Black Americans have made up approximately half of the United States’s homicide victims every year since 2010, according to U.S. News, and the US population is only thirteen percent black, suggesting that people of color are disportionately involved in fatal encounters. This trend is actualized in the fictional murder of Tod Clifton in Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and the real-life murder of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida in 2012. Both Martin and Clifton are young black men who are killed by a white man in a position of authority. Neither of the perpetrators face serious legal consequences for their actions, but the community response of both cases demonstrates the incredible influence that can be generated through a tragic event.
In his essay “Arrested Development: The Conservative Case Against Racial Profiling” published in the New Republic on September 10, 2001, professor James Forman Jr. illustrates his disagreement with racial profiling. Forman Jr. is a professor at Yale Law School. He teaches Constitutional Law and seminars on race and the criminal justice system. In his piece, Forman primary goal is to create understanding about the effectiveness of racial profiling and how this affects the black community especially youths. Forman achieves this by appealing to a liberal audience. Moreover, Forman’s essay was published in a newspaper which targeted audience are individuals open to new ideas and opinions, and individuals advocating for social reform. Also, another important aspect is that during his essay, Forman attacks the conservative party which also gives a clear idea of his intended audience. By establishing his credibility
Law enforcement and correctional officers daily cope with delicate situations. When faced with an unique, possible deadly situation requires an immediate and appropriate response. We have learned thus far that law enforcement and correctional officers employ a great amount of discretion on a daily basis when performing their duties. Misuse of discretion can lead to society questioning police tactics and policies. Racial profiling is an illustration of misuse of discretion. It is known as the inclusion of racial or ethnic characteristics in determining whether an individual is considered likely to commit a particular type of crime or illegal act. This paper "Racial Profiling Not an Effective Tool", examines the case of Robert Tolan v. Jeffrey Cotton and the City of Bellaire Administration. It also comments on the
In the essay “Just Walk on By” written by Brent Staples, the author uses a mixture of exaggeration, quoting, and word choice to grasp the attention of his readers and further his point that racial profiling is an unfortunate circumstance that impacts African American men in negative ways.
He asserts that “Something happens to people in law enforcement...after years of police work, officers often can’t help but be influenced by the cynicism they feel.” He rationalizes but does not deny, the law enforcement’s aggressive actions that the people of color may have seen or experienced. This method of pathos not only diversifies but also fortifies his thesis that there is evidence of racial profiling; however, he once again give reason for their skepticism to execute his primary purpose. Overall, dedicating three of his four “hard truths” to justify the actions of the law enforcement is crucial to his argument as a whole because his audience may have portrayed them differently
Author Walter Mosley argues that in order to seek justice in cases such as Trayvon Martin's, one has to separate the racial identity of those involved from the actual crime. Mosley says that people identify the race of the accused criminal and focus a majority of their anger on that instead of the crime itself. He discusses that when people focus more on the race it becomes more of a race problem that is perpetrated by the media, which takes the focus off of the actual crime itself (Mosley). While, Walter Mosley addresses a valid point about the legal case of Trayvon Martin, he does not give enough reasoning in his article to effectively argue his
“Racial profiling punishes innocent individuals for the past actions of those who look and sound like them…” Civil Rights activist, Benjamin Jealous’ words are very relevant to the case of Trayvon Martin. Trayvon Martin was murdered at age seventeen by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch patrol in his neighborhood, where Martin also lived. Zimmerman called 911 to report Martin as a “real suspicious guy” “a black male” walking around the neighborhood. Martin wore a hoodie on his way home from 7-Eleven with intentions of going home, but Zimmerman continued to follow Martin. The two men got into an altercation and Zimmerman fired one shot into Martin’s chest and he died. Trayvon Martin’s killing was certainly unjust. Martin was racially profiled, he was unarmed, and Zimmerman was not a figure of authority. However Zimmerman and others plead self-defense as his reasoning for shooting Martin.
