men who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch men.
    27 Like cages full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; they have become rich and powerful 28 and have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not plead the case of the fatherless to when it. they do not defend the rights of the poor. 29 Should I not punish them for this?” declares the Lord. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this? 30“A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?

    1. Wow Jake, Amy, and Sansa. This world is so corrupt because of human reasoning and selfishness. Finally when someone tries to bring in true wisdom and understand, he gets ridiculed for it? Not cool.

      1. True wisdom?? It’s fiction quoted from a fictitious book. Let’s stick to the facts. What do we know for sure? White/wealth privilege certainly exists in the US justice system, and it needs to end. Period.

  7. “Affluenza” was a clever play on “affluent” and “Influenza.” Povertenza doesn’t really work. You should’ve really went with something like Povertitis or Premature Improverization 😀 All of these would be in the family of PTSDs (Post-traumatic Socioeconomic Disorders).

  8. Those who get sleepy after eating heavy meals during their lunch break at work should tell their bosses that they demand an extra hour because of their “postprandial somnolenza”. Certainly bosses should understand that it’s not our fault that we fall asleep during those long meetings after hearty meals. Blame it on the MSG! Blame it on the heavy carbs!

  9. I would just like to point out that although skin color is a factor in economic disparity, i am white and i grew up in poverty as well… I just want to say that injustice is mostly because of financial reasons, not skin color, although i do agree that skin color is a factor in the likelihood of being born into wealth there are a lot of diverse ethnic backgrounds in low-income communities all across america, and those people suffer the same injustices as well. All in all, i agree with this article, but i do want to point out that as american people we are stronger when we stand together and the real enemy is the increasing gap between socio-economic classes, but hey i’m just a regular guy who is suffocating under the increasing profit/wage margin that “The 99 percent” of us are a victim of.

    1. False> “91% of D.C. Pot Charges Are Filed Against Black People, Only Six Percent Are Filed Against Whites.” Moreover, blacks have lower marijuana usage rates than whites.

      I am already cringing at the thought of potential comments trying to explain away this fact without the culprit being mainly racial bias.

      Please, If you read this and feel tempted to do just that, resist the urge. First follow the link below to understand why it is already widely accepted by researchers that the cause is mostly racial bias and not other intervening variables things (i.e blacks getting caught more, etc).

      http://pulse.law.ucla.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/Kang%20et%20al.,%20implicit%20bias%20in%20courtroom%202012.pdf

      1. First of all I would like to point out that not allowing counter points in a discussion is a very inefficient way to communicate, and I am not trying to argue. I just know that 95 percent of my family has been hopelessly trapped in the corrupt criminal justice system as well, as a result of poverty, domestic violence and self-preservation in violent neighborhoods. I’m sorry that this is such a point of contention for you that you cannot understand my point is not to argue about the presence of racism but to try and shed some light on why it is not getting better. I genuinely tried to follow your link but it is broken. I wish you the best and I apologize for any offense I may have caused to you, but I am not your enemy, I want to fix the problems ailing people who suffer as a whole.

      2. His point was not that racism doesn’t exist. It does. His point was that many different cultures and races suffer from poverty, and they are unfairly judged in courtrooms because of it.

    2. What a lot of black folks see here is wealth being used successfully as a defense to give a white kid a hall pass for a crime for which a black youth, regardless of financial status, would’ve been thrown *under* the jail. Would little Ethan Couch have got the same hall pass had he been rich and black? In California, maybe…but this was Texas.

  10. Thanks a lot for expressing all I wanted to say. This is sad and true. The American justice system severely punishes the poorer for doing the same things rich people do.

    1. The solution is don’t be, poor stop whining around and get to work. When you sat blahblah not everyone one can be rich this is not true. IF you are black or poor you can go to college with lots of aid. You can go to community college. You can work and put money aside to start a business or invest. You have control over you life. Yes, some have it better If you wanna have it better then make it better

  11. This story makes me sooooo angry!!! Not because of the justification of affluenza, but for the lack of justice for the families. This is like spitting on their graves. FOUR PEOPLE DIED!!! I hope they appeal the sentence and give him a much harsher one. Giving him 10 yrs probation only exacerbates what they are arguing. He was never punished for anything bad he did so when the time comes to actually serve a just punishment, he is not punished.

    1. The very last thing you want is to allow prosecutors to have sentences increased due to public outcry. Don’t you realize who that would directly affect the most? (hint: it isn’t people with money).
      We already incarcerate far too many people for far too long, this ridiculous case aside…

  12. Very interesting points made in your article. I will try and figure our a way to make it and your newly coined phrase a discussion item in an undergrad prelaw class I teach.

  13. Killing people while drinking, even though the act of drinking is on purpose, the killing is not. While robbing or possibly shooting someone is a direct act of one committing a crime. The person doing the latter is aware of the reward of what he will get by robbing the person. Some one drinking and then causing the death of someone, is in fact the result of deciding to drink and drive yes. But there was never a plan to harm someone else in the commission of driving. Big difference. Comparing apples and oranges. I do like that word though. I can see it being used in the future.

    1. I’m sorry but that just doesn’t fly. That’s why it’s usually called involuntary manslaughter or vehicular manslaughter because while he might not have had the intention to kill someone he did chose to drink (while under age mind you) and then get behind the wheel. Which is a crime, so he did kill someone while committing a crime. Those were his choices and those choices cost four people their lives. Everyone knows that if you drive drunk you may crash and hurt someone. Everyone. Just because he supposedly didn’t realize he would have to face consequences for his actions doesn’t mean he *shouldn’t* face those consequences. Ignorance is no excuse for the law. It’s not apples and oranges because killing someone while robbing them and killing someone while drinking and driving are both killing while committing a crime. Both have risks and everyone knows those risks, jail.

    2. To drunk drive, with intention to harm or no, is to acknowledge the risk of harming/ killing another person and to proceed to disregard it for the sake of personal convenience. Despite this, I personally can’t find it in me to condemn the kid. He took lives, there’s no shirking that. But he, like we all did at some point (in my case currently), suffers from “IAmATeenagerTheWorldIsMineIAmNotAccountableForMyActionsSoLongAsNobodyCatchesMeSoIDon’tNeedToConsiderAnythingAfterMeDoingThisAndBeforeMeGettingBustedYOLO.” We live in a world where teenagers do dumb things; at some point we are all forced to accept that and try our best to keep havoc to a minimum (I.e. parenting, counciling, legal intervention if all else fails). The kid simply didn’t deserve an ungodly sentence in prison for one awful night that’s probably going to haunt him somewhere down the line, end of story.

      It gets to be a problem when you realize that those same considerations are not taken for MINORS when it’s a toss up between human decency and “Money? Where?” It makes the matter worse when you consider that there are people on both sides of this system that bring an us-vs.-them mentality to the matter of a child’s future (honestly, how many posters do you think wanted that kid to suffer more because he was rich?).

      Bluntly, things are f$@!’ed up. Until the social climate changes to the point where across the board people can recognize that all children are our future and therefore everyone’s responsibility, those very children will continue grow up to resent portions of the world for shunning and judging them and they in turn will start to do the same to the next generation.

      Huh. I think I see a system here.

    3. The decision to drink and drive, with full knowledge of the potential and LIKELY consequence of harming oneself or others is the equivalent of a conscious disregard for human life.

      1. Very fair point. Even I have to admit that I do stop regarding things as important when I feel it convenient. With that being said, do you feel it wise to assume that every kid who messes up to this proportion feels like no one else mattered at the time? That they won’t feel some social consequence or personal guilt on top of what is sentenced to them? Life is long, and we pay for every second of it.

      2. Some people consider their actions more fully than others. That is, some may think “Yes, there is a risk to driving while I am drunk and people may get hurt, but I don’t really care.” Others may not bother to consider the risks. Either way, the punishment meted out by the law should act as both a deterrent (to those who do think) and a lesson (to those who don’t think).
        Also, some people feel guilt for the harm they cause to others and some don’t. Those who feel guilt may be helped by the punishment of the law as a way to “pay” for their “sins”. Those who don’t feel guilt may be helped to at least regret their actions.
        The lack of consequences in this case does not help anyone, least of all the defendant.

  14. Reblogged this on Brown Girl. Wild World. and commented:
    Was discussing this yesterday over Facebook. Sadly, some people who have never had to wear black or brown skin just can’t accept the truth for what it is… And I understand. It’s hard to accept the harsh reality of this justice system. We want to believe so much that this it is fair but the harsh TRUTH is money and affluence talks and everything else walks…. right into jail.

  15. This is more of a “I have money so let me buy my way out of jail” issue than “I am a rich white person” issue. Rich black people are treated differently than poor white folk as well (think Kobe Bryant). Let’s not make everything an issue of racism when there are clear racist incidents that deserve condemnation (which this is not).

  16. The plight of the Black Man and Woman in the US is explained in the Hebrew Old Testament Bible. The book of Deuteronomy Chapter 28 verses 15 thru 68 will tell of the curses that Blacks have to endure while here in the land of our bondage, spiritual Egypt, because of our disobedience to The Most High and Creator YAH. These curses fit no other people but the original Hebrews, the Black man and woman.

  17. Excellent! You eloquently expressed my sentiments and thoughts. I may be white on the outside, but I am human on the inside, and I am outraged at this blatant ‘money talks’ outcome. My fervent hopes are that the situation is a wake-up call on several levels and that justice prevails for the victims’ families. My thanks to you! I will share!

  18. Thank you so much for such a well written and provocative article. Provocative not in the scandalous sense, but in the way that it is truly meant; provoking self analysis and questioning everything. Thank you thank you thank you.

  19. You hit the nail on the head right here ===> “let’s start putting youth from disadvantaged backgrounds in treatment facilities.’ I have a good friend with experience working with youth from all backgrounds who says the only difference in Black and White violence crime statistics is that white kids get medicated for their mental and psychological issues and Black kids don’t. Thus more untreated Black youth and adults act out and over react to their enviroments’ stimuli violently.

  20. I think racism factors in on several levels. I fear that the judge, knowing that people of color make up a disproportionate percentage of men in prison, and knowing that the safety of prisoners is not protected, could not put this blonde boy in prison. This says a lot about how unofficial torture is used by the prison system as a means of control.

  21. It’s a shame that people are ignoring Povertenza. As stages develop it may even lead to Brokitis or Poorlaria, which I might add I suffer from myself, and nobody seems to care about this epidemic. It really crushed me to realize that even our health concerned Medical industry hasn’t stepped in and issued proper medication for patients with these symptoms.
    My heart goes out to this victim of affluenza,
    better the 4 innocent people than him.

  22. Both are nothing more than irrelevant excuses. The Texas judge should lose her seat on the Bench (she has announced a 2014 retirement), the defense lawyers did what they always do and we wind up with some BS that is akin to (If the glove does not fit (while wearing latex surgical gloves), you must acquit.)

    Actions have consequences and consequences need to be experienced to bring change.

  23. Ha, look at all the outrage at someone trying to blame their crimes on their situation BECAUSE HE WAS WHITE.

    Black people do this EVERY DAY. And this article isn’t helping. It’s time that individuals are held responsible for their actions, regardless of their skin color and their alleged poor or affluent “advantage” in life.

  24. I would love to see this turn from a black underprivileged/white privileged to a simple underprivileged/privileged argument. Then I could support it. This is only going to drive the separation between blacks and whites further. There are black people who reap the benefits of affluenza and there are plenty of white people who suffer from povertenza. Public officials and politicians who accept bribes are the ones who should suffer the worst punishment, regardless of race!! Come on people, let’s put the argument where it really should be–greedy peoples’ pockets!!!

  25. I find this clever but then confusing. Is your anger keeping you from missing the crack in the door — a judge starting to realize that some people whose upbringing taught them to “only live for today” can live productive lives if given a second chance and serious guidance? While still subject to biases, our legal system is also constrained by precedence and cracks once opened can be wedged wider, even if not as quickly as desired. A good PR move might be to celebrate “genius” lawyers and “enlightened” judges and make others want to win accolades and expand the reform rather than kick the ones who opened the door and calling them hypocrites. Just a thought. And because this woman is saying something really important http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSR4xuU07sc and her story could be studied for its lessons.

  26. Thank you for eloquently saying what’s been sputtering on my tongue since seeing Couch on the news. I am appalled that this happened, although it’s not the first time (and won’t be the last) that the affluent get off scot-free for having deep pockets (the OJ Simpson trial comes to mind).

    It overlaps with the “white privilege” issue but is not exclusive to it….however, yes, combining “non-white people are scary” attitudes with “poor people are scary” attitudes leads to even worse conditions for all of us.

  27. This is not just typical of white individuals. Let’s look at Jesse Jackson Jr. “Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison Wednesday for illegally spending $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items, the judge scolding the son of the famed civil rights leader for using the money as a “piggy bank” and sentencing his wife to a year as well.” He basically stole the money and only got 2 1/2 years. Now you have Blagojevich all he did was basically shoot his mouth off. “After he left Freddy’s, the man who once was Illinois’ highest-ranking politician went directly to Englewood Federal Correctional Institution, reporting in at about 12:45 p.m. Central Standard Time. There he began serving a 14-year sentence, his campaign days over.” So this is about entitlement and race is not a factor in my opinion. The system is broke and needs to be fixed. It needs to be equal and non-discriminatory. My dad used to say. You commit the crime you pay the time.

  28. Would you classify Obama as privileged?…. I wonder if he’s the only priviledged non white man in the world… or is he white because he’s privileged? Clearly there is a large majority of white privilege, but race is not what divides us.

  29. I think it might be more accurate to say that race is a secondary factor to entitlement – however it happens. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a genuine factor, even more so for this kid’s black counterparts. But if “affluenza” is a valid excuse, parents should be in jail for child abuse because they willfully infected their children with a disease which led to the deaths of four people. Maybe both should be in jail – parents and child.

    1. I agree! Somebody has to be responsible and if its not the child’s fault then the patents are at fault according to the defense

      1. totally agree – I hope the news media keep up the Affluenza news until either this young man is held responsible for his actions (and they ARE his) or his parents are held responsible in some manner.

    2. Race is not secondary to class/entitlement, it’s another facet of social stratification that is intrinsically linked to other facets–no facet is primary over another. Read on whiteness are property and capital, we actually have more spending power than black people with the same incomes.

      1. That spending power comment makes zero economic sense. I would like to see an actual Forbes article or math equation or citation or something.

        Wealth and culture/socioeconomy is absolutely more of a damning factor than race, and if you just think about it you’ll see why. Take this scenario: a well-dressed, wealthy good-looking young black man (who probably gets straight As and comes from a “good” family) approaches you late at night on the street, dressed in a button-down shirt and tie or at the very least a polo and khakis, and he asks you the time in “perfect” polite English. Now, a dirty-looking white guy with his pants hanging down around his knees, a du-rag wrapped around his head, long-hair and a cigarette in his hands slouches towards you asking you the same question in slurred, cursing speech. Who makes you uncomfortable?

        Most people, regardless of race, answer the white guy, if they really think about it. Most importantly, MOST PREJUDICED WHITE PEOPLE would answer the white guy JUST because of the way he’s dressed.

        There’s nothing wrong with wearing a du-rag, wearing your pants kind of down, or having long hair as a male; smoking’s legal if he’s over 18, and lots of nice people curse. Middle and upper-class Americans just have cultural stigmas against those things. Now, my pants-down-white guy is wearing a stereotype that’s unfortunately been applied to black people because inequalities in American history have put a disproportionate number of black people in the lower socio-economic tiers. But today’s prejudices against black youth really are related to Povertenza, not “black-enza.”

        Now put the well-dressed black youth and the pants-down white guy in court, and you see what I’m getting at. I’m not saying that, all things equal, a well-dressed educated black man and a well-dressed educated white man will have the same outcomes, because honestly, those cases don’t comprise the majority of the “unjust sentencing” stories you hear about, so we don’t know. Look back at the news over this year: in almost every major case of unjust sentencing against a black person where the black person LOST, the black person came from a lower socio-economic tier. Every time the black person comes from a higher socio-economic tier (like when the stupid white policeman tried to arrest a black Harvard professor entering his own house), there’s a better outcome (the stupid white policeman got in trouble). All things equal, class is a much more damning factor because we still judge by appearances. We’ve all taken classes and heard in school that racism’s bad, and that’s made a difference in how the country thinks. But no one goes around teaching the kids about classism, which is arguably a deeper wound against the black community. Instead, we’ve got wealthy and middle-class folks white AND black telling their kids that poor black people just didn’t work hard enough, rather than trying to give a kid a hand.

        Couch got off because of affluenza. No one on the defense said he should get off because he’s white. I think that’s very telling about where our court system’s come from, and how far our society still has to go before it finds true equality.

    3. The solution is don’t be, poor stop whining around and get to work. When you sat blahblah not everyone one can be rich this is not true. IF you are black or poor you can go to college with lots of aid. You can go to community college. You can work and put money aside to start a business or invest. You have control over you life. Yes, some have it better If you wanna have it better then make it better

      1. You Must be Crazy, When i was in high school, my school expanded the district which allowed kids from farther cities enroll and when i tell you the kids from poorer school had no clue what a projector was, they had no clue of how to enroll into college or who to ask about it, The had teachers giving passing grades even though most of the students were not there or honestly passing students. Hell even when some of those students were legit passing students, they graduated high school only to find out that they have been taught things 4 years behind what they should have been taught. They didn’t know what financial aid was or even a encouraging adult to explain. Poor kids essentially have NOTHING. So what they have to do is work 10 times as hard as a wealthy or middle class kid just to get half of the success that kids receives just from the people his parents know, and i have seen this first hand. A rich white kid in my grade wrecked his car 4 times in 2 years and got a new on every time and had another guy do most of his work, and it did not matter that he did not learn anything because his dad gave him a job with the company he works for. So please don’t say you have control of your life, because most poor kids don’t, They are taught by what they see and hear, and most of the time its things no child should see. But a rich kid can have everything anyone can imagine, even get away with murder and you think poor kids don’t have an excuse PLEASE!

