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Glory, the Movie

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Dominique Travis

Professor Clarence Nero

English 102

27 April 2017

Enough is Enough

Over the summer a friend of mine was living in an apartment with a roommate. Both of these guys were educated black men. The apartment next door always smelled like marijuana. The people who lived at the apartment next to them were two white boys. There was always traffic going in and out of the white boy’s apartment. The police also noticed the traffic, but they did not know what apartment attracted the traffic. What the police did know was that there were two black boys living in one and two white boys living in the other. One day I went by the guy’s house to hang out with him. While I was there, all of a sudden the police started banging on the door. We were all confused about why this was going on. We opened the door and there were two white police officers. They walked right passed my friend and started looking around. The police officers started reading our rights and started yelling at us about drug usage. The officer told us everybody in the house were all about to go to jail. I was so scared. I had no idea what was about to happen to my friends and I. The officers searched the house and did not find any drugs. Eventually the staff of the apartment complex came to the apartment and told them they had to immediately get out of the apartment. The fact that my friends were black assumptions were made and they were treated unfairly. In my opinion, minorities are treated unfairly in the judicial system. We can see this in the makeup of the prison population, differences in sentences in minorities versus the majority, and racial profiling.

        The makeup of the American prison system is quite staggering. When looking at race, people of color only make up about 30% of the U.S population, while they account for 60% of those that are imprisoned. (Kerby1) This means that majority of the population of people of color, are currently “locked up.” How is this fair? According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1 in every 15 black men and 1 in every 36 Hispanic men are incarcerated. While in comparison, 1 in 106 white men incarcerated in the United States. (Kerby1) Often times, the opposition wants to highlight why these statistics are so much higher, saying that people of color are the ones committing these crimes. Yet, that is not true. The likelihood of someone committing a crime actually comes from his or her socioeconomic status. (American Psychological Association) The racial makeup of lower income citizens is majority African American or Hispanic, but that does not mean that every black or Hispanic person you encounter should have such a likelihood of being arrested. Not every black or Hispanic person you see is of lower class, so why is that represented in the prison system?

        We can see more disparities in the judicial system in relation to minorities when we look at the sentences. After being convicted, people of color receive longer sentences than compared to white people. The U.S Sentencing Commission states that in the federal system people of color receive sentences that are 10% longer than white offenders for the same exact crimes. (Kerby1) We can sit here and try to analyze this further, but the proof is in the statistics. Just because your skin is lighter than mine, and we have committed the same crime, does not mean your sentence should be shorter. According to one of the surveys done by the National Center for State Courts, 68% of African Americans felt they were treated worse than white people and 45% of white people actually agreed with this perception. (Dunnaville) If even those that are not being affected by this wrongful treatment of people of color, notice that our system is racially skewed, that is when you know that there is a problem.

        Lastly, we see evidence of the mistreatment of minorities in the judicial system when noticing the prevalence of racial profiling within our law officials. Some examples of this racial profiling can be seen in traffic stops and police brutality. According the to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, police are three times as likely to search the cars of stopped black drivers than stopped white drivers. (Kahn and Kirk) Dunnaville also stated, “Innocent minority citizens are detained by the police on the street and in their cars far more than white.” The opposition will often empathize saying that, law officials are not perfect.  Which is true, no human being is perfect. However, when you are in position of power and security, everyone in all the communities should feel like they can turn to an officer in a time of a crime. If the police were targeting people who looked like you, would you trust them?



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