Crime, Citizenship, and the Court’s analyzation of Incarceration, Inequality, and Imagining Alternatives have revealed the prevalent racial profiling that exists in the African American community. Bruce Western emphasizes the prominent levels of incarceration in minority neighborhoods elaborating on the negative effects that these rates have on families, communities, and lifestyles. He reiterates that “incarceration deepens inequality because its negative social and economic effects are concentrated in the poorest communities” (Western, 297). When we analyze Fox News media portrayals of Martin, we could begin to understand why African Americans change their methods of transportation, clothing, and routines. These men adapt to the reality of racial profiling in fear that one day, they may contribute to the high incarceration rates within their communities. A good example of this fear is Peter’s story. Peter is an African American male who decides “to get from place to place by mass transit and walking” because he is in fear that “riding a car with friends might get him arrested” (Western, 299). Hence, the constant fear of racial profiling based on clothing or the paranoia of getting stopped for walking or riding in a car with friends serves as an overarching theme of the social
This article written by Christine William for the Gatestone Institute was an eye opener, on the way we look at race crimes and the way the government deals with such events. She begins by talking about the George Zimmerman case. The case that dealt with a man (not of color) killing a young African American teenager. She stated that people have, “intrinsically portrayed the tragedy of Trayvon Martin's death as the fight for black equality”. She than went on to say that although Trayvon had been suspended a month before and had text messages that showed his affiliation with fire arms and drugs, he was even compared to Jesus Christ being crucified. She says that his death was indeed a tragedy, but the way it was portrayed and used by the government
Race relations has influenced the slaying of many blacks in modern America. George Zimmerman’s slaying of Trayvon Martin, a black teen, he approaches as he walked home in the rain with a bag of Skittles. Black communities in the United States spent much of late March of 2012 expressing outrage about Zimmerman’s actions and the Sanford, Florida, police department’s
On February 26th, 2012 Trayvon Martin, a black teen was shot and killed by a white patrolmen while on his way home from a convenience store where he had bought a bag of Skittles and Iced Tea. Controversial cases, including the following, on whether or not the shooter was prejudice or racist are very common. Prejudice and racism are still relevant issues that can lead to violence and even death. In Kekla Magoon’s novel, How It Went Down, Tariq Johnson a black teen is shot dead while coming home from a convenience store. Although, he was an innocent young teen his killer, Jack Franklin thought otherwise.The theme, don’t make assumptions based on race and appearance because it can lead to unnecessary violence is present in the novel How It Went
Rankine’s lyric “In Memory of Travon Martin,” addresses how racial profiling is not just done by the police, but by neighbors, which suggests that racism exists even among equals. Seventeen year old, Travon Martin was shot and killed in Florida in 2012 by George Zimmerman. Travon Martin had no criminal record and his wrongful murder infuriated the country as a whole, sparking nationwide protests. One year later, Zimmerman was convicted of second-degree murder. The author uses Travon’s case to show that murders targeted towards black men keep
One in particular that represents racial profiling is the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. He was your typical high school student who lived in Miami Gardens, Florida with his mother. While on a ten-day suspension for a discovery of drug residue in Martin’s backpack he was spending time with his father in Stanford, Florida. In response to an increase of robberies and burglaries, the residents of the community established a Neighborhood Watch in September 2011 (What Happened the Night Trayvon Martin Died). George Zimmerman, one of the residents, was selected as the programs coordinator and specifically was in charge of making sure the neighborhood was safe. Zimmerman normally patrolled the streets and was licensed to carry a firearm. From August 2011 to February 2012, Zimmerman had called police several times to state he had seen individuals whom he had accused as being suspicious. All of the reported figures were black males. On the evening of February 26th, Zimmerman called police in report of a “suspicious person” in the neighborhood (What Happened the Night Trayvon Martin Died). He was instructed by law enforcement not to get out of his car or approach the person. Moments later, neighbors report hearing gunfire and screaming. Zimmerman acknowledges that he shot Martin, claiming it was in self-defense. In a police report, officers conclude that Zimmerman was
The “Black Lives Matter” the movement has repetitively made headlines throughout United States’ media outlets ever since the fatal shooting of African-American teen, Trayvon Martin. Since then, an abundance of police brutality cases has been brought to the attention of the public, such as the deaths of Michael Brown, Philando Castile, and Sandra Bland, which have all sparked outrage and protests across the country. Racism has been a matter high tension remained hidden beneath the surface among American citizens since colonial times. Today, discrimination against African-Americans in many aspects of life, such as the criminal justice system, the work force, and in social settings sprouts itself as one of the leading social issues of the United
Race relations are other factors that make it hard for the courts to sentence cops for on-duty homicides in the United States. In spite of the United States claiming to be a postracial nation, racial prejudice and division pervade the country. Racial discrimination is primarily prevalent in the American judicial system. Jury bias frustrates the attempt to prosecute police officers, particularly in cases that involve a white officer and a black victim (White 302). The study shows that the blacks have a negative attitude towards the police compared to the whites. Unfortunately, the white judges are likely to favor the police without considering the race of the victim or the officer. Such a situation was witnessed in Rodney King judgments in California. A panel comprising mostly of white judges declined to condemn four police officers from the Los Angeles Police Department for brutally beating King (White 312). The judges exonerated three officers. Further, there was a standoff in determining if the fourth officer used excessive force. Later, a panel comprising of different federal judges convicted two of the law enforcement officers for contravening King 's civil