      2. Solution is to not be poor? Are you serious? Either get your head out of your a$$ or the silver spoon out of your mouth. YOU are whats wrong with the world.

      3. There are people who go to work each and every day who still don’t have the opportunity to put money aside to invest in businesses, because their money is going towards bills like the mortgage, electricity, car payments, food, etc. There are many people in this nation who don’t just sit on their butts and complain all the time. But the sad reality is that there are many people who live from paycheck to paycheck, who don’t have the luxury of saving as much as they could. Like for example in North Carolina, there are many teachers who have degrees, that go to work each and every day, and have to deal with 30-40 kids, but yet get paid nothing.

      4. You are so closed minded and need to get out of your couch and really look go outside and take a look at the world. First off, there are less and less full time jobs and more part time jobs today compared to two decades ago because corporations are trying to save money and cut benefits that a full time gets. Without a decent salary, most poor people are living pay check to pay check, no way they can afford to go to college and not work for some. Some people live in the most dangerous areas and have to maybe walk or take the bus which could be life threatening to them because they cannot afford a car or gas. So you can say that staying at home is safer to some of those people. Same goes for students, sometimes, it is safer to be at home than to go to school. I have talk to most of these people first hand and understand why they do not have control over their life.

  30. I don’t think either should be allowed. I understand that people come from different backgrounds, but ignorance is not an excuse. I don’t care if you are privileged or impoverished, if you commit a crime you are responsible for the outcome. Lawyers who use these types of defenses should be disbarred. This is petty and disgusting. The only miscarriage of justice in either of these cases is that the judge allowed this to be used as a defense.

    1. I’d say the chance of creating a change in the poor child by sending him or her to treatment, and then to do community service related to the crime committed is better than that of creating a change in the wealthy child who is accustomed to getting out of trouble. Why? Because, first, the child from a poverty situation isn’t expecting much kindness in life. He is used to feeling helpless. It’s likely that’s what he’s acting against, and angry at. With the feeling that, for once, somebody, a group of somebodies, actually seemed to care about him, maybe he can look at his community service, and the result of what he did, and feel some sympathy for those to whom he caused hurt and pain. Part of recovery is making amends, and this would be one thing that would aid in that part of recovery, as well as part of what little restitution is possible. The fact is, there is nothing that will undo the pain, the injuries, the dying in these things. Not the wealthy families’ money, or the poor families’ emprisoned children. Those aren’t justice, as community service in an ER, or a morgue, or a rehab clinic for patients with permanent injuries would be for a youth offender. Those are revenge, pure and simple. And they don’t bring anyone back or engage any offender in learning anything about what they did wrong.

  31. B.S i hate when people get all ” a black person would never get away with that” your racist if you think that its cause the boys parents are rich and well conected. people it doesnt come down to race any more these days, its all about money and connections! and the quick you people quit being so racially butt hurt you might see that…

      1. I second that, K. Josh, you need to pick up some very basic statistics about what colour bodies fill our prison system and what colour bodies live in the most impoverished neighbourboods in this country. Racism is real. Whites are at the top of the food chain and get cut unearned slack in just about every facet of life you can imagine. Unearned.

      2. Definitely, as a poor white man I’ve been driving around without the year sticker on my car since 10/2012 and a busted headlight/turn signal for the last three months and I drive between two large metropolitan areas, quite often at night and in excess of 80 miles an hour, and not in the best of areas either. I have yet to be pulled over. I constantly drive 50 or over in a 40 mile zone two and from work, part of that is a school zone which is technically 25 mph. Again, I have yet to be pulled over for speeding or a fix it ticket, and I’ve had cops follow me for several blocks so I know they ran my plates and saw that I was legal. If I were black I’m pretty sure I’d be pulled over constantly until I fixed the light and put my sticker on.

      3. most crimes are committed by blacks period. Maybe if African American men would stand up and be responsible for their kids things would change for African Americans. Until then keep listening to hip hop gangsta rap and blaming whitey, only a individual can change

      1. Drew, we expect an answer. You’ve got nothing to say for the class/racial biases that continue to let rich people and white people get off the hook on variety of social and legal issues when it wouldn’t be the same for their poorer or black counterparts.

      2. Pardon me, but that isn’t as clever as you imagine it to be; in fact it makes it look as though you are the one with the thinking problem. If she can’t read English to read your reply, then how is she to read your snarky remark? Logic, if fails you.

    1. B.S. I hate when people get all ‘racism doesn’t exist anymore’ especially when they are WHITE and will never know what true racism feels like! When you people start admitting that racism is real and wrong then maybe just maybe Black people can fully get past it…

      1. It may be a black issue, but not a race issue. You see so many other “minorities”, that work hard and succeed and out perform the white counter parts. Asians from every poor and impoverished part of the world make a successful go of it here the land of opportunity, Hispanics, Indians and other cultures and races’ also become successful here in the USA. Many came here with nothing. So why cant the poor souls that are born here make ago of it. Many in the ghettos have applied themselves and made a successful life. What does it take?

      1. And its the usage of the term “playing the () card” by people like you that keep racism alive and well, Daf. You can’t offer a single valid counterpoint to what the author said because she was speaking the truth….rich people and white people still get biased treatment in their favor and it’s disgusting. That kid wouldnt have got such a light sentence if he were poor or a minority and you know it.

    2. To have that response to this case in particular is just weird. No one is speculating that the boy was let off because he comes from a privileged background–“I come from a privileged background” was his actual, honest to God defense (I suffer from Affluenza) and the Judge gave him probation because he felt that he DID suffer from Affluenza–which is simply a condition of being rich. This isn’t speculation, this isn’t just “Oh look, a white boy got off and black boys never do.” They flat out said, “You don’t go to jail because you’re rich.” And there doesn’t seem to be any recent precedent for a judge granting leniency because someone was poor. You’re just flat out wrong. Read up on this case.

      1. You are right about allot of what you said, but, the judge was female. I live here and have been following this case since the tragedy happened. This kid has shown NO remorse and his parents are RICH. His father is paying over 50,000.00 for his son to spend 6 months in a country club rehab center in California. Beach front property. Another part of the story that is not being carried on into the National News is that the parents are divorced and this kid has been showered with ‘presents’ from his absentee rich father, including the brand new truck that killed those people. Another point in this story that has not made National News is that the mother of one of the victims begged the judge to go lenient on this kid, because it would not bring her daughter back and he was so young there was no point in ruining his life too! I don’t think this kid suffers from Aluenza.. I think it is Sociopathy. He has no conscience. He does not seem to care what he did to those people and or his own friends. That little punk makes me sick!

    3. You have lost your damn mind but that shows you don’t have the capacity to walk in another man’s shoes…I have experienced the system and I am far,far from broke…My race definitely was against me…luckily a technicality happened because I was definitely innocent of the crime and the charges were finally dismissed after a year of BS!!!!

    4. Lil Wayne, T.I., Vick, Plaxico Buress, Wesley Snipes are all way richer than this kid, never murdered anyone, and they still went to jail. Try another excuse

    5. My position, and that of many others probably here on this forum, is that money and connections are still linked to race. You would have a freed slave act as if everything was fine after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or perhaps the Emancipation Proclamation.

      I want you to acknowledge that if a group of people were barred from holding jobs, or office, or voting, or having decent education for decades that this would cause differences in their economic opportunity long after discriminatory laws were supposedly done away with because the prevailing view in society remains that certain people are just not quite equal at some level.

      I’m not going to call you names. I want to help you understand this position.

  32. Comparisons like those are stupid. The author makes it seem like there are no non-black impoverished children. Looks like just another excuse to point fingers at people. Take a stand, but don’t always play the black card for everything. Yes, both of those are stupid, as Kate mentioned above, but there are also white, Hispanic, etc. kids who live in less than desirable conditions (me being one of them). What about them? Why do you make it about just black impoverished children? ‘Cause it’s easier.

      1. Because she specifically said, “The next time someone tells you that there is no such thing as “White” privilege…”
        That’s why!

    1. here’s a question for you to consider then…would you rather just be impoverished or black and impoverished? miss me with your privileged bs. What’s easier about acknowledging that being black affords you so many less privileges than being white? You can understand that being poor puts you at a lesser advantage but can’t grasp the same for being black? Look up statistics about how when white and black people commit the same crime, black people statistically get handed longer and harsher punishments while the white people sometimes get little to no punishment. “Don’t always play the black card for everything” How about go fuck yourself. How many situations where a black person has been killed (unarmed) and the defense looks for reasons to demonize a DEAD person. How about how Adam Lanza was the quiet, friendless boy and Trayvon was the thug. Which one killed children and adults and which one was killed? Listen, in your defense you’re someone who’s never noticed how badly we (yes, I am black and you can use that in the face of cold hard stats – read that facts – all you want to dismiss my point) have it. I would love to NEVER have to play the black card as you call it – as if people like you don’t always dismiss my very existence as a CARD to plat- but the fact of the matter is that we live in a country…a world where white supremacy is prevalent and shoved in our faces.

      1. Maybe you would be better off if you make an actual effort instead of pointing fingers at people and pitying yourself. How many privileges do you get? Don’t get me started on affirmative action. Aren’t we all equal? Isn’t that what you are fighting for? Then why are you asking for more and more privileges? That just makes you a huge hypocrite.

        Point is that in this particular case, you should focus on the core – how absurd it is regardless of the person’s ethnicity, rather than twist it as ‘white people are bad’. But I’m not surprised, always looking for the easy way out (pointing ethnic differences).

      2. John,
        It is such a shame when white people do not acknowledge their privilege. . .in turn highlighting their obvious ignorance! Affirmative action is in place for a reason. . .because we are only 50 years past some of the most horrible acts of violence against innocent people of color. (Four young girls targeted and killed in the bombing of a CHURCH comes to mind?!?) In MOST of the crimes committed during the civil rights era (only 50 to 60 years ago) no one was EVER brought to justice!?! Why WOULDN’T black people feel that there is an unjust slant towards white privilege?! (Not in every case. . .nothing is in EVERY case!!)
        We AREN’T all equal in many cases. . . I’m sorry that the truth offends you. Commenting that the previous poster should “work for it” instead of “pitying themselves” is another red flag of your ignorance. There are millions of strong, affluent, hardworking men and women of color that have to work HARDER than you or I ever imagined to dispel myths and stereotypes and be considered viable candidates. And even then many people with your mindset make comments like, “she’s really smart for a black lady. . . He’s a great business man even though he’s black.”
        You take offense as if she was saying “white people are bad.” It makes you sound even more guilty. Her intent was not that “white people are bad” simply that inequality is still a fact.
        People like you say, “why do “THEY” (already alienating by defining yourself as the opposing party) get BET. . .there’s no WHITE entertainment television?! FOOLISH. . .there is. . .it’s just called t.v. . . .pretty much EVERY channel?!? Try looking at greeting cards. . .unless it’s the “mahogany” brach created by hallmark. . .every face is white!?! There are examples like these all around us!!

        And YES. . . I AM WHITE. But I’m not blind or confused!! It is more offensive to deny the existence of the reality of racism then to bluster and balk at the mention of it’s presence. It implies that black people are delusional or whiners (as you put it). Nothing could be more offensive!

        Again, it has been 50-60 years. . .hundreds of unsolved crimes and deaths. . .and still no one is paying for it?! The families are still with us. . .some in their 60’s and 70’s and they are conditioned/encouraged by society to forget and “move on”?! Still. . .

      3. @John It’s evident that she’s advocating for the general Negro public, not for her particular case. Get that straight. Furthermore, being black alone in the United States does afford you less privileges and rights to some extent. Cases in point: Oprah’s denied handbag purchase. Trayon Christian’s pounding skepticism of his affording a $349 belt. Trayvon Martin. Broadnax’s imprisonment because the marksmen’s weaponry skills weren’t up to par that day. Any of these people impoverished? No. That is part of the unfortunate reality.
        In this particular case, Mr. Couch is five years away from his drinking age. He mowed four people over. All of them dead. The facts obviously scream injustice, but apparently he’s above the law today. He deserves to be imprisoned, but is he? Where’s the equality again? If equality was a universal belief, the defense lawyers wouldn’t have used Affluenza as their argument. Moreover, because this ‘equality’ is what blacks (and other disadvantaged minorities) are fighting for, you don’t need to second-guess that they deserve more privileges. Regarding the ‘malevolence of ‘white people”, analyze the ratio of ethnicities specifically within the US judicial system (not in general). Let me know how heavy of an influence the minorities have in verdicts. Go do your research and try tightening those loopholes.

        If you deem this as some desperate defense to her comment, view it as you wish, I couldn’t care less. The fact remains that Negroid status is a catalyst for potential disservice and equality has an odyssey to go in attaining a harmonious balance.

      4. @ John actually affirmative action is the worse example of black privilege you could’ve cited. After all, affirmative action has had the strongest effect on white women (Remember AA applies to race, disabilities and gender). African Americans in college have seen very little increases in attendance and in the employment market remain twice as likely to be unemployed as whites. During the same time, white women have exploded in college attendance and the marketplace. Affirmative action by the data helps white woman more than any other cohort. White privilege is “real” and ever present. Even I, an Ivy League graduate from Dartmouth am unemployed (I’m black by the way). Studies show that while highly qualified blacks benefit little from their enhanced qualifications, whites certainly do. I see it with my friends and my peers and its not all caused by overt racism; it goes well beyond that.

      5. What gets me about articles like this is how Whites always comment about ‘ black cards’ and ‘white inequality’ where they know that they get lighter sentences, they don’t suffer from racial profiling, they are not shot just because, and they are not targeted as thugs but yet everyday, there is news of them shooting and killing (each other) by the multiples…then they want sympathy and understanding….. Whites have been playing the white card for centuries and they are too selfish to understand other cultures with issues

        1. @luvrina CL: that’s the whole problem. . .some white people don’t understand or believe that there IS a “white card”! The sad part about a conversation like this though is that it causes us to speak in generalizations. It’s the whole nature of the argument. . .large scale generalizations. But there are white people who believe in the struggle and understand that we can never FULLY understand.

      6. @Alex – I agree with everything you said except for the Oprah handbag point. She was denied entry into a store after it was closed in Paris, so that wouldn’t prove racism or racism in the U.S. That, in fact, was an unfortunate example of “Affluenza” as she felt she deserved to have the store reopened for her simply because of her status and wealth. Oprah has suffered from racial discrimination, but that was not one of those times.

        While this statement, “The next time someone tells you that there is no such thing as “White” privilege or elitism, ask them why Affluenza is a viable defense but Povertenza isn’t.” is making a false assumption that white people are all affluent and not at all poverty-stricken, I know that there is such a thing as white privilege. Just as there is hetero privilege and male privilege. This kid is a wealthy, white, straight male. He had all the right cards in his hand. There are plenty of poor white kids who commit stupid crimes, but it is true and likely that the black or Hispanic kid who is poor and committed one crime would be treated more harshly than the white kid who is poor and committed the same crime. It’s a very tragic state of affairs and, while we’re making progress in this country, this ridiculous and transparent ruling just set us back decades. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why this kid is given compassion for his parents never stepping up to the plate just because they are wealthy while so many other kids aren’t given any compassion or hope when they’re parents never stepped up to the plate and suffered through poverty. Why is the line of demarcation here an economic status that only affords endless opportunity when the lack of parental guidance is exactly the same? The rich kid had every opportunity but thumbed his nose at it and wound up ruining countless lives while the poor kids have been taught that they have no hope or chance, but would probably embrace a second chance and someone being there to help them find opportunity.

      7. I acknowledge your existence, however, instead of whining about how ‘ALL black people’ are getting a raw deal all the time, why don’t you try to do something constructive to change it? Using profanity, discredited your statement. You had me until you did! An educated person (of any color) can have this conversation without resorting to profanity.

        I do acknowledge that allot of the ‘other races’ get off easier than the black people who have committed the same crime, but, how many ‘other’ crimes has that same person committed, compared to the ‘other races’?

        I don’t think this punk got off because of his race. I think his RICH father bought a judge. Plain and simple!

    2. @ dionne I wish I could hug you! 🙂 and to John the author barely mentions race it’s about impoverished children period! It’s never about pointing a finger it’s about stating facts. You’ll never fully be able to empalize with impoverished people until you open your eyes! Impoverishment is real and the life long suffering( mentally, emotionally and financially) that kids go through as a result is also real. Until those aspects are addressed and/or changed a child’s mind set is greatly altered! So punishment of any sort may not be fitting for that child. That is the only point trying to made.

    1. It’s a play off “affluenza” which is a play of “influenza” which is the flu, and not even a mental / emotional ailment. The lawyers who represented Couch were jokers. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re just as shocked as we are that the judge bought it.

  33. This is such a disturbing situation. I have read of other hit-and-run or DUI situations where a teen was at the wheel and someone died, in Texas. Every kid I’ve EVER heard of committing these crimes – be they black or white – ALL faced prison time and community service … and NONE of them killed FOUR people and maimed two others! This judge MUST have been bought. Something is seriously wrong in this case.

    1. Unfortunately, because we elect our judges in Texas and they depend on political contributions to gain and then remain on the bench, they are all “bought” one way or the other. I hope this Tarrant County Judge is thoroughly and publicly investigated and voted out of office soon. I am not holding my breath.

      1. Unfortunately, she announced her retirement at the end of her term this summer. Her term ends next December. Which all makes me even more certain that she accepted money for this ruling, because she didn’t ever have to worry about being reelected again.

