An excellent piece at Salon.com by Luke Brinker on the deadly legacy of Rick Perry. He leaves office having overseen the execution of almost 300 men and women.
Of course, certain individuals are more likely to be executed than others. African Americans account for a disproportionate share of those executed on Perry’s watch; while blacks make up just 11.6 percent of Texas’ population, they represented 40 percent of those put to death during Perry’s tenure. Whites (44.4 percent of the population) accounted for another 40 percent of executions, while Latinos (38.2 percent of the population) accounted for the remaining 20 percent.
Conservatives may argue that the overrepresentation of African Americans on death row isn’t an overrepresentation at all — that the figures simply reflect who commits crimes, and that’s that. This notion may be comforting to those who would rather not confront the problems of systemic racism that continue to plague our criminal justice system, but it has no basis in reality: As with other states, Texas is substantially more likely to seek the death penalty against a black person convicted of killing a white person than against those convicted of killing a black person.