Friday, March 30, 2012

Sorry but you're black!

What is the definition of rule of law in our society? Rule of law means everyone is treated equally in respect to the laws that govern us. It means everyone must obey the laws that are legislated in our society. The law does not discriminate based on social status, racial background or ethnicity. Moreover, no citizen is superior or above the law and everyone has the same equal right.

Question: Do you think rule of law is fair to all citizens?? Think about it for a second.
In my opinion, I believe rule of law is radicalized because most laws implemented in our society are created to target a certain racial class, particularly black people.

Geezzzzz where do I begin?? One of the most controversial cases in 2012 is the case of 17 year old Trevon Martin, who was gunned down by George Zimmerman in February 2012. If you have been following this case for the past few weeks, you can clearly see that many people are disappointed and fuming at the justice system. There is overwhelming evidence supporting the fact that Zimmerman killed Trevon out of poor judgment because he was a black boy wearing a hoody and looked suspicious. How can a man kill an unarmed adolescent boy, claim self-defense and allow him to walk away freely for so long?

Is this what we call justice?? Once again I am appalled and disappointed in the system.
So do you think the justice system is being fair to Trevon and black people as a whole?? 

OK, let me shift your mind to some laws that are systematically constructed to target the black community that many of us may not be aware of; for example, mandatory minimum -prison sentence.

It has been argued that laws within the criminal justice system such as the mandatory minimum -prison sentence and the plea barging unfairly targets black people. Do you know that black people are more likely to receive a harsher punishment than  white people when the same crime is committed?  As a result, there are disproportionate number of black people that are charged, investigated and also convicted for criminal offenses. This is a product of racism and discrimination against black people in the criminal justice system and also the over-surveillance in the black community.Racism in policing is very evident in black communities through systematic random checks that are hidden in police work .For example, police officers tend to stop and question a black person that is seen driving a nice expensive car.  

In addition, mandatory minimum- prison sentence and the plea bargain  impact the black community because most black people charged of a crime results in having a criminal record and being incarcerated. Mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug offense charges and firearm have been connected to the over-incarceration of black people in United States and in Canada. 

Harsher penalties are associated with crack cocaine because it is seen as the black people’s drug mainly because it's cheaper to afford and is common in the black poor communities in United States. On the other hand, anyone charged with the use of powder cocaine receives a lighter sentence because powder cocaine is considered to be a white peoples’ drug. For example, In United States, five-year mandatory minimum prison term for 28 grams of crack cocaine and 500 grams of powder cocaine triggers five years prison term.

Consequently, more black people are being incarcerated because of this drug law and because of mandatory minimum sentence; many black people are pressured to get a plea bargain in order to get a shorter imprisonment if they are not rich enough to hire a lawyer to defend them. As a result, an innocent person that is pressured into a plea bargain is sentenced and receives a criminal record.

It is a sad reality for black people, but I am certainly not surprised of how Trevon is being portrayed as a dangerous black boy in this case.

Inevitability, if the role was reversed and Zimmerman was a black man, he would not be allowed to walk on the streets of Florida. He would be handcuffed and taken to jail and would face the bitter side of the law. There would be no such thing as “innocent until proven guilty” for him. As a matter of fact, he would be guilty before he is proven guilty. Of course in the state of Florida, he would be facing the death penalty or life in prison without parole. In the end, the justice system would non-verbally express to him; Sorry but you're black!

**Express and Reflect on your World**


 Priscilla  Birago

1 comment:

  1. why didn't i see this piece early? .. this is a nice one .. well done!!!