Race, for the privileged, and one for the

Race, policing and mistreatment in America is
scarcely colorblind. It is not a coincidence that minorities serve longer
sentences, have higher arrest and conviction rates, are given higher bail
amounts, and are more regularly the victims of police brutality as opposed to
white residents. With regards to criminals, many individuals have a previously
established perception of what a criminal is or even looks like. Normally when individuals
think about a criminal they picture a Black or Latino face. Fascinatingly
enough, White individuals as a group are rarely associated with the assumption
of crime, despite the fact that they represent 70% of arrest and 40% of the prison
population every year (Federal Bureau of Prisons). This seems to be
disregarded, however, when individuals think about their stereotypical views. Minorities
have become victims of these stereotypes in the United States courts by judges
and juries and in addition to their neighborhoods by local police.

Police discrimination seems to be
disregarded, however, when individuals consider their stereotypical views. When
requesting for justice, the desire is not for more rights for the criminally
accused, yet for those rights of the accused to be equally executed, before
they are found guilty or innocent. This is caused by the inequality in our
justice system, since it seems to be divided into two systems: one for the
privileged, and one for the less privileged. Cops utilize approaches of
investigation and interrogation against minorities and the less fortunate that
would not be accepted against more privileged individuals. Courts assign public
defenders to the poor in serious criminal trials that a rich individual would
not even hire to defend them in a civic court. Countless minorities walk into a
courtroom with the impression that they are guilty until proven innocent. The appearance
of their skin is often viewed as undesirable, resulting in further
discrimination and struggles they endure. The nightly news frequently begins with
a crime story, many times showing black males being taken away in handcuffs.
Black females are depicted as grieving mothers over the fatality or arrest of
their son or daughter. This is publicized so much that it’s impossible to
ignore. There is no denying that these black individuals who appear on the news
may, in fact, be guilty, however observing it so frequently results in
Americans inadequately believing that majority of black men are criminals. On
top of that, they connect the image of arrested individuals on the news, and start
to stereotype black individuals they may come across personally that may have a
similar appearance. Consequently, the thought of “black crime” comes
to mind, however, we never really hear what is known as “white crime.” This
leads us to what is known as racial profiling amongst the black community.

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Stereotypical views of minorities by police can
prompt terrible stations to occur. Amadou Diallo, was a 22-year-old West African
immigrant who lived in the Southview Bronx, New York. He studied English and
Computer Science in Singapore and Thailand before migrating to the United
States. He was a passionate Muslim who worked twelve hours a day selling videos
to earn adequate money, in order to complete his bachelor’s degree. On February
4, 1999, as he was standing in the entrance of his apartment building, getting
ready to open the door, four undercover police in regular clothing, members of
the “elite” Street Crimes unit, approached him. The four officers claimed
to have “mistakenly” thought he was a rape suspect. The four officers had fired
a total of 41 shots, at an unarmed man who was completely innocent and had no
prior criminal convictions. Somehow, 22 of the 41 shots missed Diallo, although
the officers aimed into a space no larger than a pay phone booth. From the 19
bullets that did hit Diallo, 11 hit him in the legs, five pierced his torso,
one hit the right arm, one went through his chest and one entered through his
back.

The cops defense claimed that Diallo, was
behaving suspiciously, and had not followed their directions to stop. Due to
the idea that Diallo raised his wallet, every last one of them, envisioned that
this black man was raising a firearm. Since this frightened them, they shot at
him 41 times. One year later, on February 25, 2000, the four cops all of whom
were white individuals, were found not guilty of murder. Diallo, fear at the
time he was gun down does not matter or make a difference to the court or jurors.
Who cares that the skinny black immigrant must have been petrified to see four
white guys weighing down on him like thieves or murderers? Not guilty, these
four police officers are permitted now to return to their jobs, lash on their
firearms, and hit the streets equipped with the same prejudice, the same fright
that killed Diallo. Police brutality is known to be exceptionally common in the
Bronx, with situations such as Diallo, as well as the Rodney King, incident in
Los Angeles. Situations of such sort have resulted in black individuals to
become very fearful of police officers as well as our judicial system, due to
how biased they can be. When a police officer approaches them, they cannot decide
whether justice will be served or if the cop’s intentions are to harm or even
kill them. The truthfulness of a police officer is not definite to these civilians. 

The racist character of the “justice” system is
Staggering. The rate of imprisonment for black males is approximately eight
times that for white males; and for females, the ratio is roughly 3 to 1. Black
males are imprisoned at a higher rate in the United States today than they were
under politically-sanctioned racial segregation in South Africa. Sociologist
Loic Wacquant, author of “Class, Race, and Hyper incarceration in
Revanchist America” also reminds us not to forget class. He demonstrates
that the poor/rich proportion within each racial group is even sharper than the
ratios between races. The system manipulates poor and working-class whites by avoiding
what should be outrange against capitalism to different racially coded
incriminates, including welfare recipients, immigrants and those suspected of
street crime.

Wacquant quarrels that hyper
incarceration focuses on a very precise population by race and class, who
happen to be poor black men in the run-down ghetto neighborhoods. A few critics
have suggested that the spike in imprisonment rates can be credited to an
over-all upsurge in criminality and punishment. Utilizing obtainable
statistics, Wacquant determines that we are incarcerating more individuals even
controlling for the crime rate; the quantity of convictions per 10,000 “index
crimes” has quintupled, from 21 in 1975 to 106 in 1999.  Furthermore,
these new convictions are of black males, resulting in the predominant race of
prisoners to be reversed, from 70% white just after World War II to the existing
rate of 70% non-white.

Wacquant, associates these
statistical changes to the downfall of the segregated ghetto.  Wacquant, reports that both the beginning of hyper
incarceration and the collapse of the ghetto began in the mid-1970s.  He traces the crumble of the ghetto to
various social and economic factors, including the modification in the economy
from manufacturing to services and white flight to the suburbs.  At that point he then links, both temporally
and fundamentally, the growth of the prison state to the collapse of the
ghetto.

 

 

 

Wacquant suggests
that the prison is “an instrument of ethno-racial control,” intended to contain
the population impending from the failure of the ghetto. Specifically, Wacquant
claims that the prison has substituted the ghetto as the characteristically
modern machinery of social control.   Wherever the ghetto marked
underprivileged black males simply as deprived and hence, dishonorable to
contribute in social or economic life, the prison now labels them as
threatening and nonstandard, as a way to validate their segregation. Lastly,
Wacquant argues for a move to mutual ground as the suitable political response. In spite of the fact the ghetto was a state
created phenomenon (through Jim Crow and zoning laws), the failure of the
ghetto is not state produced.  In the meantime, Wacquant considers the
state entirely responsible for its reaction to collapse, the formation of a
substitute ghetto to isolate and contain the city’s population of unfortunate
black males.

The criminal justice system unjustifiably
targets individuals of which are non-white and those living in poverty. While
Blacks are only 13% of the aggregate United States population they are 40% of
our jail population. Our justice system discriminates against people of color,
causing these individuals to endure more police brutality and they have less
resources to help them through a trial. According to NAACP reports, “Five times
as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are
sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites” (NAACP). 
This demonstrates the disparity in the treatment of ethnic groups and that
Whites are frequently believed to be innocent until proven guilty, while Blacks
are often seen as guilty until proven innocent. Many individuals have it constructed
in them, an inherent prejudice, which is a psychological condition that makes individuals
believe that those of their own ethnic group are superior or more honorable
than people from other groups.