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Lanier: 80 Percent of Young Arrestees Are Fatherless

Channel-hopping briefly on Saturday night, we stumbled onto a panel discussion about race relations in America on MSNBC. Among the guests was D.C.'s own Police Chief Cathy Lanier, who was selected, we presume, for her unique role as a white, female chief in a predominantly black and male department. (She pops up beginning in the second of four parts here.) Lanier, and her boss Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, certainly know of questions about racial sensitivity, as we have documented.

Among the highlights of her comments:

On her public image: "When I walk into a community, the first thing people see is not my race but my uniform. It symoblizes something to everyone right off the bat. To some it symbolizes fear and oppression and to some it symbolizes hope. ... I have 30 seconds to define what this uniform means."

On a changing city: "The real tension in our community is the economy. Now in D.C., development is unbelievable in how the city has turned around. When you have a public housing complex with a 340-unit condo around it, you have rich black people and rich white people moving into it. And those people in the condo have different cultures that they're used to. And they're going to complain about you next door, and you're going to complain about them. There's the tension."

At one point, former Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnicle asked Lanier how many young men who are arrested do not have fathers in the picture: Her answer: 75 to 80 percent don't "have a father or a man at all."

Later, she got personal when she jumped back in to stress that she did not want to give the impression that "because there is not a father present a child cannot be successful. ... I'm a single parent myself, raised by a single parent. What is critical is ... to have one person who loves you and cares about you and tells you you're going to make it."

By David A Nakamura  |  April 14, 2008; 6:00 PM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety , David Nakamura  
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Comments

And isn't it true that the absent fathers also had absent fathers? And their fathers and so on. It seems to be a part of the culture

Posted by: Seth | April 26, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

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