  34. Actually the author DOES account for races other than Black. You just chose to see only Black. She mentions, “black and poor youth”, not poor, black youth. Furthermore, she mentions, “…there are millions of under-privileged youth across America…” That says nothing about what race they are. Are you then assuming that all under-privileged youth in America are Black? Maybe you should re-read the article. Is is possible that the image of the young Black fellow tainted your mind and made you assume that the entire article was about young Black people? If it had been a picture of a young Hispanic guy and the author’s head shot depicted a Hispanic woman, would you assume that she was speaking about young Hispanics in the entire article? Answer the questions to yourselves and open your minds. Of course she does not believe that ONLY Black people are oppressed or disadvantaged. Of course “povertenza” should not be a real defense. She’s making the point that classism allows for absurd privileges. Why do YOU make everything black and white? Yea.

    1. Correctly analysed! and oh btw for those of you in denial,,, in this country, if you’re not white, you’re black, that includes hispanics, indians, chinese and all other “races”. Accept it. Embrace it.

    2. Because she specifically said, “The next time someone tells you that there is no such thing as “White” privilege…”
      That’s why we’re thinking it!

      1. “The next time someone tells you that there is no such thing as “White” privilege or elitism”

        Please finish the quote. She’s saying race is an issue and class is an issue, which makes sense because this country has a long history of trying to limit the economic mobility of minority races. You only chose to see the part about race. That’s entirely on you.

  35. I have a lot of sorrow for people who grew up in environments where their circumstances taught them that doing wrong was right. This can happen in any class for any race. I feel almost guilty that I grew up in a family that was really loving and definitely disciplined us and encouraged us to make good decisions and love people no matter their ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, and even to love people (wisely) who weren’t kind to us. Yeah, of course, it’s not that hard for me to obey the law, treat people well, etc. etc… but I could’ve been born 10 houses down and be strung out on meth, stealing from people, abusing people, and that would seem normal or even necessary.

    A man abuses his son and wife… that son hates his father for it, yet grows up and eventually does the same thing… I feel awful for that little boy being abused, and know that he had little chance of escaping that fate, but it absolutely DOES NOT make it ok or excusable for him to abuse a child or a woman. I think it takes a lot of caring individuals with a desire to step into peoples’ lives and see good change, for things to actually change. We don’t need to wait til that boy grows up and starts hurting someone to help him. I am really challenged by and thankful for people who give of their time and finances… thankful for people who don’t have money that just shift their focus to helping other people with the resources they do have. Lives change, neighborhoods change, but it takes a LOT of time and a knowledge that it is not going to be easy, but it’s absolutely worth it. What I have seen of this has mostly been through a church that teaches us that EVERYBODY has incredible worth, no matter what they look like or believe or define themselves by, and that because we have been loved when we were seemingly unlovable, we have no right not to love and help others. BTW- that church is the most beautiful mix of ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses and we are constantly taught that we’re to love everybody, no matter what, and it is evident that there’s something good and different–everbody is welcomed and it gorgeous. Homeless people and business moguls are true friends, and we all pool from what we have to loves others. Whether we grew up in privilege or grew up in a bad situation (which, honestly… everybody has their mess, and I don’t know a single family that doesn’t have dysfunction–but my “troubles” pale in comparison to kids that grow up in gangs etc.), anyone can help someone else.

    More and more I consider how little wealth means. It’s easy to want to chase after it and make that the main goal… but it’s not satisfying. There are lots of rich people who are miserable, so wealth can never be said to equate happiness. I will absolutely say though, that when I stop focusing on myself and only worrying about my (little) problems, and start loving people without making them earn it instead, WHEW… pure joy. And it’s hard… I’ve been worn out, cried myself to sleep many nights because my heart was aching for a friend who wasn’t ready to give up the drugs that were destroying her life & her child’s, ached for a family getting robbed at gunpoint by the neighbors they were trying to help, but BLOWN AWAY that the family’s response was to pray for them and keep helping. I’ve seen a group of poor 20-somethings rally their finances to take a drug dealer’s dog to the vet after the dog was shot when a deal went wrong. I’ve also seen a man living in a homeless shelter, with no teeth, serving at my church (and they helped him get new teeth) and him giving me a beautiful old guitar because he knew I wanted to learn, but couldn’t afford to buy one… just out of the blue he offered, and that is my absolutely most prized possession though it would’ve only cost $100, brand new. The value has nothing to do with the pricetag. He also just hit 7 years sober and I cried like a little baby. I’m just saying, everybody has great worth, every freaking person… and we can all make choices to improve the lives of people around us. That has provided more joy for me than any money or power or fame… and it’s worth living & dying for. Good change happens, and we get to be the ones to make it happen if we’re willing and read to accept that it isn’t easy, but so worth it.

    So yeah, peace on earth and all that jazz 😉

  36. UGH damn this judge! I am college student who got three weeks in jail for a DUI where no one, not even me was harm; the car was actually parked and they did not see me driving. Barely over the limit. But being poor as I am I was unable to get a lawyer or legal counsel other than the often overworked useless public defenders. I am Hispanic but I don’t know if that matter to much; not sure everyone can tell by just looking at me but maybe by looking at my last name.

  37. excellent post!! Thank you for your insightful viewpoint. I thought the Ethan Couch story was from the Onion at first. I can’t believe this kid is going to get away literally with murder. We need to do more to lift disadvantaged people up and set them on a path to success.

  38. It is not quite as cut and dry, yes,all of these kids need justice.Those who are guilty of crimes need rehabilitation and reintegration into society. That is absolutely true. But in the case of Ethan Couch, it ism my understanding that the judge gave him a sentence that would make him more accountable, not less. If convicted and sentenced, he could be out in two years, and free to do whatever. With the sentence he received, he is watched and in hand for ten years and if he messes up he is in prison for ten. What is wrong is not his sentence, but that others who also deserve to be served justly are not…

    1. The judge could have given him a sentence of five years (until age 21) then revisited the sentence at that time. It’s not a matter that just because he’s a juvenile, he’d be out in 2. He could have been sentenced to spend the entirety of his time until age 18 in a treatment facility, then begin serving a juvenile justice sentence of an additional several years, with the option to go to a corrective treatment facility or minimum security facility for adults at that time.

    2. Or whatever… it is a strange system… that limits a conscientious judge on one hand, and has people in prison for life for breaking archaic prohibition laws and threes strikes on the other… what a mess it is.

  39. You have a WONDERFUL article..I loved it..and then you RUIN it with ONE word..”WHITE”
    I know it may seem like this..but imagine if it were a rich black teenager with a similar “affluent” upbringing, same terrible accident, and same disgusting defense. Would you be just as outraged!? I pray that you write out of DEEP convictions fueled by more than RACISM.

    David Miculescu

    1. It’s not only about racism, it’s about the impoverished. IF it was about some rich black kid the same principals would apply. But the likely hood that a black kid would even get off with 10 good lawyers is minimum, please please please research some everyday crimes, children and adult, all races. And come back and honestly tell me that white rich, or middle class wealthy people dont get lesser or jail time or probation than other impoverished or wealthy people or other races. Facts are facts!

    2. I and the author probably have similar conclusions that rich and black is still not as good as rich and white. Does wealth afford privilege regardless of race? Yes, it does. But does race hold you back at some level? I think it does.

      There are many correlational studies and experiments on this topic. Would you like to read them? Or do you just want to live in a colorblind world where no one can ever speak of the racist history of this country and its effects on life in America for blacks, whites, hispanics and other people of color and walks of life in present day?

    3. Can’t even imagine the the affluenza argument would work with a wealthy black boy. I’m white, but I live in a mixed race community and see it al the time. I have benefited from white privilege over and over. I’ve watched friends of color being treated differently. I’ve seen expectations for them be very different. And when my family brought our daughter’s black friend on vacation to a less diverse community? The difference was astounding.

      All poor people are treated as “less than”, which I think is the author’s point. But there is an additional “less than”category if a person is not white. If you’ve never observed white privilege, I suspect you don’t live in a very mixed community. (You plural, not dmciul in particular)

  40. Puff Daddy got away with murder. Ray Lewis got away with murder. OJ Simpson got away with murder. The common trait? They’re all WEALTHY.

    It’s not a black and white issue, it’s a CLASS issue. If it was a poor white kid, he would have been thrown in jail…just like if it was a 16 year-old elite black kid he probably also would have gotten off. The upper crust – the 1% – playing by a different set of rules is the issue. To the upper crust – the poor white man and the poor black man are the same.

    1. Puff Daddy, Ray Lewis nor OJ Simpson ever murdered anyone. Get your facts straight. George Zimmerman murdered someone, this Couch kid murdered 4 people, the D.C. snipers, Muhammad and Malvo murdered close to a dozen people. The difference…Zimmerman and Couch are free as they were the day before they committed their murders. Malvo is serving life with no parole and Muhammad was executed by lethal injection.

      1. You can’t refuse speculation for one group and then speculate on another. All evidence points at least to Lewis and Simpson being guilty and, yes, their wealth and celebrity got them out of the convictions. Zimmerman may have gotten away with murder, but no one else was there to see what transpired. He certainly didn’t approach someone on their doorstep and shoot them in the head without them laying a hand on him. But in all of this, I am speculating just as anyone else offering their opinion would be. The facts are only known by those three men: Lewis, Simpson, and Zimmerman. Therefore, you cannot say that Combs, Lewis, and Simpson didn’t murder anyone but that Zimmerman did. That is illogical.

    2. But you’re making it seem like income and class is divorced from race. It’s absolutely not. Racism is responsible for gross income inequality. See: Jim Crow laws.

      Does this make sense to you? If blacks were never able to take advantage of the Homestead Act in 1862 which was responsible for quite a bit of institutional wealth to whites and white immigrants, would that not have an effect on their wealth today?

      The effect of inherited wealth is too often underestimated. If you think affirmative action is somehow equivalent to reparations for slavery, I think you are sorely mistaken.

  41. Hear, hear! Let’s compare the sentences of young, black, disadvantaged youths to those of young, white, advantaged youths. Some things, horrid as they are, are obvious. Black youth, poor youth, uneducated youth, youth of parents who are not educated, affluent or white collar are treated far harsher than their counterparts when they interact with the judicial and correctional systems.

    And what do you think happens to an incarcerated youth in today’s prison system? Do you think they are rehabilitated and put on a path of success upon release? If you do, I have some lovely swamp land in Arizona I’d like to sell you.

  42. No one.. white, black, latino, asian, rich, poor, etc. should ever get away with a crime such as this. “Couch was shielded from personal responsibility his entire life. Discipline is not a word in his vocabulary.” If its not in his vocabulary, make it! He is responsible for 4 deaths… Affluenza should be tossed as a viable defense, and if you think there should be a defense called povertenza then you are delusional. There should be no easy out, for anybody! The system is corrupt, yes. But the system does work. So we should fix the system instead of changing the system with amendments and provisions protecting certain people.

    1. Agreed. If he is a victim of this “affluenza” then he should be denied the privilege of driving, carrying a weapon, being out past curfew, carrying money, etc. The judge basically determined that he has no conscience. Isn’t that sociopathy? Then he should be removed from society to protect us all from his lack of conscience.

  43. Fantastic! I would like to see someone go before the SAME white judge with a povertenza defense! How would she defend herself, if she rejected this excuse after accepting Affluenza? The thing is, I actually agree with the povertenza defense in cases such as those you describe. It makes sense to consider the stress of violence and other extreme factors. The affluenza defense does NOT hold up though, because the parents and child had a choice, and consistently and knowingly made the wrong choices.

  44. I hope he meets a not-so-kind person in a dark alley… soon. He deserves to pay for what he’s done. Obviously, the judge is corrupt. I don’t think it’s a racial issue, however.
    This kids parents must be monsters, also.

  45. Maybe inner-city minorities should stop blindly electing Democrats. All the worst urban places to live have been ruled by Democrats for decades.

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  47. I love this, and weather you think it’s about race or not. It’s a great eye opener to how far we still have to go with equality!

  48. HAHAHAH MUTHAFUTHAZ UZE THA TERM “THE BLAQQ CARD”… BUT MUTHAFUTHA…. THERE WOULD BE NO CARD II PLAY.. IF RACIZM DIDN’T XXIZIT.. JUZT BECAUZE SOME AREN’T THE REALITII IZ.. THIZ COUNTRY WUZ BUILT ON THE BACKZ OF SLAVEZ…. BLAQQ MEN AND WOMEN.. HOW COULD 1 THINK WE HAVE OVERCOME.. WHEN AMERIKKKANZ SHOW CONSISTANT RACIZT BEHAVIOUR… IF THERE IZ A PART OF THIZ LAND THAT SHOWZ UUUUUUU DIFFERENT.. THEN U NEED II TELL UZ ALL THE LOCATION… I HAVE WHITE N MY FAMM.. AND FRIENDZ I LOVE DEARLY… WE LOVE NOT H8…. LEARN AND NOT DISCRIMIN8…. UNDERSTAND, AND NOT JUDGE… THIZ HELL HOLE HAZ A LOOOOONG WAY TO GO STILL.. 4 GOD’z SAKE.. NO AMERICAN PRESIDENT HAZ EVER APOLOGIZED.. OR EVEN ADMITTED THE CRIMEZ THAT WERE COMMITTED AGAINZT BLAQQZ.. BUT ARE QUICK TO TELL UZ… AT THE TIME… IT WAZ LEGAL II HANG A NEGRO.. RAPE THE BLAQQ WOMAN AND KIDS.. CUT OFF PRIVATE PARTZ.. GIVE THE NATIVEZ THAT WERE HERE WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY B4 A WHITE FACE BLANKETZ FULL OF DISEAZE.. AND SLAUGHTER THE REAL FOUNDERZ… BUT.. MANAGE TO BE PROUD… SHAME ON U…

  49. Good Read, thanks for sharing. Just hours after reading your story, it was featured on Dateline. Were you aware that he not only killed 4 people but injured 9 others? One young boy still in high school is a paraplegic. His family plans to sue Ethan Couch family for 20 million. Also, Ethan Couth will serve time a treatment facility in California that looks very plush and cost 450,000 per a year. However, his attorney wanted us know that he would not be afforded the things that he’s use to, because he want have his Xbox or be able to drink or do drugs. Wow! That make me feel real good that justice is being served, for poor Ethan will not be able to play with his Xbox or do drugs, but he will live lavishly at the treatment center. Bull.com

    Also, the writer touch on the story of Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr, who imprisoned 5000 youth to long sentences for monetary kickbacks. People wake up; prisons are big businesses and our black kids are being locked up with unheard of sentences because the rich wants to get richer. Ethan took the lives of 4 people and he gets probation. Two young black men in Detroit were just sentenced to 124 years in prison for a series of robberies at Cellular phone stores. Nobody died, but they will do life in prison. Now I’m not saying what they did was right, but I am saying in Detroit people are trying to eat and they will do just about anything. Why, because of Povertenza.

  50. Money and Privilege can buy anything in this country, why do you think Bernie Madoff is spending 150 years in a resort hotel? There are 2 Americas, Real America where only rich white conservatives are allowed and Old America were the 99% toil to death for Real America and are expected to appreciate the opportunity.

  51. This isn’t about race, its about money and power, The truth is that you can buy your way out of anything. There’s nothing good in this story. The kid gets the message that he never has to be responsible for his actions. Its perfect, he’ll make a great attorney, senator, head fund manager, or CEO. He’s thoroughly trained now.

    1. It’s always about race, class, etc. Imagine if the rich kid were black, he would have been treated more severely most of the time. There are a few judges that would sentence a white teenager and a minority teenager the same.

  52. Reblogged this on Call Me Kinky and commented:
    I really enjoyed this article. The gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” is still prevelant and the way society treats people of various socioeconomic status is blatantly discriminatory.

  53. While I agree to a point I disagree with this being just a black n white issue. If we are to get past that in America then this card needs to stop being played. Let us be adult about it and deal with it as an issue and not as a color. I agree this defense is total garbage! I know impoverished white and black children who have been incarcerated since I worked in a group home. Wealth should not buy his freedom and I do believe this kid should be serving time he killed 4 people. Unfortunately, not everyone is a professional with ETHICS! Clearly they found someone believable or the education level of those on the jury were questionable! The judge should be investigated and this case should be looked at by a higher court!

  54. I might have found merit in this issue…if race had not been brought in for some ‘flavor text.’ The only Mention of race is from the person actually writing the article, on both occasions. I am sick of this back and forwards discussion about race, that shouldn’t even be had. Nothing in either of those previous source articles had anything to do with race except this woman’s perspective. You want racism to end? Stop fueling it with crappy insertions like this. You all seem to think that you should be objecting to any little thing that may even be implied – or not there at all. The best way to end it, is to not Care about it.

    The issue itself is despicable, and it says a lot for our country and culture. So much of this country is built on the decisions of a few, but an overwhelming few. Decisions are not as free as those few would have us believe. If someone makes a decision that differs from what they like, they lose funding, or certain key things…that would make any chance at staying long enough to make any changes impossible. But how can someone make any changes, even if they are there, when they can’t disagree?

    There is a sickness in this nation, and it’s not Affluenza, or Povertenza. It is malignant and deeply ingrained in the flesh of this country.

    1. This is the part were you prove, with evidence, that racism no longer exists, that there are no lasting effects of slavery or the institutions that supported it, that racism is not in any way responsible for differences in income between blacks and other people in this country.

      Have fun finding that data! Until you show it to me, I’ll keep believing that racism still operates in insidious ways that we don’t fully realize.

  55. Life in prison? The most that any 16 year old in this case would have spent locked up was 2 years. And is sending a teenager to rehab (where he will be confined), followed by 10 years of probation, instead of prison really that outrageous?

