Ever notice how the criminal justice incidents that seem to capture the national attention are those that are either amenable to drawing false lessons (Gates was wrong about Crowley profiling him, therefore all claims of racial profiling are bogus; the Jena 6 were inaccurately touted as saintly victims, therefore there is no racial injustice in Louisiana), result in outcomes that almost never happen (false charges against Duke lacrosse players resulted not only in a public pronouncement of their innocence, but actual criminal charges against the power-tripping prosecutor), or otherwise give completely inaccurate assessments of how the criminal justice system actually works (like O.J., violent crime suspects are able to win acquittal via slippery defense lawyers, high-paid and hackish forensic experts, and racially sympathetic
Not sure why or how it works out that way, but it certainly seems to. Unfortunately, the public’s education about the criminal justice system seems to come chiefly through these high-profile cases.
There are always problems when we draw broad conclusions based on specific examples.
I think the reverse is also true. We need to acknowledge social context -- especially because that context often influences our behavior. But we shouldn't let that context bias our reading of particular events. There are execptions to every rule.
It's important not to mistake general truth for universal truth.