18 December 2014
Just because racism is outlawed, does not mean it’s absent from our society. We see it every day, in our criminal justice system. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that every man should be treated not “by the color of their skin, but by the continence of their character.” If this is so, why then do African Americans get judged more harshly than whites when it comes to criminal acts? It is critical that law enforcement addresses the problem of racism within their system.
Racism is our legal system is a major problem that needs to be addressed. “Minority citizens are also the prime victims of police brutality and corruption. Such misconduct is unacceptable in any form, but it is doubly offensive when it flows from attitudes about race that are contrary to our commitment to equal justice and the rule of law.” (The Leadership Conference; Chapter One- Race and the Police). Police brutality is more common towards minorities, and more police brutalities that are inflicted towards minorities’, show how racism still exists in law enforcement today. This issue needs to be addressed. The Chokehold Case brought up that, “an autopsy by the city’s medical examiner found that Mr. Garner’s death was a homicide resulting from the ‘chokehold’ — a maneuver banned by the Police Department in 1993 — and the compression of his chest by police officers.” (Goodman) This is an example of how racism is still in law enforcement. While Mr. Garner wasn’t doing anything to harm anyone he was still chocked to death and the police officer, who had done the chock hold on him (which is illegal and has been banned by the Police department since 1993), did not take the fall for this incident.
Studies show throughout time pinpoint how black people are stereotypes in a negative light. Not only is racism a problem with our law enforcement, but the fact is that it starts at younger ages. “Over the past 22 years, my students’ depictions of black men have been overwhelmingly negative — “criminal,” “violent,” “thug” and “drug dealer,” are typical offerings.” (Russell-Brown) The problem with law enforcement is that they put the image of the idea that blacks are criminals, thugs, drug dealers, etc. They imprint in the minds of the younger generation to stereotype blacks and other minorities. “In one study, police and civilians participating in video simulations were more likely to associate blacks with criminality.” (Russell-Brown) This shows how people stereotype blacks, and link them to criminal tasks and preserve them as dangerous. These facts cants go ignored. Many poor and minority citizens subscribe to the "discrimination thesis" that the criminal justice system is racist. A recent Gallup poll showed that nearly two-thirds of the African Americans surveyed believe that the criminal justice system is rigged against them. Many civil rights advocacy groups agree. We live in a diverse yet, still rasist, society. This has a major affect on minorties when it comes to crime. Those everyday citizens with discriminating veiws on African Americans are apart of our police and court systems. Whom, arrest and convict people of color more frequently than whites who commit the same crimes.
Racism is also seen throughout prisons in the United States. Statistics were run on the number of inmates in prisons. Stat’s show that, “1.5% of inmates are Asian, 37.4% of inmates are Blacks, 1.9% are Native Americans and 59.2% are Whites.” (Federal Bureau of Prisons) You must consider, when reading these numbers, the overall estimated percenteges of diversity in America. According to the United States Census Bureau, “whites living in the United States are about 70.7%, 13.2% African American, 5.3% Asian, 1.2%