  56. Just to let you know “Most of the children” abused by the justice system in the Cash for Kids scandal and sent to prison were white, as in almost all 5,000 of them, were white. Yes, they were from “backgrounds that are far less privileged than anything Ethan Couch has experienced”, but they were poor white kids. Maybe next time before you want to race bait you should do some research.

  57. This has taught this teenager NOTHING. He AND the parents are at fault for not providing consequences for his actions while growing up. I worked in an affluent high school and saw so much coddling going on it was ridiculous. They don’t want their children to have any negative feelings or try to shield them from any negative situations (not always possible) so when these kids face problems on their own they have NO coping skills and end up with more psychiatric issues than poorer kids. The poor kids learn to be resilient because of all the challenges they face. “Affluenza’ is a made up term and is NOT a psychological diagnosis from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. The judge and lawyer should be ashamed of themselves. I don’t know how they can look in the mirror.

  58. How can a rational discussion about this happen when as I read the thread, I notice that people call each other morons, tell each other to get their head out of their asses,write: “your have lost your damn mind”, shut up, and go f#$% yourself? I can disagree with your point of view without attacking you but it appears that some of you are not capable of doing that. That’s a shame. I expect that I too, will get some flack for this from some of you who are intolerant of the opinions of others.

    I’m 64 years old and have lived my life seeing racism rear its head in all its ugly forms. From the people who have told me jokes about other ethnic groups and expect me to laugh to being denied service in a restaurant in North Carolina in the 60’s because the person I was with was black. From the snide comments in the teachers’ rooms I have been in about minority children made by the very teachers who were responsible for giving them a good education, to the spitting at my feet by a group of white youths when I was out walking with a black woman, I have seen racism. I continue to see it although it has become more subtle.
    Whether what occurred here is racism, bad judgement on the part of the judge, or both is less the issue than the fact that a person got away with being responsible for his actions. I have no doubt that the outcome would have been different had the young man been from a different socio-economic class and perhaps a different racial group.

    1. Great post. I think we need to be more accepting of the possibility of racism coming into play and racism’s role in influencing wealth and income disparities.

      We should not say someone is trying to play a race card or any other card for that matter as if every single person is treated equally in this country. Stereotypes work in many ways including race, gender, and physical limitations. We should try to analyze all factors in a situation.

  59. Why does it have to be an african american arguing povertenza? Oh that’s right because white people get away with crimes all of the time regardless or economic status. No one doubts the “justice system” is flawed but honestly I am sick of the whining and complaining if you don’t like it leave….regardless of education, family, or other background status you always make a choice for the right or for the wrong. I am not going to justify what the white kid did was right at all but unfortunately there is nothing any of us sitting behind a computer screen talking about it can do. People learn to be criminals but they also make the choice to be a criminal instead of a functioning member of society everyone has a chance to go to school there are free public schools EVERYWHERE so if you didn’t go to school or chose to drop out I do not feel bad for you and for most people a college education is also FREE through pell grants and student loans everyone has a chance and everyone makes a choice some people are just smarter than others and make the right choices…

    1. They’ll leave right after you give them proper back pay for all those years on the plantation, the pain and suffering caused to their families when they were originally taken from them, the cost of the return flight to Africa, and commensurate compensation for the injustices suffered in between. What amount do you think would be fair to give them?

      In the end, they’ll never really be able to go home because they don’t even know where they are originally from. Black slaves were robbed of their heritage.

      By the way, Pell grants do not come close to paying for college. As someone who received one, I can assure you that college was still a very expensive endeavor especially as certain states cut the award amount for those grants.

  60. I liked this article but the truth is it made me very, very sad for the world in general but particularly for the United States (which I traveled around recently).
    I have avoided watching and reading the news on a regular basis for the last few years and this was the first I’d heard about these two particular cases. The fact that some privileged child of luxury escaped the repercussions of taking the life of so many people with a defense based on the fact that he is basically too privileged, sickens me.
    Ireland, apart from a few major cities, is largely mono-cultural, so for the vast majority of my life I grew up without any awareness of racism and what it can do to a society. I’ve learned more as an adult from living in other countries (Colombia and the US) and I’m disappointed with how stuck in the dark ages the world is on these issues.
    I have no idea how an issue this big will ever be solved but at least you’re doing something, you’re educating the public and making aware of how bad the problem.
    You’ve written an excellent article. Keep writing more!

  61. I totally agree that the judge was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG along with everyone else in this case. There is absolutely no reason for any defense other than, “I screwed up; give me my punishment of prison time and accept my sincere apologies and sympathies.” But, I do think that it is more financial status than color of skin. I am white and would never get probation for killing four people. But, then again, I would never even think to ask for that punishment. I know the difference between right and wrong and everything about this case is: WRONG!

  62. affluence is NOT an excuse. neither is poverty or coming from a bad or abusive background.

    but this so often IS the excuse we’re supposed to swallow! I mugged that man because I’m poor. I didn’t know any better because my daddy used to do it too. stuff like that.

    so, now the shoe is on the other foot. if the circumstances of your upbringing can be an excuse in one case, it can be in the other.

    but is should NOT be.

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  64. Instead of all this bickering and arguing, could we maybe shift the focus to how we can overcome racism as a nation? Yes, it still exists in some form or another. I think it’s very difficult to disagree with that. And yes, horrible things have happened in the (recent) past. But, how/when are we going to start moving forward and building a nation where one is not defined by how dark his skin is. It is absolutely ridiculous and unbelievable to me how “America the Brave,” as a whole, is so incredibly
    ignorant.

  65. Don’t blame this on them being a white family, blame this on them having a scummy lawyer, a judge who’s clearly off his rocker. Money talks in this country, and I’m sure if they were any other race and all the circumstances were the same, the outcome would be similar.

      1. Unfortunately, I agree with you Natalie. It makes me incredibly sad that this happened. This young boy should absolutely be held responsible! Money or not — white, or not. It sickens me — to the core. I have been outraged since I saw this article, but don’t know what to do about it.

      2. Race plays a huge role in this, and white privelege is real – but it’s nowhere near the sole factor. To visit the example in this post, Wilkes-Barre PA, the central jurisdiction in the Ciavarella case, is nearly 80% white. Fee victims were shown in the local news coverage, but as I recall the family members I saw interviewed were all white. (This doesn’t signify and I was unable to find demographics on the case. It may be that only the squeaky wheels were white or some families were mixed race or adoptions.) Anyway, my point is… Just because rich white dudes have more more ability to get away with things unjustly does not mean it’s any less of a crime when a white defendant is victimized than when a black defendant is victimized by the same unfair legal practices. Of course, it’s not any more of a crime, either. That’s pursuit of equality.

      3. It does have to do with race, but not only race money as well. I wonder how much this judge got paid to render punishment that she did. We all know he should be in jail and the excuse he uses for having killed four people is ridiculous. I am white but I agree if that was a black boy there would be no doubt in would be in jail right now

      4. Money and privilege is the reason. More white people have it. Rich powerful people of color also get away with crime as well.

      5. You disagree with Levy and I disagree with you, up to a certain point. I believe race is not much of an issue as people think it is. Otherwise, Obama would have never become our President. It is money, influence, prestige, capability, brains, looks, fame, reputation, and luck that takes you places, and provides you with better treatment….

    1. Only someone white would say it has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with it. White privilege is real, whether you want to face the truth or not. That judge is the same as many other judges that send our young children, men and women to jail. Do the research. Watch A Time to Kill. It should open your eyes more. 🙂

      1. The only person I don’t blame here, really, is the lawyer. It’s their job to do whatever they can do legally to get their client off. But the judge is at fault. (And white, wealthy privilege is obviously a major factor.)

        1. It’s about classicism, not racism? If you think privileges can be sorted out and be completely untangled, you’re damn wrong. Having white privilege isn’t a +1 and being poor isnt a -1. You can’t that people are or are not on equal footing based on ONE factor. The outcome of Couch’s case isn’t based on one thing. Depending on ethnicity, gender, sexuality, income, cognitive function, and more, a case can have a radically different outcomes.

          P.S. have you seen the death row statistics in the United States?

      2. It’s more about money in this country. Pay offs don’t care what color their taking money from. For example OJ Simpson, Jay Z and Beyonce buying a whole hospital floor out for the delivery of their baby and don’t forget there is a huge list of “Black privilege” in this country as well

      3. the person who said they don’t blame the defense lawyer? sorry, but you’re morally off base, too. as sworn officers of the court, they have a duty not to lie. They can withhold some of the truth (refuse to point the finger of blame at their client), but they are not supposed to lie.

        “Affluenza” is a lie. What DOES exist – with a very similar psychopathological profile – is Narcissistic Personality Disorder, including a lack of empathy and a pattern of malice, negligence, disregard for others’ pain, and delusions of being godlike and above punishment/accountability. NPD is a disability, but does not allow for an “insanity defense” because narcissists like this boy can choose to do right and be accountable – it’s just painful to them, because they feel entitled to special treatment and attention, and entitled to avoid pain.

        for more internet info on this, I recommend the work of recovering narcissist and self-trained psychodynamic therapist Dr. Sam Vaknin, but read it with a critical eye toward his benevolent sexism/transphobia and internalized homophobia, and don’t put much stock in his outdated and bigoted views on autism; narcissists hate autistics, want to dominate them, and NPD makes it hard for them to understand autistic empathy. i.e. Dr. Vaknin would struggle to explain why autistic babies consistently cry when they see animals in pain unless he threw out most or all of his work on autism and started over, which he’s probably too emotionally weak to consider doing.

        The prosecutor chose not to even charge the boy with a felony, and the judge went along with it, because of his promising future in the stock market (gag). And, I’m guessing, because when they run for DA and reelection they can now count on sizeable donations from the rich white boy’s family, without it being questioned in society at large, other than on blogs like this and in the dignified shaking of defeated heads.

        And here in the comments section, you have the gall to spout believe-in-the-system nonsense about giving a full defense and all that crap. Meanwhile, the public face of the shrugging lawyer you condone is only possible because, behind closed doors, he convinced the prosecutor and the judge to abandon the public good, their duty to seek justice for the families of the slain, and any morals or principles they once had in favor of personal enrichment.

        I’ll go this far – the defense attorney was probably the lawyer acting with the most integrity in the room. At least you can spit on him all the time and he’ll understand. It’s the half-time do-gooders and their partners in crime, the naïve, the deluded, and the self-interested (like people who don’t bother to understand the defense attorney’s pressure role behind the scenes because it would make them uncomfortable), that we really have to watch out for.

      4. It also has to do with sentencing guidelines, which the judge is allowed to consider when sentencing. I also happen to agree that it has a lot to do with race, and with income. But if the judge didn’t have that option to use at sentencing, that boy would never have been sentenced to 10 years probation.

      5. Not true. I am not white, and I believe that race has “very little” to do with it. White privilege exists only when the person receiving the privilege is white; what about if the person receiving the privilege is black, do you still call it white? I know enough blacks who enjoy privileges. President Obama comes to mind, he can do NO WRONG. I call that the biggest privilege! and he happens to be black….

      6. I agree with you, and I think white privilege exists and “affluenza” is a crock. BUT you might want to use research data to support your point instead of a fictional book/movie!!! It’s like telling me to watch Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer as proof that Santa is white.

    2. It has nothing to do with black or white. A case can even be made for the scummy lawyer doing his job. Money talks though. I think it’s more about who has the money to buy their way into a rehab and out of jail. This is a case of the advantages money provides, more than anything else.

    3. Uuugh, excuse me? First off-hell NO if “they” as you say, were any other race and all the circumstances were the same this would not have had the same outcome-especially had he been black or brown. You obviously dont get it and im most sure that you must be white yourself. Also, can you please point out where the the hell that this author “blames this on them being a white family”? Her entire article goes off the premise of SOCIOECONOMICAL disparities and injustices deeply rooted in the U.S. “Justice” system, which, surprise surprise, has everything to do with racial inequality in its very essense. She is not “blaming this on them being a white family”, you fool. She is clearly basing this off power and privilege-which as even you seem to understand-is the reason why this boy is getting off the hook-ESPECIALLY, key word, especcially because,(drum roll please): he is WHITE. Aint no denying the extra influence his whiteness has in top of the $$$$$ his family could fork out. If you cant seem to grasp this simple yet fcked up reality of life, you sir, are way, way out of reality yourself.

      1. You are absolutely right… it was an article pointing out the casualties of economics. She also wanted us to know that this worked for this young boy BECAUSE the Judge could IDENTIFY with his status. She would never have been able to wrap her head around Povertenza as a real defense because she probably believes poverty is a choice.

    4. I couldn’t agree more lol. This article is pretty clearly just meant to rail against “Affluenza” which is a term I have a hard time imagining that anyone could take seriously, and it’s pretty self-degrading to write under the impression that it is anything but a legalized joke at best. It is furthermore ridiculous to think that an affluent Black family couldn’t get away with an equally preposterous defense were they to have the means to afford such a thing; in this country money DOES talk, and all the money in this country is really what’s causing all the problems from the prison-industrial and military-industrial complexes, the corrupt political money machine, etc. Furthermore, I’d like some journalists to start thinking outside of the box and consider the notion of: why the fuck do Blacks need to be here in the first place? They did not choose to come here; everyone talks about the iniquities of slavery, but nobody talks about how stupid and unjust it is that Blacks are kept out of their native land in a foreign culture which is hostile to their natural ways of life. I’d also like whoever wrote this “povertenza” shit to consider the notion that *regardless of economic circumstance*, nearly all of the most dangerous places in the world are majority Black or majority Muslim, so perhaps it just might be best to stop blaming evil rich Whitey for shit he isn’t responsible for by *any* standard.

      Oh, and before anyone goes there, I think a decision of “not guilty” is a legal travesty, and that this Couch deserves to be in prison right now, so DON’T presume that I’m defending him.

      1. As a “black” woman on the outside but clearly bi-racial ( my mom is white and my dad is black), I agree with almost all of your points… However if black people need to go back to Africa… Don’t white people need to go back to Europe? There’s no doubt in my mind that white people have honed in on their ability to use what they know to better themselves and ultimately manipulate the shit out of anyone who gets in their way… Which in America is not illegal so I guess if black people are going to stay here because they can’t afford that expenseie as flight back to Africa… They just need to get on whiteys level.

      2. I hope that you are kidding… otherwise if you are not pick up a history book. My native country is America, I was BORN here. However, none of our ancestors, INCLUDING YOURS are “natives”, at least not by your description. Lastly, sometimes it’s best to be quiet and let people “assume” you have a brain.

      3. Money in some ways does serve as an equalizer but since black people are an even smaller minority as you go up the socioeconomic ladder such an assertion is a non sequitur. The problem here is that a legal system that is ideally based on a consensus has been disregarded due to aspects that are highly correlated with race. Now if were going to start accepting “ignorance of the world” as a valid defense there’s thousands of black people that ought to be retroactively acquitted although clearly crime is only tolerable when the perpetrator is white. You can make whatever argument you like about how this country doesn’t belong to blacks but the reality is that my ancestors were as involved in constructing this nation as those of any white person and in many cases blacks and whites share those ancestors. When people are enslaved and two populations thoroughly mixed the cultures of those groups are no longer separate. I’m not going to relinquish my entitlements so that I can go live in a place where they don’t speak MY language or have the same values simply because the majority doesn’t appreciate being collectively criticized. If you accept that an entire group can be held responsible for the actions of selected individuals white people are responsible for the destruction of the world from which black people came. If you don’t then perhaps it would be best to stop interpreting articles like this one as personal attacks directed at each white person.

    5. “I’m sure if they were any other race and all the circumstances were the same, the outcome would be similar.” Ummm what country are YOU living in??? certainly not the US!!

    6. lol…I guarantee you, NO, the outcome would never be the same. All you have to do is look at the news. They are showing the blatant injustices daily. Where are you?

    7. what are the chances of a black family having money for that kind of lawyer though? Look at the data which races get the harshest sentences? which races are most likely to get arrested?

    8. As much as I would love for this to be true…I could never in any way envision a black child getting away with this. Money talks big, but race—and racism— is still a major issue in this country, try as we might to deny it.

    9. question? we know Ethan killed 4 people drunk driving ,but how exactly did Davontaye kill 4 people was he also drunk driving? is this the exact same story with the only difference being race? I am puzzled by the missing pieces of the story here. I think in order to say this is racist both stories have to be almost mirror image to one another. All this article tells us is that the white kid was drunk driving killed 4 people used a dumb ass defense and got 10 years probation and a black kid who ___________________________ and killed 4 people used the same excuse and it didn’t work. there is a difference in Vehicular manslaughter and murder in the first degree. If its the same story then ya Davontaye got screwed and no its not right or fair. I just feel that this article doesn’t provide enough information for me to jump aboard the hate whitie parade.

      1. You must be an attorney 🙂
        I feel the same way, and I believe that the author of this article didn’t have anything to do the day he wrote it and invented a story and put it out here to see what happened…. and I felt for it. I never waste my time (I don’t have much of it) reading, but today I was curious…
        This case has no body to grab and give an opinion…

      2. Ironically, if you really read and interpreted the article, the “majority” of you would see it was not intended to provoke a “hate whitey” parade. It was actually intended to be a mirror and have us look at ourselves and stop making daily judgements about people based on skin color (Well at least that’s what I chose to take from it). It’s the same thing on both levels. For example, I don’t seem to “fit” in a lot of circles due to the fact that I am a black man who speaks with intelligence and articulation. For me, I get labeled as not being black enough because I choose not to allow the blatant racial injustices I experience daily to deter me from striving to live a good loving life. Sure, I have had people lock car doors on me because of their insecurities, I have been accused of killing the black family because my girlfriend is hispanic, I also have been socially indicted for real fear when being pulled over by a cop for a “routine traffic stop” or the old “where are you headed to,” conversation starter. It’s all bologna! But when are we going to stop trying to find blame in everything in this world and start loving each other and being champions of change. Don’t worry…I am not in a kumbaya frame of mind writing this. I am simply saying, we all have varying struggles in this world with injustice being inevitable, but the most tragic of all injustice is to lose hope. Ask the late Nelson Mandela! My mom said something to me when I was a kid that still resonates with me to this day…”baby, no matter how bad you want it to be the world isn’t fair, and will never be, until judgement day. So dry those tears and smile…because peace can only be giving to you by your own means.” I pray for peace, and I do so with love not with bitterness. You ALL be good!

