These professionals strive to do justice for individual defendants. The concrete experience of routine cases in the justice system is fairness to a fault. The enforcement authorities, defense counsel, and the court frequently bend over backwards to plead cases out to softer versions of the criminal conduct’s harsh reality. They do so precisely to rationalize the avoidance or reduction of jail time.

They will tell you there is endemic racism in the system. If pressed on the matter, though, they would not be able to describe for you any racist things that they themselves have actually done, nor any racist things done by colleagues. Nor can the earnest lawyers who represent the purported victims of racism point you to stacks on stacks of motions they’ve filed claiming the police arrested their felonious clients because of skin color. The crimes, it turns out, are not only supported by abundant proof; they have victims, who are disproportionately black and Latino. The lawyers are at a loss to point to cases in which they’ve shown that prosecutors charged their clients due to racial animus rather than evidence. They can’t cite cases where clients were sabotaged by the racism of the presiding judge. In a system that was pervasively racist, such cases would abound. Not in this one, though.

Still, the legal elites will insist there is systemic racism. There must be, even though no one can put a finger on where it happened, because the outcomes the system produces are not “equal” — equality being a utopia in which the racial composition of those arrested, convicted and sentenced aligns perfectly with the proportion of that race in the overall population, as if all racial and ethnic groups committed crimes at exactly the same rates.