The Treatment ofBlacks in the CJ SystemMuch of what is seen in the United States today,advertised in the media is the issue of race, or more particularly racism.Before diving into everything it is important to fully understand what race andracism mean. Race is a group of individuals that share a series of traits andare thought to share a mutual bloodline (Conley 2017: 326).
So, it’s peoplethat share a common ancestry and not just the color of one’s skin. Racism isthe notion that individuals of different races contain diverse and inadequatecharacteristics (Conley 2017: 327). Racism is what we see when people dislikesomeone who is from a different race, without any other reason aside from thefact that they are not a part of the same race. It goes hand and hand withethnocentrism which is a conviction that one’s individual ethnicity or group ismore advanced that others. After everything from the Civil Rights Movement toJim Crow laws being abolished along with segregation being abolished, one wouldassume that racism would disappear, and everybody would start being treated thesame. It asks the question of is there a difference in treatment of blackscompared to whites in the criminal justice system in the twenty-first century,and that question is what will be guiding this paper. Although blacks make up for thirteen percent of theAmerican population, in 1996 they made up forty-six percent of all felonysentences and forty-eight percent of the prison population, and forty-onepercent of those that were condemned to death (Hurwitz and Peffley 2005).Discrepancies such as those revealed proof to many blacks that racial prejudiceoccurs in practically all aspects of the criminal justice system.
It conveys tothem that they are lesser than their white counterpart and breeds distrust inall of law enforcement. An example of prejudice that penetrated the law wouldbe the 100:1 stipulation of the Federal Crack Cocaine Law of 1986, which haddictated the identical five-year prison verdict for one hundred grams of powdercocaine as for one gram of crack cocaine, in spite of the pharmacologicalsimilarity (Hurwitz and Peffley 2005). They recently changed it disparity from100:1 to 18:1 which is slightly better but still a gap of inequality,especially since more minorities use crack and more whites use cocaine. When people assess the justice system, their opinionsof the procedure, instead of the result, is important. Researchers discoveredthat when residents are stopped for traffic infringements, their assessment ofthe contact with the officer were affected more by the presumed fairness withwhich they were dealt instead of by the result of the interaction (Hurwitz andPeffley 2005). That basically means that as long as individuals are beingtreated fairly and with respect it doesn’t matter whether or not they get aticket or whatnot, they still believe the process was fair. When cops respondto calls for help from the public there has been studies that crimes withvictims that are white, produce considerably quicker police reaction times,there is a superior likelihood of arrest along with prosecution. Officers aremore prone to utilize additional force, seizure, and traffic profiling withblack than white suspects (Hurwitz and Peffley 2005).
Black and whites maintain separate opinions of thepolice, and present problems that influence these opinions include policebrutality, racial profiling, and additional hostile policing of blacks andtheir neighborhoods (Howell, Perry, and Vile 2003). Minorities are more proneto deal with a threat of violence or the actual usage of force by the police,and black drivers that were pulled over by the cops are more prone than whitedrivers to be given tickets, detained, and get their cars searched (Howard etal. 2003). Blacks are more prone than whites to recount about enduringobligatory, bad-mannered, or confrontational interactions with the policewhether that entails getting stopped and interrogated without a reason from thepolice as to why they are doing it, and they are most probably to suffer oralor physical mistreatment directly. There’s a lot of incidents where adult blackindividuals had run-ins with the police because of how they looked—or thepolice deemed them to look—and the location of where they resided.
It’simportant to know that the negative attitudes directed at the police andjustice system doesn’t just occur when the minorities become adults, many ofthese viewpoints were passed down from their families and from their ownexperiences as juveniles. Girls are most probably than boys to encounter juvenilejustice interferences for moderately minor crimes, and black women and girlsobtain more disciplinary actions than their white equivalents. Research hasshown that victims of crime that are black are unlikely than white women toobtain police help (Brunson and Miller 2006). Not only do they already doubtthe effectiveness of the police responsibilities, when they do need help theyoften don’t achieve it and are left to deal with it on their own. Research othe arbitration of delinquent girls suggests that blacks are unreasonably andexcessively entered into detention facilities while their white counterpartsare most likely to be entered into treatment focused programs. Another issue is the matter that some police officersalready have a disposition of bias when interacting or responding to calls.Underpolicing is a supplementary matter that involves the inadequacy to reactquickly to requests for service, investigate offenses, and be approachable tocrime victims.
Some researchers contend that the police are not approachable inpoor urban neighborhoods because they deem particular offenses as standard inthese neighborhoods and they regard victims in such settings as deserving(Brunson and Miller 2006). An example of that is that domestic violence occurrenceswith black victims were unlikely to end in an arrest than occurrences withwhite victims. With everything that is going on in the world today,it makes sense why there would be a difference in trust in others. For example,fifty-one percent of whites convey that the majority of individuals areunreliable while eighty-one percent of blacks find that the majority ofindividuals are unreliable.
They are also more prone than whites to testifythat individuals are biased a sixty-one percentage as opposed to a thirty-two,and uncooperative sixty-three percent as opposed to a forty-one (Smith 2010).Being white has it’s advantaged. White people don’t have to deal with a kind ofdouble consciousness where one has two different scripts, one for going throughlife and the other assimilating the external attitudes of discriminatorybystanders. Nor do whites have to code switch which is where one alternatesamid two or more languages and cultural norms in order to belong in diversecultural contexts. Whiteness can be seen as an “obscured bag of opportunities”that places white individuals at an upper hand, just as racism positionsnonwhites at a drawback. Whiteness is in relation to not experiencing thecredence of embodying an entire population with one’s achievements ordisappointments, it’s in relation not needing to reflect about race whatsoever.(Conley 2017:349).The conflict theory probably is the best theoreticaltheories that can be used to explain this topic.
There is conflict between thewhites and the nonwhites—the minorities—that causes struggle andmarginalization of the minorities. An example of this would be in thenineteenth century, the increasing influence of black Americans after the CivilWar ensued in great severity Jim Crow laws that harshly restricted blackconstitutional and social influence. Nowadays there’s conflict by suppressingvoting abilities of those that have been to prison, since there was a cleardisproportionate percentage of blacks in prison compared to the population asmentioned earlier.The symbolic interactionism theory can be used toexplain the differences in treatment of blacks in the criminal justice systembecause according to this theory racial bias is established via contact amongstindividuals of the dominant party. It can also be used to explain this becauseof individual’s viewpoints about a specific race founded on media images, so ifthe media is or has portrayed blacks as criminals those that watch the news, orany media site—Facebook for example—can develop negative beliefs. The last theoretical perspective that can be relatedback to racism and discrimination is the functionalist theory. It can becontended that racism and bias can impact constructively but merely to thedominant party—whites.
It benefits those who aspire to refuse rights andfreedoms to individuals they perceive as lesser to them. Consequences ofrace-based marginalization such as poverty levels, crime ratios, andinconsistencies in employment and education prospects demonstrate the lasting andnegative consequences of racism.