    10. Look, we all get it. Stop stating the obvious. Stop making your life just an exercise in blaspheming. If you want to do something then rock the boat. Revolutionize the system. Continue your education and advocate the education of everyone! The more you yell WHITE PRIVILEGE blah blah blah at everyone’s face or anyone who isn’t as mad to the bone as you, the more you create distrust and hatred for anyone resembling a “privileged white person”. Those of you who understand the how and why and need for change concerning institutionalized white privilege are ready to vocalize your hopes for an equal and just future! So do it, get off your high horses (your “anti-white anti-class high horse) and roll up those sleeves. Get into the system and change it. Do what Miles Davis or John Coltrane did for music. Learn the system, and shake it.

      …white privilege is institutionalized, and as such it is a cultural reflex that reinforces a power structure based on something as insignificant as skin color. It is true and unavoidable in many areas of life and unfortunately in many levels of the US justice system. Those people who are born and bred to feel elite and feel white (notice I say “feel white”) develop into egocentric narcissists who are blind to the consequential miseries their self indulgence inflicts on others less fortunate (not necessarily less amoral); and it is only natural that a creature would use what is at its disposal for self preservation. Unfortunately, many of us are unable to be brave enough to sacrifice our egos or our very “rawhides” even when we know what we did is very wrong.

      This boy in question (the offender let off the hook) we do not know how he may feel. His parents no doubt hired this lawyer, and no doubt had their reasons (love for their son, love for their reputation). But this boy, may not he feel guilt? Also, what life can he possibly live following this? Who will trust him? Will he ever be safe in public again? He has been labeled “mentally incompetent” (borderline sociopathic). I’d say the justice never was in the courts to begin with. It is and always has been with the people!! We decide who is and who is not punishable…through press, through conversation.

      Now let us voice our opinions of this trial. And let us put the legal system (once again) on the block. Privilege (white, wealth, class, clique) has got to go! So please don’t banter or blaspheme anymore. Do something about it goddamnit!

    11. I cant wait for the day when everyone wakes up and realizes race, gender, sexual orientation, religion…NONE of that matters. WHAT does matter is that we are the impoverished vs. the rich and the rich LOVE that we squabble over “social” issues of difference, because it keeps us from forming strong against them.

    12. Yes, it’s because they’re white. White people are the most racist people on this planet and think they are superior to everyone else. Their pathetic and desperate attempts to make up for their lack of talents and accomplishments when compared against other races is disgusting and pitiful. They’re the main reason America is so flawed today.

      1. Truth, you are going against your name! I am not white and I couldn’t disagree with you more! I grew up among non-whites and I saw tons of racism there. As a matter of fact, “inequality, unfair treatment, racism, cruelty, taking advantage, fraud, pride, and whatever name you want to give it….” does not know boundaries, and it is abundant in ALL RACES, COLORS, SHAPES…..
        I know great white people, and evil white people.
        I know great black people, and evil black people.
        I know great….. I can on for ever….

      2. My greatest fears: (1) Smokers who don’t think second hand smoking hurts their children, (2) Thinkers who only think of how to attack others, and (3) Racists who are trying to stop racism

    13. go fuck yourself you fuck, four people are die, they paid the judge and sorry ass lawyer to let the bitch go free, better be glade it wasnt no from my family , they fuck want be alive today. Dam he would make a good bitch behind bars. Moma and dad want be able to save his asshole!!!

    14. Then you don’t live in the real world, brother! You posit a hypothetical “if they were any other race” but this is not what has happened, is happening or will likely ever happen. Yes, you can get away with murder if you are rich and ANY race, but the system is capitalizing on an existing bias that is not swept away or ameliorated by your “if” sentimentality. Please! I do blame this on whiteness and its privilege – those factors go hand in hand with the insane likelihood that you ARE rich. Goodness, I am sick and tired of folks thinking that one act on one side of an equation magically balances out a million acts on the other side. Wishful thinking and defensiveness of one’s own privileged position don’t change the statistics.

    15. I agree, however, money alone won’t do. It requires influence, reputation, fame, knowing the right people, etc., along with money to get things in your favor…..

    16. I agree with you Levy. However, money is not the only thing needed, it has to come along with a name, prestige, influence, reputation, charisma, fame, looks, etc… regardless of race. If a black person possesses any of the before-mentioned items, he will get away with a lot. If race was it, then President Obama would not have become our President.

  66. This is a great point that hasn’t been made strongly enough elsewhere. The inverse insinuation in the whole Affluenza thing is that every drug dealer or mugger was perfectly aware of the concepts of responsibility and righteousness but made a conscious decision to go against them and do bad things with full understanding of their actions, unlike this kid who had no choice in the matter. Totally insane!

  67. Both conditions sound like made up BS from US Psychologists with too much spare time on their hands.. Oooh I’m poor so I have an illness that makes my decision making poor.. Ooh I’m rich so I don’t know how to take responsibility for my actions.

    Both come down to modern parenting, where you’re not allowed to give your child proper boundaries and then enforce discipline when the child oversteps those boundaries.

    I was brought up on a 3 level system. Level 1 = being told to stop because my behaviour isn’t acceptable. Level 2 = Being told that if I don’t stop now I will get a smacked backside.. Level 3 = smacked backside.

    I didn’t become a thug etc. I learned how far I could push my luck, I learned that my actions have consequences and that if I misbehaved I would be punished. I was maybe punished 4 times in my entire childhood. But now we have to put children on the naughty step and reason with them etc. Young children don’t have the ability to reason and because we’ve adopted this “let them do what they like” attitude where they aren’t punished if they swear at you (the parent) or talk to you like you’re a piece of rubbish/garbage etc and are never told no or that they can’t behave like that we have ended up with a whole generation of spoiled, bratty, rude little gits who run roughshod over everything and expect respect without showing any first.

    1. Amen, I was brought up the same as you and as a 63 y.o. grandmother who raised 1 son you are totally correct. My son is not in jail or on drugs. he is a hard working young man of 37 who is married, pays his child support and also helps take care of his wife’s 2 children. I disciplined him to know right from wrong because at birth he had 2 strikes against him. ( Male and Black). i didn’t have much money so i taught him not to do the things that later would cause him and myself grief. This new generation is absolutely horrible, privileged little brats.

    2. Actually, Affluenza is the BS Term that was made up. The Povertenza was a term the article writer made up to show how silly the original word was. But yes, I agree with the rest of your comment.

    3. I feel that you are ignoring a rather large elephant in this room. In the cases of extreme poverty, parents are often too busy to be as active in their children’s lives as would be ideal. When exactly do parents who have to work five crappy minimum wage jobs between the two of them just to keep some semblance of a roof over her family’s head while probably dealing with living in a dangerous or run down neighborhood have the ability to monitor their children’s every moment?

      Or the parents who themselves suffered severe trauma as children or adults due to their socioeconomic status. They are mostly not able to afford getting any help for the ensuing mental health issues and therefore perpetuate the cycles. They are literally incapable of being proper parental figures.

      In many cases, impoverished youths are forced to grow up and survive I whatever way possible. This is often how gangs recruit new members. They offer protection and “family” the disenfranchised youths seek.

      Do not be so quick to judge others based on your own personal history. You were able to be what your child needed and that is very commendable. But it also means that your situation in life allowed it. That is not the case for so many people these days.

      1. What about the rich family, where each parent works 60 to 80 hours a week and the child is left with nannies to be raised? Their status means that they can’t afford to be seen as weak, not to mention that if news got out that they had a crazy son, or that they were busy dealing with family issues, it could cause havoc with their stock.

        No, it’s much better to donate to the right politicians, and hush everything up. Maybe if we give Jr. that corvette that he wanted so much, he’ll calm down then…

        TL;DR version: There are shitty parents on both ends of the spectrum

        1. I am not saying there are not terrible parents on both ends. There are terrible parent throughout he spectrum. My point was raised in an effort to point out what I view as a flaw in the realm of “kids these days just aren’t raised right” mentality exhibited in the post I was responding to. The examples listed initially were much more targeted at lower income children.

          As for upper class, I went to school with a large number of them, which was aawkward as I was solid lower middle class. I had an unfortunate insight into the lives they led. It is an exceedingly troubling experience. They also act out due to lack of parental supervision. However, there was much less survival or finding of some sort of “family” as I saw in the bad neighborhoods I lived in. With these children it was primarily either tryong to force negligent parents to pay them SOME kind of attention (good or bad), or personalities similar to Couch: highly narcissistic individuals who can do whatever they want and never be held accountable. ..ever. I am not saying that all of them were that way. This primarily only pertains to the children and teenagers who did act out or cause trouble.

    1. I agree with this statement whole heartedly. I believe that because the defense of Affluenza was accepted that the parents of this boy should now be criminally and civily liabke for their son’s behavior as they are the direct cause. Negligent homicide.

  68. I find this article poorly written because the article does not say what crime Davontaye did. Until otherwise, I think the argument about “white privilege” is useless.

    1. Devontaye isn’t real. They are saying, what would have happened if it had been a poor or black teenager that had done the same crime as the white rich teenager. What would the consequences have been if you’d replaced the defendent in original story?

    2. It doesn’t say what crime Davontaye committed because Davontaye is a fictitious person used to prove a valid point. Obviously you did not look at the facts.

      1. And that’s why this is a bad, dishonest, immoral, hate-no gearing article. No one could have gotten life in prison under this charge. A poorer kid might have been locked up for 2.5 years.

        All of the outrage over this case is predicated on the idea that this kid got an inappropriate sentence, but no one’s actually laying out the facts to demonstrate that.

      1. I hope you know that by calling someone an “idiot” for questioning the validity of something is in its own way acting “privileged.” Which is the equal of “white elitists.” You may be intellectually privileged, as witnessed by your ability to understand the content and point of the above article, but your hostility towards someone who is reluctant to buy in immediately actually subverts your intellectuality and in turn makes you an elitist.

  69. Just chipping in as one white guy who recognizes how ludicrous it is for my fellow white folks to say things like, “ It has nothing to do with black or white.”

    1. Count me in too. OJ was the exception that proves the rule. He had enough money to buy white privilege. The comments about “we can’t be racist because Obama” don’t seem to get: he is is vilified nonstop using racial dog whistles if not outright epitaphs of that kind, and he is threatened incessantly to a greater magnitude than possibly any president before him.

  70. If it were my kid, I wouldn’t even give them a lawyer, they effed up they pay the price period.
    It’s both sides the parents fault these problems. The “3 step” up bringing, I was raised the same. And have other friends, white, black, Hispanic raised in the same way… these kids need discipline, boundaries etc or they act like fools.. then they play the systems that allow this kind of “affluenza” type crap.

  71. Reblogged this on Hot Comedy and commented:
    Sunday blog share. More evidence for the need to teach cognitive science and psychology in public schools at young ages so your/our/their future will be able to better understand themselves in the most dynamic meaningful way possible.

      1. Fables and parables are outdated ways of communicating moral lessons biased with cultural beliefs.
        I am talking about teaching people to better understand physiocognitive principles of emotion, action and reaction to the environment. This will allow them to better interpret and judge their surroundings and actions more appropriately with the present environment and not by what other people think/imply what they should do in that moment.

  72. To the author – You turned an issue that’s not race related and used it to progress the cliche of white supremacy. And you did this by turning the article’s subject in to a race matter. Essentially you’re being racist to make a point about racism. Are you trying to say that there exists no affluent blacks? No poor whites? Rather than turning everything about race, try reporting about things that matter in the story like how obviously bullshit the defense is or how the families of the victims are. Racist.

    1. Cite two places in this article in which the author made this a race issue. Her focus is about differing socio-economic backgrounds.

      1. Forget citing two places in the article where the author made this a race issue; the entire article, starting with the headline, makes it a race issue. Not to mention the part where she mentions how this would not be a viable excuse for black and poor youths (as opposed to just poor youths) and the last line about white privilege.

  73. It is so sad how whenever anyone tries to point out the honest facts about privilege and racism in America it causes an uproar and people begin to get defensive, ignorant and retreat into denial. First of all those who read this article with the intent to make it about black vs. white that’s your misinterpretation so please stop accusing the author of race baiting. Even though the hypothetical situation uses a black impoverish kid this can easily be applied to any other race aside from white of course. The assumption that because she brings up the issues with white privilege immediately means she is by default advocating strictly for black poor youth is false, and distorts the main message behind the article.

    She makes valid points and instead of people trying to undermine and contest her points with “not the ordinary” cases is not only unintelligent but also a clear fear of accepting the reality of America’s current position. I’m appalled by those who claim this entire article is all about race and pulling out the “black card” when that could not be further from the truth. I hate the fact that only white people can talk about racism or white privilege without being accused of looking for pity or a hand out, but I applaud the author for writing this anyway.

    If racism upsets you personally that’s fine, but please no more ridiculous comment about “racism no longer exists”, “lets not bring race into this”, “it would have been the exact same outcome had he been black”, “stop pulling the black card”, “white privilege is pure nonsense and nonexistent”, or any other ignorant comments such as these. These comment are counter productive and not educating whatsoever.

    1. Agreed. The reality is that had it been a POOR white child, the lawyer WOULD have used Povertenza instead of Affluenza. And it would have worked equally as well.

  74. I don’t think this is an example of white privilege. Some indigent white kid from deep woods Kentucky would certainly not have received the same treatment as Ethan Couch. I think this is an example of socioeconomic privilege and the ability to purchase a chink in the armor of the justice system. “Affluenza” is obviously a ridiculous defense, as is “Povertenza.” We should not be lamenting the fact that a “Povertenza” defense does not work; we should be concerned that an “Affluenza” defense did work.

    1. A white kid from the deep woods of Kentucky likely would have received the same treatment. As would a black kid from inner city projects. It was a fairly typical sentence for a sixteen year old convicted of this offense.

      The “Affluenza” defense didn’t really work. Couch was convicted, and got a similar sentence to the one that anyone else would have gotten. His parents are choosing to pay for a nicer rehab, but that’s not a matter of an unusual sentence. People sentenced to rehab generally have the option to pay for their own rehab in place of being sent to an overcrowded, understaffed, ineffective rehab at taxpayer expense. I suppose that it’s kind of outrageous that the publicly funded rehab facilities are so bad, and maybe that Couch’s parents are trying to send him to one with an ocean view, but neither of those things are a result of the affluenza defense.

  75. Couch is a juvenile, and was sentenced under juvenile law. He will be on probation until he is 26 years old after spending 2 years in a private rehab that probably smells nicer than a jail. But he will go to bed, classes and get up on a very tight schedule. He will not have access to friends or family. He will have to earn privileges. When he gets out, he cannot even sneeze wrong without getting sent to prison, no ifs ands or buts, no additional trial he will have to pay probation costs every month. He will be restricted on where he can work and go to school. He may even be restricted to not being able to drive until he finishes probation. ALL OF THIS AT NO COST TO TEXAS TAXPAYERS. I say better than jail all the way around. And he may come out a better person who stays sober. Chances are better than if he went to plain old jail. The judge did good.

    1. “The judge did good” only if she applied the same results to a poor black or brown kid and afforded him the same rehab facilities at no cost to the taxpayers. In fact, wouldn’t this be a better solution to a whole slew of crimes, quality rehab centers. The problem here is the inequality of income. A poor kid would have a public defender with a hella case load and little time to prepare a defense, let alone the money to hire expert witnesses. This kind of case screams class and economic inequality. What you see as a good result is strictly the consequence of affluence!

  76. While this does have to do with race (slightly), it deals more with the capitalistic nature our country is plagued with. The law can only remain blind so long. This actually shows that not even a white person’s life is more valuable keeping an affluent inheritor

  77. It never ceases. This constant race bashing back and forth all the time.

    I’m not saying that there isn’t an issue here where the rich kids are getting away with things that the poor do not. That’s obviously the case and has been all along. The problem with this entire article comes down to the writer being a racist and that’s just pure and simply the truth.

    I have plenty of rich black friends that have kids that get away with outrageous things all because of money. I’ve seen white poor kids get jammed up with some pretty harsh sentences just like I have black kids. Is that to say there isn’t an imbalance, no because there obviously is and I would be a fool to say that there isn’t a bias that goes on in the courtrooms on a disproportionate level against blacks. Yup it happens.

    But what about all of those black kids that are being sentenced by black judges that are sick and tired of seeing black kids doing stupid shit that lands them in the courtroom? How about those activist minority judges that see their place on the bench to send a clear message to their own community that they’re not going to tolerate their own people making a bad name for those of the same race?

    You are absolutely stupid to think that this isn’t happening because it has, does, and is on a daily basis in our courtrooms.

    When you make this white against black there is always going to be someone that thinks they can use some weakly propped up argument of how whites are privileged and blacks are oppressed. Yeah well tell that to some of my black friends that are tired of that excuse being used to justify the mock outrage that people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson use to incite the rest of the black community when race isn’t the real issue. Tell that to some of my black friends that are sick and tired of not being taken serious because people like Sharpton and Jackson have taken away credibility to the real issues that face youth in their communities all because people are sick and tired of race baiting and have come to start ignoring real issues because their tired of feeling as if they are being attacked for not agreeing with the outrage.

