Racism In The Criminal Justice System

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When one thinks of racism, images of slavery or 1960s Jim Crow South may come to mind. On the contrary, racism is still present today and possibly more rampant than most may realize. Racism is defined as "the generalized and final assigning of values to real or imaginary differences, to the accuser 's benefit and at his victim 's expense, in order to justify the former 's own privileges or aggression" (Memmi 173). Over the course of history, there has been major progress in terms racial equality. Unlike the previous century, non-white American citizens have access to the same rights and opportunities to vote, get an education, and pursue a career, as their white counterparts in accordance to today 's laws and Constitution. However, the issue…show more content…
Stereotypes also play a huge role in the law enforcement. Due to stereotypes that black or latino people are more prone to commit crimes, racial profiling is common among police officers. Numerous cases of police brutality and statistics revealing a biased justice system raises concerns about the reliability of the nation 's authorities. Zillah Eisenstein connects racism to physical bodies in Beyond Borders by explaining that "racism uses the physicality of bodies to punish, to expunge, and isolate certain bodies and construct them as outsiders" (Eisenstein). Many officers tend to convict minorities more often than whites according to this same logic. They construct "black" appearing individuals as more likely to commit crime and as a result, it has been found in reports that "police shoot and kill blacks almost twice as frequently as any other racial group" (Rosenfeld). Less than two years ago, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot unarmed black teen Michael Brown, who many claimed did not pose immediate threat. Darren Wilson was able to evade conviction of second-degree murder because "grand jury instructions in Missouri, which are read to the panel before it decides whether to press charges, allow police to use deadly force if the officer believes it is 'immediately necessary '" (Rosenfeld). Those that look like Michael Brown are at a disadvantage because the law tends to side with police officers regardless of who was truly at fault. Situations like this…show more content…
Politicians are arguably among the most influential figures of the nation. This year 's election unknowingly precipitated an ongoing discussion on race. GOP front-runner Donald Trump sparks controversy for his anti-Islam and anti-illegal immigration sentiments. These rally speeches with stereotypical undertones tend to promote violence in his rallies. An article by Lucia Graves recalls numerous accounts of violence in which black protestors or immigration activists were punched, kicked, or attacked by other Trump supporters. In addition, Trump openly justified these aggressive acts against protesters as somewhat necessary by stating, "We 've had some violent people as protesters" (Graves). Trump has elicited a strong response from his supporters, propagating negative sentiments towards the created out-group of Muslims and Latinos. By dismissing or remaining in denial on the issue, he is unknowingly condoning the continuation of aggression and polarization among voters. Heedlessly promoting the overgeneralization of groups like Muslims and Mexicans serves as yet another obstacle in the way of a post-racial society. Opponents may argue that today 's millennials are bringing promise of a post-racial society. When asked which political figure they respected the most, "Thirty-one percent Americans aged 18 to 26 rate Sanders the highest" compared to Donald Trump at nine percent (Walsh). Sanders, a Democratic Socialist, is claimed to represent more tolerant and
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