Essay On The Impact Of The Criminal Justice System On Someone I Love

1401 Words6 Pages

Personal Narrative:Witnessing the Impact of the Criminal Justice System on Someone I Love Anna Niyosenga University of British Columbia Personality Psychology 200 204 Dr. Alyssa Alexander April 22nd, 2023 Even though I am a young, black woman who grew up in a first-generation family, I still never expected to have to bear witness to the devastating impact of the criminal justice system on someone I loved. However, when my older brother began to experience repeated run-ins with the law, I found myself forced to face the harsh realities of racism, and generational conflict in ways that I never could have imagined. I remember the first time he got arrested at the age of 14 or 15 for petty theft. He got caught stealing a chocolate bar …show more content…

Racial socialization refers to how individuals learn about race and racial identities through their experiences and interactions with others (Miller and Goodnow 1995). This process is influenced by cultural practices and representations of race in popular culture. Like my brother, media portrayal of black bodies heavily influences the racial socialization process for many black kids growing up. As stated by Gillian Creese, African-Canadian youth are strongly influenced by how they are represented in the media and adopt behaviours associated with these representations ( 2020). Based on the racial stereotypes depicted in the media of black males, my brother may have internalized these depictions and adopted them, almost having developed learned helplessness. In other words, “if the world looks at me and tells me repeatedly that I cannot ever amount to anything, why waste my time trying to change their minds”. This phrase or something close to it has echoed in my mind since it first left my brother's mouth. Moreover, these words further reflect how negative racial socialization experiences can have a detrimental effect on one’s mental health, self-esteem, and academic achievement. This, in turn, may have been a reason why he was stuck in this vicious cycle with the criminal justice …show more content…

Witnessing someone I deeply love and care about trapped in this cycle left me feeling powerless. Unfortunately, in many cases, it is not uncommon for family members of someone with a criminal record to end up following a similar path. However, I didn’t want to succumb to that fate. Instead, I used those experiences as a reminder of how I wanted to work towards shaping my own life. This was transformative for me because it made me critically evaluate where I wanted my life to go and drove me to use even the little power I had to ensure it gets there. Finally, simply writing about this also allowed me to approach my brother’s experiences from a different lens and gain a more holistic and empathetic understanding of this aspect of his

Open Document