    This is the edge that cuts both ways. The black community is alienating people that are tired of the same old issues being brought up and turned into an issue that is being compared to slavery and black oppression that hasn’t existed on that level in a wide spread way in many years now. What about the folks that want to move on and build better relations by leading through example? Such people as Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated that it was possible to affect change through peaceful progress and not through hate speech that is all too common from the black community’s current mainstream examples of leadership.

    How can anyone take issues in the black community seriously when you have Sharpton on MSNBC constantly engaging in hate speech on a political and social level? This is a problem that has to be addressed if we are going to make any real progress towards true peaceful co-existence.

    So go ahead and attack me. I see things differently. I can empathize with the issues that the black community faces as a minority. As a gay man I have had to deal with my fair share of oppressive behavior at the hands of others many times and still very much do today. But I am also a minority within a minority in the gay community because I also do not support Democrats or the liberal movement whatsoever. I support Libertarian views which are socially liberal but constitutionally and fiscally conservative. I am attacked constantly by others in the gay community for my views and attacked by Christians and Muslims alike. I am attacked by the lunatic right wing fringe as well as the militant liberal gay movement for not standing by them because I disagree with the message and the delivery method of the community.

    I know.. it’s not the same thing right? Really? So you think it’s about what is the same and what is different? Here is what is the same. It’s abusive oppression. Black men in the gay community are looked down upon just like white gay men. The difference is that you will find more people in a public place that are uncomfortable with someone because they are gay than you will because someone is black. That’s a fact. So tell me again about how blacks are being abused and the only ones that can relate to the struggle of being taken seriously as equals. Tell me again how blacks are the only ones that can relate to being verbally attacked as well as attacked for so called morality issues. I would venture to guess as well that the stark reality also may be true in this day that you are far more likely to be attacked because someone doesn’t like the fact you’re gay than the fact that you’re black. I could be wrong but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that could be proven as well.

    So how about instead of continuing this race baiting crap and the cry me a river of tears montages from various militant black role models in the community, we start setting examples of peaceful co-existence and trying to work towards solutions instead of inciting more hate.

    How about instead of attacking one another in the comments saying things like “because you’re white” you start looking at the issues that guys like Don Lemon are bringing up and try dispelling this idea if not outright discouraging the black community to use a victim mentality to justify more hate and anger for a change and start making a positive outlook and promoting peace and cooperation to improve the quality of life in the community? Isn’t that what all of us should be doing? When are we going to stop listening to the hate mongers and start fighting our gut reactions to lash out in anger?

    We need to be the examples. The edge cuts both ways in these issues. The difference in how we resolve them is the difference between being good and moral people that stand up for just causes together or being part of the various factions that continue to feed upon negativity and hate to keep their voices relevant to the conversation and even to profit from our fueled outage. We have to set a precedent in our communities for doing the right thing instead of what’s easy. It’s much harder to do what is moral and ethical for the good of all than it is to be selfish and motivated for self gain or even corrupted by greed.

    Say what you will but I’m right and I know it and I refuse to take part in a black vs white debate that none of you are going to prove to me exists on any level enough to continue the justification of slinging hate around. It’s just pathetic and childish. I for one want to see everyone who deserves to be treated with respect and dignity have that opportunity. I want people to be able to agree to disagree and still be able to be friends with one another while not infringing upon the rights and freedoms we should all enjoy equally.

    Isn’t that what Martin Luther King Jr. wanted for ALL of us. Not just blacks, but ALL of humanity? Did people only listen to the message and believe that his words were for one race? I believe that a man of God such as himself believed that equality and equal respect are something we earn through good will and intent along with being examples of what others should aspire to be through our good works.

    If you guys didn’t take away something of that from looking at the great voices from history, the message was lost on you and you will never truly learn what it was they were attempting to teach us all.

  78. Sad that this becomes a white black issue when the argument of affluenza is absolutely ridiculous and the judge should be thrown out for his sentencing ! The judge is wrong

  79. JAM, thank you for writing this. I’d like to think that Ethan Couch was given the chance of a lifetime to learn from his mistakes, and that he will do right in the future. The simple comparison you made speaks volumes about the wealth disparity and race issues in our country, and I’m behind you in using this opportunity to further open up dialogue about it. We can’t fix it if we don’t talk about it.

  80. Wealth or poverty do not define our morals. Any parent who is willing to “blame” their child’s poor behavior on their income level should be ashamed. I was born poor. Raised by a single mother in the 60’s when it was considered shameful. She taught me right from wrong, how to accept the blame when I messed up, how to take responsibility to fix my wrongs, how to work hard, how to take nothing for granted. I worked my way through college (paid for every bit of it myself) and graduated. My children have been fortunate enough to have more than I ever did at their age but they are both being taught the same things my mother taught me. They are required to hold a job, get good grades in school, be respectful to all. They are regularly given the gift of “no” by me and their father. No, you may not have that. No, you may not go there. No, you may not do that because it is wrong. None of us should use some half-assed excuse for poor behavior. It’s a choice no matter which side of the tracks you come from!

  81. You know what sickens me even more than the “Affluenza Defense” and the lack of personal responsibility being assessed in that case? It’s Black reporters with a chip on their shoulder–like the writer of this oh-so-scholarly article–who take every chance they can to attribute injustice or unfairness in the American legal system to race. I have a very valid question. If you’re so sick of racial divides and differences, then why do you bring up race and “white privilege” every fucking chance you get?? Stop, just stop. You’re not helping out your race or anything. All you’re doing is coming across as immature and bitter. And you know what? Most “socio-economically disadvantaged” black kids that get harsh prison sentences get them because they’re no-good, thugging, gangbanging stupid fucking niggers. end rant.

    1. You know what sickens me even more than white people bitching about black reporters with a chip on their shoulders? The fact that this was not meant to be a scholarly article and you, Mr. Wonder Bread asshole, interpreting it as such. You just get your tighty-whities all bunched up in a knot thinking about how much you hate black folks and salivating at the chance to use the term “stupid fucking nigger.” I bet you came all over yourself after you wrote that, you race-baiting piece of shit. YOU are the problem. YOU are the issue. You don’t ever have a valid question because you have no idea what valid means. You tell the author that she is not helping out her race and that she is coming across as immature and bitter. You, on the other hand, come across as churlish, childish, short-dicked and petulant. (I think we will all wait while you run to the dictionary to look up “short-dicked”. ) I wonder why you bothered to reply; the only reason I can think of is you wanted everyone to know that you don’t know you are supposed to hyphenate gang-banging. Pfft.

  82. I am a middle aged white male. I have NO money, and when I can work, it is in menial jobs for sub-standard pay to oppressive employers. That being said, I was also sentenced for theft that I admitted to. I received the MAXIMUM for a MULTIPLE offender, though this was my first criminal act EVER! This happened not because of money, but religion. I was not even allowed to speak in court because the judge ‘didn’t need to hear what I had to say’, and was told to be ‘more open minded about religion’. IN OPEN COURT he said these things, and was never called to task for them. IF an individual commits a crime, he or she admits to it or is caught in the act, they should not be sentenced based upon color, wealth, or social standing. This is unfortunately not the case. IF an individual shows remorse, admits to the crime (and there were no physical victims), they should be given a lighter sentence than the absolute maximum. IF you kill someone through negligence, will, or sheer lack of thought, then you should, AT THE LEAST be imprisoned for life, regardless of race, gender, wealth, or social standing. In the ‘assfluenza’ case, he needs to be put to death, period.

  83. I am not upset at the lawyers… it is their jobs to lie, deceive and BS their client’s way to freedom. In fact, I applaud this lawyer for having the cajones to attempt such a thing as “affluenza”…. I am, however, disgusted with the judge and jury (if there was one) for setting such a ridiculous precedent in allowing such a blatant BS defence to be taken seriously. And yes, I agree with the author completely that if we are going to use socio-economic pressure as a defence for such acts then it needs to be applied across the board on both sides of the spectrum.

    The families of the deceased need to fight this and sue the judge as well as get that kid into jail where he belongs. I don’t care if it’s his first offense or not, he has killed people and needs to be held responsible for his actions.

  84. Many people here deal with the need to highlight personal or anecdotal experiences in response to this article. I see it for what it is…comparing justice in America. Those who are old enough know that the justice system here in the US is rife with preferental treatment towards whites. This is just fact. Those who grew up in the 80’s,90’s and beyond have been lead to believe that racism is dead. It is not. Further I’ve adopted Dr.Frances Cress Welsing’s definition of racism,…it is a system of white supremacy ….Therefore the use of the term has been distorted over the years and people apply it indiscriminately to include others who are non white. This just isn’t so…This article is highlighting that given the same set of circumstances…a non white would not have been given an excuse for killing 4 people..it would have been 4 counts of vehicular homicide with a jail sentence for each victim. The judge recognized this priviledge (white) and ruled accordingly. Those of us old enough to remember know that this same decision making prevailed in southern courts and northern ones as well.

  85. Affluenza, my eye. If they have so much affluence, they ought to be sued for it. It should cost them something. These families have suffered tremendous loss resulting directly from selfishness, lack of discipline, and lack of respect for the lives of others. I am disgusted.

    Primary functions of the state, such as prisons and public education should not be incorporated. We are going way overboard in contracting out essential functions of government. Our children and grandchildren are reaping the awful consequences.

  86. Race privilege and socio-economic privilege are two vastly different things. I have white privilege but I have never had money. But with you having gone to Syracuse University, where tuition is $38,000, you probably have never met a poor person. But we won’t hold that against you. However, if you want to start calling people out about being rich, keep the conversation to money before some intelligent poor person searches Google to find out where you really come from.

    1. Thank you so much for this. I knew there was something a bit off about the way this article was written, and you hit the nail on the head.

      Although, she might have gotten a few of those ‘black only’ scholarships to go to that school, you never know (speaking of privilege).

  87. <<< White Guy…. This whole thing is stupid…. The judge should be fired the kid the white spoiled little brat left with the grieving father/husband for a good @$$ beatin and thrown in prison with the other people that make stupid decisions right along with this judge, Mr and Mrs Couch too for doing a crap job raising there kid…. The problem here is the problem with the world is its morals…. If they were black yeah theyd be in prison unless they had enough money to talk as good as the Couch's money did…. and there are diffrent standards held on diffrent races each having there own pros and cons, unfortunately thats america for ya…. and if you disagree with that then your bout as brilliant as the jury in the above trial…. Peace….

  88. I’m not saying race isn’t an issue…….but I think financial standing is a much bigger one. The poor will always be judged more harshly and have no means for a good defense. I don’t care if you are black, white, orange, or purple……If you are dirty and dressed like a street person or you look clean and have a nice suit, people are going to judge you within a millisecond of meeting you. We do not give each other the benefit of the doubt. We think poor people are beneath others and associate them with deserving less out of life, lazy, dumb, etc. If a rich person commits a crime then “they made a mistake” in an otherwise great life. If a poor person commits a crime they are a drain on society and should be dealt with harshly. OJ Simpson, Barkley, etc…… We seem to give the already advantaged rich more advantages…..and poor people even harsher lives.

  89. beautifully articulated! truth resounds in your words!
    i read through a couple of the comments above, i have to admit not many, but the idea that race had no hand in this is absolutely outrageous. when white ppl deny institutionalized racism (the only ppl who buy into this theory are wealthy, white liberalesque) it allows our culture to stick it’s head in the sand continuing to allow it to happen and condoning it. also, classism plays a huge part in this whole deal! i appreciate your pointing out exposure to violence and the fight for daily survival those in poverty are exposed to. when we see a cop, he is there to remove someone, not protect someone. fighting for things like food, access to proper medical care and keeping the bills on engulfs our minds, consuming our thoughts, taking away our power to think about long-term solutions to our problems. it is necessary to be hyper-focused on basic needs-food, shelter, heat, transportation, child care, exhaustion, health, mental health-that it is impossible to put energy into anything else. our ghettos grow larger everyday. as public access to proper education decreases, poverty increases. and bc of institutionalized racism, patriarchy, sexism, etc. the ppl most affected by these issues are people of color, immigrants, and mothers. for anyone who denies that these things are real, that it is perpetrated upon us in a way that has been strategically planned out, i would suggest looking at the rate of incarceration of people of color for nonviolent offenses, the rate of literacy in comparison to rich white counterparts, the quality of education overall in low income areas. this has been put in place by those in power to ensure they stay in power by not allowing us the time to look around us and take care of the overall illness, we can only treat the symptoms which come down on us like torrential flood-waters.

  90. Now this is what I’m talking about Ms. Mitchell. Let’s talk about the disparities in social justice. I think that Povertenzia is a much more provocative argument that Affluenza however we all know that the streets would be running …. At the end of the day there is no way that this young man should have gone free. If anything he has more access and exposure to consequences. If he hadn’t then let’s put his parents in jail. Let’s see what would start happening then.

    No piece… No justice…No justice no peace. Really.

  91. So, basically what this article is saying (because of that last statement) is that because a rich white boy got off of drunk driving and murder, ALL white people are rich, privileged, and would get off on the same.
    Seriously? White privilege isn’t a thing. It’s not. I’m white. I live in a pretty run down but ‘cosmopolitan(meaning mutli-racial)’ neighborhood. While I’m walking 200 yards from the bus stop to my home, on an average day, I get accosted for money, change, or food, and when I refuse, I get yelled at and threatened. I’ve seen the same people getting into their cars and driving away later in the day.
    White privilege is to be ‘assumed’ to be well off. The only time that anyone is privileged and white is if they actually ARE rich. It’s not because they’re white, it’s because they have money.
    Riding the bus on a daily basis, I’m insulted for being white, threatened for being white, and judged for being white.
    Repeat after me. Just because someone is white doesn’t mean they’re rich and privileged.
    The use of the term “white privilege” only promotes hatred and racism.

    In short, the only privilege there is for being white is that we get to sit back and accept racism and hatred from black people, because after all, “black people can’t be racist”. Right?

    Note. I do feel that the rich boy should be rotting in prison the same way that I would be if I got drunk and killed 4 people with my car. I also agree, the problem of ‘for profit’ prisons and other points made in this article are perfectly valid. However, the insinuation that this is a race issue is just disgusting and ignorant.

    1. White privilege does not refer merely to financial status. Yes, there are black racists- there are racists of EVERY race, culture, etc. One is no less wrong or offensive than the other, however, the extent and power associated with the racism minorities receive in this country from some white people is what makes the difference. This is the kind of thing you would have to see and experience to believe, so with you being white, I could understand how you might not get it

  92. What kills me is that the main people in this country being targeted by racism recognize and accept it as a way of life and move on. They don’t like it but they have no choice other than to just deal with it from time to time and do their best to rise above it. However, people in this nation who know absolutely NOTHING of experiencing racism deny its existence so earnestly! Its insane…. If you haven’t experienced something for yourself, YOU HAVE NO OPINION ON THE MATTER!!! What this means in simplest terms is that if you’re not African American, you will NEVER understand what it is like to be black in this country-period. So you can deny all you like that race is no factor, but you only further prove the point that it is by saying that because you are basing it on your own experiences of not encountering true racism. A person of ANY minority in America can attest to a very present level of racism in this country. The question I’d like to pose is how can you be so SOO positive that white privilege doesn’t exist?? It is an undeniable reality that at one point in our nation, black people were shamelessly injusticed on a regular basis and on a very large scale. We can admit that now, but at the time, as blatant as it might have been, it was still denied. So how can you be sure that there’s no way it ever happens now- because the laws have changed?????? Please….. Now that is TRULY IGNORANT…

    1. it is blatantly obvious that we still are a race oriented society. look at the prison statistics. the majority of ppl in prison are black men, then hispanic men then white men. most ppl are in prison for nonviolent offenses. and although drug use is stable across the ethnic planes, there are more black ppl in jail then white ppl. crack is a form of cocaine that has baking soda and water added to it, the water is cooked off, and you are left with a crack cookie, which is then broken down and sold as crack rocks. so really there is less cocaine in a gram of crack than in a gram of powder cocaine, but due to the fact that powder is primarily a “wealthy white” drug and crack is a “poor black” drug you serve 5 years for crack to every 6 months served for powder, and that is if the da or federal attorney decides to prosecute. most white ppl get off for their first offense with probation, but there are plenty of black ppl who are hit with a three strikes max sentencing for their first drug offense. this can be done by charging the subject with additional charges like possession of crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute and drug paraphernalia. not to mention if they happen to have a gun in the car or any number of other things within a certain radius of a school, etc. bam three strikes right there! life in prison for ppl who are younger than 16 years old. the fact is white ppl are less likely to be pulled over on nonsensical charges like no tag light or being in the wrong neighborhood or looking suspicious. white ppl are less likely to be subjected to stop and frisk activity. there is a fantastic book out called the new jim crow by michelle alexander and it is amazing!!!! i would suggest everyone read it and take a good hard look at our colorblind nation again.

  93. seriously? you can’t compare two separate cases and say the reasoning behind the African American case is because of his race? Your placing big assumptions which you don’t know the in depth details of. A huge reason we have racism like this in our country is because we constantly talk about placing white and blacks in separate categories which you have clearly done here. Stop talking about our differences and start talking about our similarities and maybe we’ll start placing each other in the same category and come together like we’re supposed to. Yet people think bringing awareness like this will make a difference? You’re only making the problem worse.

  94. 4 people dead and he walks away with 10 yrs probation , HE WAS DRUNK !!!!! Him being drunk had to play apart. there’re are people who are serving life sentence and didn’t mean to do it either . He’s old enough to drive , drink and party but not old enough to do the time $$$$ played a huge part in this !!
    &Racistism still exist!!!

  95. There is still a lot of racism, not only against black people but also against people of ALL SKIN COLORS. I think this article can be easily mistaken as a way to “trash talk white people” because it does easily categorize white people into the “privileged rich” category and the black/colored people into the “unprivileged poor” category.

