Representation Of African-Americans In Prisons

1081 Words 5 Pages
George Yacu
Ms. Donohoo
English Per. C
14 December 2015
“Keep Your Eyes On The Prize, Hold On” According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the population of prisoners in the United States has nearly quadrupled in a span of almost forty years. In 1972, the United States incarcerated 300,000 people; however, recent statistics show that about 2.3 million people are in prisons and jails today. There is a sense of despair and hopelessness in poor communities and communities of color that has been shaped by these outcomes. The “politics of fear and anger” have made individuals believe that these problems are not their problems (Stevenson). Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is relevant to society because the criminal
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In the viewpoint of John Perazzo, the author of The Myths That Divide Us: How Lies Have Poisoned American Race Relations, he claims, “Black offenders do not receive stiffer penalties than white offenders for equivalent crimes” (Perazzo). Perazzo asserts, furthermore, that President Barack Obama was wrong to claim that there is racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. However, Perazzo presents an opinion that can be contradicted by the fact of overrepresentation of African-Americans in prisons and jails. The criminal justice system has been shaped by racial inequality. The context for this problem is a long-standing pattern of historical intolerance and cultural depictions of African-Americans as criminals. In particular, “African-Americans have been viewed as suspicious, violent, and dangerous. Such portrayals have contributed to assumptions that they are more likely to be involved in criminal activity; consequently, a belief that leads to increased surveillance and harsher punishments” (Christian and Clear). In To Kill A Mockingbird, Tom Robinson explains that he did some chores for Mayella …show more content…
According to Bryan Stevenson, a talented and tireless defender of the poorest and most vulnerable people in criminal justice system, he states, “In the states of the Old South, [a criminal] is eleven times more likely to get the death penalty if the victim is white than if the victim is black, and twenty-two times more likely to get it if the defendant is black” (Stevenson). For some African-Americans, the racialized criminal justice system is associated with terror. Although the United States promises “equal rights for all and special privileges for none,” there is evidence of racial dominance in the stratified criminal justice system (Lee). When Tom Robinson was accused of rape, Atticus concludes, “‘This case should have never come to trial. This case is as simple as black and white’” (Lee). The jurors witnessed the testimony of two witnesses whose evidence has not only been called into serious question but also has been flatly contradicted by the defendant. “Atticus had used every tool available to save Tom Robinson but in the secret court of men’s hearts, Atticus had no case,” Writes Mr. Underwood in The Montgomery Advertiser. In mainstream society, individuals sometimes decide in favor of a white man over a black man. For instance, the shooting death of Michael Brown resulted in a lack of justice. According to Dr. Michael Baden, who conducted an autopsy on Brown, he discovered, “Officer Wilson fired

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