Common and John Legend twist facts in Oscar speech


Not sure if you watched the entire Academy Awards show on Sunday (I fell asleep somewhere after Lady Gaga sang), but you may have heard about rapper Common and John Legend’s impassioned comments about “justice” when they accepted their Oscar for Best Song.

While they mentioned gender, sexual orientation and the struggle for democracy in Hong Kong, the flavor of their comments was the terrible injustice being meted out to black Americans to this day.


In their speech, Legend cited some facts, which were troubling on the face of it, but also troubling because they are twisted to promote a specific narrative.

“There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850.” According to the 1850 Census, out of a total US population of 23 million, about 3 million were slaves. Of those, about 870,000 were black males above the age of 15.

Via Politicfact, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were 526,000 black men serving time in state or federal correctional facilities in 2013, plus 877,000 on probation and 280,000 on parole. So if you add all those numbers up, you get to 1.68 million. Yes, that is more than the number of black slaves in 1850.

However, the numbers are really meaningless when you look at those numbers in terms of total population.

Continues on AllenBWest

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