    Overall I feel that YES, black people do receive worse treatments because of their skin color and the overall prejudices and social stereotypes that were predisposed on their race. The main understanding one should receive from the article is a raised awareness of injustice in the judicial system. In truth, this situation can happen to anyone, but this is seen as a way to raise awareness that YES, there is still unfairness and inequality in this world.

    I disagree with the way the author put in the forefront of the article a slash against the “privileged white.” To me, the last sentence changed my entire mind about the article. It was strong and unforgiving, in a way that made me feel as though there was more angst and hatred against the white race than a desire to improve the situation of the black race. She had completely switched the topic of “improving the condition of the underprivileged races” to “oh look how disgusting the privileged white race is.”

    We should work harder to find a way to improve the situation of all the impoverished and mistreated people in the world.

    1. I think the author missed the fact that if this person didn’t have money, the judge would have thrown the book at him. I think money talks and life is worthless at that point. These judges need to be investigated by the State Attorney General’s Office for making bad decisions like that. I hope the families appeal.

  96. who said that this defense “obviously doesn’t work for black and poor youth”? We can’t blame this on the fact that he is white. That is completely absurd. I’m not saying that there is no racism and that it isn’t a problem, but with this particular situation, race is not the issue. At all.

    1. Um…wow. I’d say that considering how, with all things equal (to include income of the accused, and the crime being charged), that blacks receive 20% times the sentences of whites, that it would be pretty safe to say that, all other aspects equal, if this involved a black person, the book would have been thrown at them.

      Also, consider: the same judge sentenced a black youth for ONE (1) count of manslaughter to 10 years — but you’re right: race, or white privilege had nothing to do with that…

      1. Blacks receive 20% of the sentence as whites? Huh? I know you couldn’t have meant 20 times because that’s a fabrication. What exactly were you trying to convey? Please don’t try to make an apple and an orange and a banana and a pear all the same fruit. Lots of people get screwed in court for a variety of reasons and I’m happy to discuss it with you. But please don’t take random examples and put them together to fit your narrative. Nothing is all one way or the other. But I will be the first to admit there’s been more than a few black defendants sentenced very unfairly. I’ve also seen some skate and it blew my mind. Yes,I have a lot of experience with the judicial system.

  97. Reblogged this on cakelee vannila and commented:
    Add your beautifully articulated! truth resounds in your words!
    i read through a couple of the comments above, i have to admit not many, but the idea that race had no hand in this is absolutely outrageous. when white ppl deny institutionalized racism (the only ppl who buy into this theory are wealthy, white liberalesque) it allows our culture to stick it’s head in the sand continuing to allow it to happen and condoning it. also, classism plays a huge part in this whole deal! i appreciate your pointing out exposure to violence and the fight for daily survival those in poverty are exposed to. when we see a cop, he is there to remove someone, not protect someone. fighting for things like food, access to proper medical care and keeping the bills on engulfs our minds, consuming our thoughts, taking away our power to think about long-term solutions to our problems. it is necessary to be hyper-focused on basic needs-food, shelter, heat, transportation, child care, exhaustion, health, mental health-that it is impossible to put energy into anything else. our ghettos grow larger everyday. as public access to proper education decreases, poverty increases. and bc of institutionalized racism, patriarchy, sexism, etc. the ppl most affected by these issues are people of color, immigrants, and mothers. for anyone who denies that these things are real, that it is perpetrated upon us in a way that has been strategically planned out, i would suggest looking at the rate of incarceration of people of color for nonviolent offenses, the rate of literacy in comparison to rich white counterparts, the quality of education overall in low income areas. this has been put in place by those in power to ensure they stay in power by not allowing us the time to look around us and take care of the overall illness, we can only treat the symptoms which come down on us like torrential flood-waters.

    1. OJ Simpson
      Don King
      Ray Lewis
      Leonard Little –
      Michael Vick
      R Kelly
      Kobe Bryant
      50 Cent
      Snoop Dogg
      Gene Atkins
      I found these examples in about 5 minutes of research. All wealthy black, some famous, individuals who got away with crimes or with extremely light sentences.

      Its class not race that is the issue. If it were a rich black kid who did this, he probably would have had the same result as this white kid.

      “Refusing to address the role that class plays in the criminal justice system, and politics in general, makes it all but impossible to address the root causes of 2 million people behind bars in the U.S. Race and racism do play a factor, but only indirectly. To the extent that blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately poor compared to overall society, they are disproportionately represented in the prison population. Few studies have examined the correlation between race and class. One of the few that did, (cited in Elliott Currie’s Crime and Punishment in America), looked at the crime, arrest and incarceration rates in a poor black neighborhood and a poor white neighborhood in Ohio. The not so surprising conclusion was that it is the poor, regardless of race, who bear the brunt of the war on crime, which sounds better than a “war on the poor.” This explains why whites are in prisons and the relative absence of wealthy minorities from prisons and jails. ” -https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/(X(1)S(rc3zb3enafq3ly55w25fhtek))/displayArticle.aspx?articleid=6070&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

      1. i can agree with you to an extent on class playing a part in the rate of incarceration in our country, but it is true that when my white son walks down the street in the housing assistance apartment areas of town (we are poor) with his friends, the cops just drive by, they may ask what he’s doing in that neighborhood, but that is rare. if a black teen is walking down the street in his neighborhood no matter how wealthy he is, there is more than a 75% chance he will be stopped especially if walking w a group of friends. we are still living in a racist society, no matter how much we want to ignore it and pretend it doesn’t exist. it is real. i don’t believe a black wealthy boy would have gotten off with the same light punishment as this white kid. i just don’t buy that. when you look at the prison system in relation to jim crow laws you can see how we have just shifted focus. yes, there are some wealthy black men who have gotten off for crazy crimes, but did you research how many white famous ppl that got off? yes, class alot of play but race is just as much of a factor. i suggest everyone who looks at the criminal justice system and sees, regardless of why, injustices-whether the cause is classism or racism-to read the new jim crow by michelle alexander. she talks alot about a racial caste system and breaks it down very well.

      2. Please understand that each and everyone one of these individuals is a HIGH PROFILE, HIGHLY VISIBLE PEOPLE OF COLOR.

        In addition, the quote you’ve posted completely ignores the fact that while white poor people are more likely than wealthy white people to be bear the brunt of the war on crime, Black people and Latino people are arrested and convicted as far higher rates that makes this comparison completely ignorant of the current climate of criminal justice and race relations in the United States. If you have Black men getting arrested and incarcerated at substantially higher the rate than White men as a whole, are we going to seriously conclude that it is only class that is having an impact? And are we also going to ignore the fact that by and large Black people are more likely to be poor and live in areas that are more heavily patrolled by police (although not necessarily more crime ridden)? Are we going to continue to ignore that a majority of the crimes they’re arrested and incarcerated for are non-violent, yet they’re still subjected to lengthy sentences and no one bats and eyelash to figure out a more productive, less destructive manner in which to handle and issue that has been ongoing for nearly 3 decades?

        Let’s stop with the minimization of race issues. If we really want to solve this problem, people are going to have to be up front and stop skirting around the issues.

  98. I would like to think that the problem is in the parenting. This young man has in fact been spoiled all of his life by his parents. If the guidance of this kid has been to coddle him and pay for his mistakes literally, then the parents should suffer the consequences along with the child. Unfortunately that is how this country has been unfolding for years. The rich get richer and choose to let others parent their children and bail them out when it seems fit. The poor get poorer and most often then not, don’t even have parents or even a parent to help tell them right from wrong. Race does play a part in this matter, but it definitely boils down to the parents. They don’t want this kid to pay heed to what he has done and in my eyes that makes them just as guilty.

  99. I swear to god the day I hear a black person verbally admit that there is such a thing as racist black people (it’s tough, they like to think they’re the persecuted ones and no one else is), I will start giving spare change to the homeless niggers on the streets (even if they are just going to go buy a colt 45 and a gram of crack with that money)

    1. First of all we are not niggers …fixed your damn mouth fool! We are called Moors…look us up if you have not been educated on the real word of Black people ..means Moor! Get it ? loose the language yo..! rvbeypublications.com excuse your ignorance ..If this is the killer of my beloved one Trey ,you will be hunted down by the death angels ..you can not run or hide from the wrath of The Most High God..!

      1. You say your are not nig—-, yet yesterday I saw two 40 year old “Moors” fighting in the park calling each other nigg—-, and letting all the kids around them hear. If you want the n word to go away start tell the Moors not to use it anymore.

      2. My last name comes from the Moors and I’m Sicilian. My last name is from the prominent Moors. My lineage originates from Ethiopia. Does yours? If not, don’t claim to be something you’re not in order to make empty threats. It’s against the Rules of Conduct on this site!

    2. I swear to god the day I hear a white person verbally admit there is such a thing as racist white people (it’s tough, they like to think they’re the persecuted ones and no one else is), I will start giving spare change to the homeless crackers on the streets (even if they are just going to buy a colt 45 and awaken their dormant serial killer genes)

      1. there is such thing as racist white people, you must be fucking dumb to think there isn’t and im sure most white people can admit that.
        theres a difference between a African Americans and niggers and you my sad friend sound like a nigger.

      2. Start giving that money up. I am part white and have met at least 5 -10 white people who are real racists. However, I have met only about 5 -10 black people who aren’t racist. Our society teaches black people that white people keep them down. I didn’t know Jesse, bozo, and Uncle Al were white. What America is suffering from is White Guilt. It is time to end this problem. Black people can succeed on their own.

        1. Well my post was in complete humor to the one I was responding to (Zimmerman). I honestly don’t know who is serious and who isn’t, because the topic itself is ridiculous IMHO. We’re all humans, period. People don’t understand we live in a matrix, proven by the double slit experiment, quantum mechanics:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfPeprQ7oGc

      3. Hi Patrick, you should choose your words according to your audience! Didn’t you read the Zimmerman’s comment :/
        PS. Liked your quantum reference by the way!
        Peace

        1. In a sense, I don’t have a specific audience targeted with my ironic humor. Everyone who reads it will see it differently, and that’s the great thing about this reality: we see what we want to see! But if people go as far as to reply to me, that sets in motion an opportunity to raise people’s awareness! =D

      4. HAAHHAH Straigth up! your comment is funny because it’s so true. Some bloggers lacks the ability to understand satire ironic humour but it’s aight. For those who don’t understand what Patrick’s comment meant, here’s a translation:” Everyone who sees themselves as a persecuted minority would be in direct defensive and offensive reacting towards the issue at hand. And thus, resulting in stereotyping and generalizing with lope-sided arguable statements.” Hence, both the George and Patrick’s statements are treated equally. that is why it’s funny. =D

        1. Now here’s a guy who speaks near my level! You picked up on the meanings I was trying to convey. We’re the ones who understand Jon Stewart AND Steven Colbert! =D

      5. I would be staggered by the number of people that didn’t understand the satirical point you were making if it weren’t so bloody sad. I appreciated your witticism. Mind you, I also like Stewart, Colbert AND Carlin, so there it is. I do wonder why you waste your time and intellect here, though…

      6. hahahah yes!!! I am white and I approve this post! Sadly, no race has caused more harm to other human beings than white folks (and many times because we somehow think we are superior). I really enjoyed this article and it’s a shame to see all this hateful speech on the comment thread.

      7. awesome. i am white. there are white racists. please dont give them change. i love my children and dont want any more serial killers, or racist.

    3. I admit there are PLENTY of racist black people. You even have black supremacist group that call for the hatred of white people. With that said, i don’t suggest that you give money to dope fiends and criminals.

    4. George Zimmerman, you should be put away for life and ass raped every day, you piece of shit. George, suck a dick, you racist fuck.

    5. Folks, before you respond to “George Zimmerman”, I should point out that this is not the child-murderer George Zimmerman from the crud red state of Florida, with the low IQ. This is George Zimmerman from AEI, probably THE TOP, TOP conservative intellectual in the Republican Party – I am not exaggerating.

      I am serious about him being the top, you simply will not find a more intelligent Republican – anywhere. So, when you respond, you will need to summon ALL of your clever argumentation skills.

    6. funny how a cowardly white will type the n word but never say t to a black mans face unless he brings 30 of his friends to fight one black man. thats call coward. kkk, nazi, skin head all y’all and the likes of you all are cowards. bet you will say alot in print but you will never say it to my face when u r alone. ever

      1. is there anything more cowardly than saying “you won’t say that to my face” over the Internet. im not justifying anything you’re arguing against, but the hypocrisy in this post is too comical to let slide

    7. Dude, are you serious? Of course, there are racist black people; I’ve met more of them than racist white people, and I live in the South. That said though, black people are persecuted quite a lot along with several other disenfranchised groups which can be summarized as anyone who is not straight, white, middle class or higher, and male. Try to tell me that doesn’t put a whole lot of people at a disadvantage from the get-go and I will laugh in your face.

      Also, stereotyping homeless folks is just not on. Most people who are on the streets aren’t actually addicts/alcoholics. Shit happens, and everyone doesn’t have a tidy little trust fund and a supportive family/group of friends as a safety net. So hop off.

      Perspective: Gay black female from GA.

  100. You had everything right until you made this a race issue. The issue is money. You’re stereotyping here, thus making yourself ignorant to the facts. White, Black, Green or Blue is irrelevant here. The fact is that wealthy people have access to resources that the poor do not, which leads to “affluenza.”
    I am not defending “affluenza,” however making race a focal point here discredits your article and brings up an issue that does nothing but deem yourself naive to the facts.

    1. Agree with Jim Bow!!! Stop making race an issue, that’s not why the kid in Texas got 10 years probation. Wish you could rewrite this article without the race issue. I agreed with you till that came up and I had shared it on my social page but I’m taking it off now.

    2. JAM’s thesis is just perfect for the occassion and she did not make it about “race” because she mentioned the doctor who was making his fortune off of b asically ‘holding children in bondage to make money.’ That’s enslavement. And check out the story, in Pennsylvania, it was white kids who got the shaft. This is a true story and there are more like it out there. No. It is not a ‘race’ thang; it’s an American thang. Even more, if you dare to notice; it isn’t even “rich” vs. “poor” and her concept and thesis does say that too because all poor Americans are not dark-shaded. Some are white. THIS IS ABOUT SOME JUDGES WHO ARE GOING WAY ACROSS THE LINE METING OUT UNEQUAL AND UNFAIR AND OUTRAGEOUS JUSTICE. THE JUSTICE SYSTEM BELONGS TO US, THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA…NOT TO A ‘FEW’ ROGUE JURISTS. WE NEED TO SUPPORT THE EFFORTS OF PEOPLE LIKE BLOGGER JAM TO COME OUT AGAINST UNFAIR SENTENCING.–MO

    3. You’re an idiot. Poverty disproportionately affects people of color who have been SLAVES and segregated from society, and not given the same rights and privileges as whites. And, I AM white. I still cannot believe white people don’t see this and refuse to see afluenza and white privilege. It’s embarrassing.

      1. You are absolutely correct, Summer. I am white, but thank God I’m aware of what white privilege is and that I’m not blinded by it. I’m poor myself and probably would not fare as well as Mr. Couch if I were to be in a situation like that, but the fact is people of color are disproportionately in poverty. The author got this right by including this in her essay here. For white people to say ‘that is of their own choosing to be in poverty’ is absolutely ignorant and shows that they have no clue about their own white privilege. And you are right, it is embarrassing. And incredibly sad for us as a nation.

      2. Balderdash! Poverty is a horrible thing. Regardless of race. Folks today are given all the same opportunity no one alive today is or was a slave or is affected by slavery anymore. It IS time to recognize that there are affluent families we should do away with inheritance entirely. Too many undeserving welps are allowed to own companies they did not work to build. Walmart anyone? It is time to stop rewarding folks for being born with a silver spoon in their mouths. All men should be made equal at 18. (Since birth does not seem to achieve this goal.) Do away with ivy league schools make all schools equal and make them all fight for the same funding. Take the wealth back from those who earned it when they pass on. Certainly if you are self made you deserve to reap the rewards of what you have built, made, or earned. But once you and your spouse die? It should become public domain. Those who run a company of a deceased founder should be elected by the workers of that company. All positions of authority should be elected positions. It is time to do away with nepotism and class by birth distinctions. Let those who are truly worthy make their own way. Let those who rule always be elected to their positions.

        As a fictional character once had to say: The rights of the many outweigh the rights of the few or the one.

      3. Are you high? Slavery ended 150 years ago and segregation 50 years ago. Poverty hurts people, yes. Same rights and privileges? I haven’t EVER seen a public school that tells a black kid he can’t study as much as the white kid. They can both go to the same college if they meet the entrance score. They can both land jobs if they work hard enough and apply themselves. THAT IS OUR BIG SECRET! White privilege is study hard, make good grades, and accept you to outwork everyone to get the job or promotion you want. If you don’t get it, you regroup and do it again and again until you get what you want or another opportunity comes up. Luck is when hard work and opportunity meet. That’s it. I have defined white privilege.

    4. I would say that Socioeconomic Status is becoming more and more important when it comes to prejudice, but you are misinformed if you think that it’s the only issue. There are still studies done showing that many employers are more likely to hire a white man with a criminal record than a black man with the same qualifications. There are a dozen other studies that say the same thing in different ways. It would be nice if race was a non-issue, but that’s just not true.

      This kid got off because he was rich, but I’m pretty sure that his race also influenced the decision. I think the author is valid in suggesting that his race was a determining factor in the injustice.

      1. Considering the knee-jerk-backlash many comments are receiving I just want to say this was a great thought. As a mixed (half asian/half white) male with a criminal record, it has been a nightmare finding work. So you can imagine my terror at the thought that despite how bad I have it, there are other people who have not made the same mistakes I did with even more obstacles. If you could locate this information again I’d love to read it. Again, thanks for the insightful input.

      2. Thank you. I knew there were going to be some “race does not matter it’s all about money” people on here. Ignoring the fact that, particularly in America, race and class are tied together after centuries of Whites having an advantage. Even when study after study, controlling for class, show that Black people get harsher sentences than White people for the same exact crimes, people still want to say race doesn’t matter (or it doesn’t matter as much as we’re making it matter) and that it’s all about class and money. No, you are not going to see a defense like this for poor White people. But you also most certainly would not have seen (and will never see) this same defense for a Black youth (especially a Black boy) with his same economic background. No lawyer, judge, etc. would even fathom it.

    5. Why can’t it be both? Why can’t it be a combination of racism and “income-ism?” One has to admit that being poor and white in America is (typically) difficult. Being poor and black is (typically) more difficult. With that said, that is not to remove the burden of responsibility from the poor who habitually make stupid and immoral decisions… just as it doesn’t from the wealthy.

  101. Has the entire world gone crazy?! Both of these arguments are insane and obscene! Affluenza or Povertenza, are simply society’s way of not making people take responsibility for themselves. God help us all.

      1. You were correct until the author closed with this: “The next time someone tells you that there is no such thing as “White” privilege or elitism, ask them why Affluenza is a viable defense but Povertenza isn’t.” She uses the declarative “Povertenza isn’t.” but, as I understood and you point out, this is supposed to be satire. It fails at that because the fact is that socioeconomic status, exposure to violence, absent father, and other arguments ARE used to either absolve a defendant or mitigate his offense in sentencing, to varying degrees of success having nothing to do with a monied mouthpiece.

    1. I’ll diverge slightly and say that I believe the author isn’t saying “povertenza” is a ridiculous idea, but that’s because a judge has decided that “affluenza” is not a ridiculous defense. The “ridiculous” bar has been moved.

  102. @Rob, I strongly suspect that JAM knows that ‘Povertenza’ is a ridiculous notion and merely invented it to ironically illustrate an equally ridiculous and contrived notion; ‘Affluenza’.

  103. I’d like to congratulate those of you who think race has nothing to do with it. That must mean you have no idea what it’s like to be racially profiled or simply treated a certain way (on a regular basis) because of your race. Seriously, I’m happy for you. But, just because that’s your experience, does not mean its everyone else’s. Race plays a huge role in so many issues. I’m not saying it’s everything, but you must be in some serious denial to think it has nothing to do with anything.

    1. I do, actually. Also profiled on gender and age. By store clerks; by school mates. I do not believe I have ever called a black person by a racially loaded epithet, whether in jest or in anger. I have, in the past, been called names or treated differently by black school mates because I was white. And I was profiled explicitly in a store because I was at the time a teenage girl. It happens.

    2. Racism does exist. It’s a human trait. Everybody’s a little bit racist. If you think growing up at a predominantly black school as a white guy was an advantage, I sure would’ve liked to know that years ago.

    3. Try being the only white guy in my neighborhood then come talk to me about racism. Racism happens, but almost never is a valid excuse for anything.

      ONE judge in ONE part of the ENTIRE COUNTRY gives a white kid ten years probation for drunk driving.

      A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT JUDGE, with an ENTIRELY different mindset, in an ENTIRELY different situation, with NUMEROUS DIFFERENCES, will probably NOT give that EXACT sentence to a black kid.

      = Racism?

      We can stop joking around here, now.

  104. Reblogged this on Live, Learn, Travel, Teach and commented:
    Maybe you’ve heard of the recent travesty in the American justice system. The “Affluenza” defense which allowed Ethan Couch to kill 4 people while drunk driving and receive probation, and 10 years of rehab instead of jail time because he was too rich to be taught right from wrong or how to understand the consequences of his actions.
    JAM has come up with the perfect solution to the Affluenza defense.
    “If “Affluenza” is real, then I posit that my newly coined “Povertenza” be considered. Instead of jumping to fill up prisons, let’s start putting youth from disadvantaged backgrounds in treatment facilities”

    1. That would be fine, except he is only getting 6 months in that rehab and his RICH, absentee father is footing the bill of $50,000.00 to pay for it! Are YOU willing to pay for all of the ‘poor’ kids the same? I know I can’t.. I don’t have that kind of money, even if it were my own son!

  105. Enough with the name-calling, people.
    Then again, it makes it all the more clear who is unreasonable.
    I don’t believe this article was intended to be divisive, but the fact of the matter is that white people can be affected by poverty as well and can receive unfair treatment in the court system because of this (although a much larger percentage of black people and Hispanic people are actually affected).
    Look at that – I didn’t even use any slurs.

  106. These comments are crazy and super racist. Just because you’re on the internets doesn’t mean you should show all your ignorance and stupidity. And – the author of this piece is so right! If Affluenza is a disease, so should Povertenza. That boy’s parents didn’t discipline him – he’s killed four people – and because of their failure as parents, the state needs to step in and discipline him instead. He should be in jail. Like any other murderer. The verdict absolutely says “If you are rich, you can buy off justice”. Absolutely.

  107. This story embodies the currents political atmosphere of injustice plaguing America today. Injustice can be identified in many forms, like racisim, classism, sexism, but also in the form of ethnocentrism. For a resolution to this scourge of injustice affecting America to be realized, the populace must act in cohesion toward their intolerance to injustice both domestic and abroad. My condolences to the families of the 4 lives lost and my prayers to the reckless boy who took them, in hopes he will make an attempt for atonement even thought the gravity of his actions are to burdensome to rectify.

  108. Also, are we comparing apples to apples: is Davontaye charged with vehicular manslaughter as the result of drunk driving? If so, I think it would be de rigueur for a defense attorney to bring up any mitigating factors such as depression, anxiety, and other emotional or mental problems which might have contributed to his driving drunk. No question. And I am sure there are judges out there who would absolutely consider such an argument.

  109. Had the offender in this case been Barack obamas daughter, she also would have been excused from being imprisioned in a state penitentiary. Your argument is invalid.

  110. Sometimes, I am really embarrassed to be an American. Like right now, reading this article and all these hateful comments. Its damn ugly.

  111. I do have to point out that the Affluenza defense does not apply to ALL white people. There are plenty of white individuals from low socioeconomic strata who suffer many of the same issues you describe in this blog. I couldn’t be more sickened by the ruling in favor of that rich brat, but I definitely think it was a combined issue of the money and the color of his skin, not merely that he was white. To make that claim, I think is a gross overstatement used to support the notion of “white privilege.” I am not denying that privilege exists, but it is certainly not simply a way of life for anyone with white skin. Money plays a huge part and although most with wealth may be white, that doesn’t mean that most whites have wealth…in fact its the other way around…most whites don’t have wealth. The wealthy whites are evidently an elite class of people that should be considered all on their own. The favoritism shown to them should not be argued as a generalized favoratism to ALL whites. That simply isn’t the truth of the world in which we live.

    1. Sorry, I hope that I’m not doing too much by answering your post. I’d have felt rude not to after you commenting on mine.

      I think that what you said here is right. It may have been both. I don’t think that you are saying quite what everyone else is. If I can quote you, “I am not denying that privilege exists.” I promise that I’m not trying to use you out of context but I am excited that you can say that. Many people that I’ve met along the way never could. I don’t think that white privilege says that you get away with murder, the four people who died were likely white. To argue that this is about race would mean that the justice system is ok with white people killing each other but not black people killing each other. Maybe the “white privilege” comment was a throw away because the author couldn’t find a fair way to end this article and still incite comments from the likes of you and I. Maybe you or I should be writing our own article or blogs to define exactly what “white privilege” is.

  112. Not trying to “show my colors” on the issue but the prison system and its hold on the minority population (black and brown) is disproportionately large. We can say that its not a color issue but a wealth issue, but then that leads us to ask questions about why greater proportions of black people are poor after their being in america longer than most other people. I think that the writer is trying to comment on the way that racism is institutionalized within our economy and “justice” system.

    1. Btw.. Obama is half white so his daughter gets off with around a 4th of the time that a full african-american would serve…

      (P.S. This comment is LOADED with sarcasm for those of you who don’t know what it means to be mixed.)

      1. I think that your comment about how “he has money” is, today, an overstatement. (http://newsone.com/2291918/r-kelly-foreclosure/) I don’t think that THAT is about race and not about getting away with horrendous things because he has money. Isn’t that the deal with O.J.? We could make it about highly publicized celebrities. Once your name becomes household your almost sure to end a case in acquittal or crazy house.

        My serious thoughts though lie more in the realm of how an instance applies to a trend. I’m not the author of this post but if I were I would have used this instance to highlight that trend that I’ve mentioned. It’s an emotional appeal paired with a logical one. The numbers have to mean something. Since you replied, I’m really curious as to what you think of the dispraportionate number of hispanic and black people who make up our jailed population if there are more white people in poverty than any of these minorities. I can look to find an article regarding it if you need to.

        P.S. Hi, Lisa! You seem cool. (cause you cite sources) 🙂

  113. Except affluenza isn’t a valid argument for the defense. Neither is this crock of shit. The defendant was first of all a 16 year old kid, and he was given 10 years probation, and his father had to pay 50k for 6 month rehab, and the judge was known for being lenient with youth. He was not proven innocent in any way, shape, or form.

    That being said, the kids punishment is also known as…

    “If you fuck up, even one time, for any reason, even if you’re jaywalking, you will go to jail/prison for the maximum sentence available for that crime, and charges may be brought back into court, charges may come into account for Probation violations, and you may receive an extension on your probation.”

    Just because one rich white kid got away with seeing no jail time at the tender age of sixteen doesn’t mean

    A. That it is at all ok that he only got 10 years probation.
    B. That we can start handing out get out of jail free cards to people who cost lives all because they were living in a “poor” area.

    The definition of poor in this country is so fucking insanely well off, it’s literally a retarded definition because it genuinely doesn’t represent actual poverty. You must be mentally challenged to think that the Housing, Food, Disability, and Unemployment benefits that our government can provide for honest and genuine citizens could ever really leave anyone in a legitimately impoverished condition. Instead, terrible choices are made, and you see people using food stamps to buy Gushers and call their local welfare offices on a fucking iPhone 5.

    Just because something semi-stupid happened in the court system doesn’t mean we can start pardoning and publicly funding rehab for every dude who grew up “poor.” I live in one of the most violent cities in America per capita, it has a 2 out of 100 crime rating which is equal to that of Detroit, Michigan. I’ve been jumped twice, and guess what?

    I have exactly zero things on my record. Except, I might have to mail in that repair order for my burned out tail-light soon.

    Fuck off.

    Excuses are like assholes, everyone has one, and almost none of them are ever worth two shits.

  114. One of the main 3 goals of the worthless rich is to get us to where, if a Mercedes or above runs over a working American, the cops would not even stop the car. To invent anything at all other than corruption, is not on the agenda of the worthless rich. The 3 goals of the 1%, or the .01% if you prefer, are impunity, public acts of sadism, and 1860s reconstruction style debt-peonage. Their hoped-for means of getting us there are wars, bankruptcy, and blowback.

  115. Let me dissect your closing remarks if you will allow it.

    “”The next time someone tells you that there is no such thing as “White” privilege or elitism, ask them why Affluenza is a viable defense but Povertenza isn’t.Jessica Ann Mitchell is the founder of OurLegaci.com & BlackBloggersConnect.com. To reach JAM, email her at OurLegaci@gmail.com.””

    – White privilege, eh? Apparently you haven’t seen “White Trash”. This criticism is short and sweet. It speaks for itself.

    – Affluenza wasn’t a viable defense, because he wasn’t proved innocent. It’s not as if the courts do not recognize he committed said crime, it just mitigated his sentence. He is still guilty of DUI and unintentional vehicular manslaughter. So stop saying that “Affluenza is a viable defense,” because guess what? It isn’t. It’s not like other, actual, viable defenses such as an alibi, or well constructed self-defense case.

    – You go on and on about racism, yet you founded a site that exists to service “black” bloggers, which probably looks and feels very friendly with some strong and true messages. While it won’t literally prevent someone who is Spanish, Brazillian, Caucasian, Asian, or anywhere in between from joining your sites (because that is against the law if that is the case), it’s clearly strongly discouraged as the name of the site delegates to the reader (and potential member) it’s true purpose. It’s about on the same page as having a “White Club,” where it’s technically ok to join if you’re any race, but it’s strongly discouraged, which for some reason seems a ton more racist. Isn’t that funny? Not very open-minded of you. Want to argue that this very site isn’t racist? How about the fact you used the word “Our” in the website name. This word implies ownership to the next word, “Legaci” (Legacy). Your mission as quoted on the front page is to “Celebrate Black Life & Culture.” I’m using quotes here not to mock anything on your sight but to logically point out why your site is unfortunately prejudice. Thus the legacy you refer to is the legacy of black individuals. Theres no reason that a person of another race would feel comfortable joining this site unless they can share in the legacy that belongs to black individuals. Legacy means something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor from the past, something that someone without such roots would not be able to claim. Therefore, this site is not for them. You can defend it however you want, this site is clearly supported by black people FOR black people. Website owners and developers that mirror this precedent that have roots in anglo-american, caucasian, or germanic roots, or as you call them “White,” are immediately labeled as racists, and they should be. But yours gets a pass. There’s no such thing as positive racism.

    Seriously, and I mean this wholly and respectfully, get the fuck out of here. Racism only stops when people stop identifying socio-economic statuses with race, which you did throughout your entire article which was rife with bias even before the closing remarks. You want to ridicule a situation with a white kid (Affluenza “Defense”), which was a crock of shit to begin with anyway, and then you praise another hypothetical situation with a black kid that ought be on the same level of ridicule (“Povertenza”). You can’t ridicule one version of this hypothetical defense and then praise another on the other end of the spectrum. You should either claim that socio-economic backgrounds are mitigating factors for crimes, or they aren’t. You can’t have both, or guess what? That means you’re a hypocrite, and a potential classist or racist. Supporting one over the other, for whatever reason. Period. By the way, the second we stop clouding issues regarding individual socio-ecomic statuses with issues regarding race, that will be the second we can all as one united people of the same country can start identifying actual reasons why certain citizens are “impoverished,” which in this country, means you can still eat, sleep in a warm bed, go to school, not walk 10 miles to get clean water, and even own an Xbox 360.

    By the way, stop making up words like “Povertenza,” I realize it was made up to ridicule the Affluenza situation, but it looks as if some bright individuals reading this are starting to believe it’s a real word.

  116. so far , all the semantics in the world will never take away from the fact that he did kill 4 people . nor will those same semantics bring those people back . nonsense on the “Povertenza” excuse because that is all it will ever be- an excuse after the fact , after killing four and if excused , sets the ‘tone” for further “excusable” wrong doings .

  117. JAM, I think you are referring to the young man from Detroit, who plead guilty to the homicide of four individuals. He was disadvantaged alright, like a lot of the youth in Detroit. But they are not lined up killing people, and neither are the wealthy affluent people in Texas. Your picture with him covering up his eye is to point out the fact that he was blind in one eye and you did not do much to change his name besides add a “y”. The four people he murdered were Michael Robinson Sr, Nicole Chapman, Brian Dixon, and D’Angelo McNoriell. How do I know? Because those people were my friends and had my van NOT acted up, I would have been over there also. Being poor,nor being rich is an excuse for stupidity. We must rear our children so they are all successful and not let what is displayed on video games, movies, and television become the parents. Save the children but if their bad asses commit a crime, send them to prison like they should be punished. Not sugar coating because of money or lack of. I only wish for their sake, God helps them.

  118. I had to stop reading the comments on here about this bull crap. There are WAY to many idiots making fools of themselves. I can promise that as many whites were upset about the out come of the verdict this stupid judge handed down. There was NOTHING right about it. Hopefully something can be done about it. It won’t be left alone until something is done.

  119. Is it not obvious that saying “poverty can affect anyone” is totally irrelevant to what is actually the case?

    Of course it is possible, logically, even economically, that anyone can be poor.

    It’s hopelessly obnoxious that anyone thinks it adds value to the discussion, to demonstrate grammatical competency with words like “poor.”

    Start actually thinking.

    That’s like responding to poverty in war-torn countries: “Well, anyone can be poor.”

    This U.S. is a war-torn country that economically bootstrapped itself through commitment to slavery. If you don’t know about The Peculiar Institution, you have absolutely no valuable opinion to contribute to this discussion.

    Don’t be an intellectual black hole cum ahistorical knob; stop trolling; and understand.

    1. It *needs* to be understood:

      (1) war-torn

      (2) economic model dependent on slavery

      Stop arguing about divorcing socio-economic class from race as if this country does not have the history it has. Many of these Black families are STILL experiencing the effects of slavery in the U.S.

      It’s like you’re bloody arguing that a slave’s child and a middle-class person’s child have the same socio-economic opportunity — and it impossibly ignorant, no matter how much you huff and puff. You do realize economic algorithms which inform things like SSDI (social security) are based on the description of parents’ income/work history, right?

      What is the income history of a slave? These economic systems were set it place during Segregation.

      Why can’t you be intellectually mature about this? Just why?

  120. I have had much experience and thought that goes into this. I find that often there is a real assumption by the judge and jury that jail time is part of the black experience and therefore the jail time they hand out is not considered a harmful thing. Whereas they see children who are white who come into court and they think that jail will ruin their lives and the assume the trama of even being in court and getting in trouble is enough to keep them out of trouble in the future.

    Now while I admit there is a resiliency that comes along with being black, it doesn’t mean that we are better suited to deal with or handle jail time. I personally think that too many of us are already screwed in our ability to better our station in life because of our past interactions with the criminal “justice” system.

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