TWO PAPERS BELOW
Does Justice Prevail in a Multi-Cultural Nation
What is justice, and does it prevail in a multi-cultural nation? I try not to use the word race, as there is no such thing. When I use the term multi-cultural it includes humans of all skin colors. According to some sources such as White Nationalists, justice does not prevail because in their eyes other races commit more crime than White Americans. On the other side of the coin; minorities complain that they are constantly stopped by police, and arrested due to the color of their skin. How many African Americans and other minorities are put on death row without evidence to prove them guilty beyond a doubt? In order to confirm that people of color are in fact guilty of committing more crime than White Americans rather than overrepresented in the system, it is important that the focus of this paper is an examination of statistics and court cases from the United States Justice System.
Hate Crime and Justice?
Crime is a violation of each states law, laws of the federal government or a local jurisdiction for which there is no justification for the misconduct. Hate crime is defined as “a criminal offense in which the motive is ‘hatred , bias, or prejudice, based on the actual or perceived “race”, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation of another individual or group of individuals” (Schmalleger, 2003. p.62). Justice is defined as the very principle of what is fair and the paradigm of moral equity. Based on these principles, if a person is pulled over by a police officer due to the color of his skin, or accused of committing a crime he did not commit, proof that justice has not prevailed is quite evident and apparently unconstitutional.
The U.S. Constitution
The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which was ratified in 1791, is called the Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment protects the deprivation of life, liberty, or Property without due process of law. The sixth Amendment affords the accused a right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district where the crime will be committed, which district has been previously ascertained by law, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of council for his defense. The eighth Amendment protects against excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishment. The following are other individual rights protected by the Constitution:
• A right to be assumed innocent until proven guilty
• A right against arrest without probable cause
• A right against fair questioning by the police
• A right to protection from physical harm throughout the justice process
• A right to speak and present witnesses
• A right to be treated the same as others, regardless of “race”, sex, religious preference, and other personal attributes (Schmalleger, 2003).
To the White Nationalist community, the US Constitution was written by White people for White people and does not extend to minorities (Personal conversation on Stormfront.org, 2004). That statement may or may not be true, however; it is not the focus of this paper. The fact that the statement was made and that a population exists with these opinions negatively impacts their original argument.
When European settlers did a cleansing of the Native Americans in the 15th and 16th centuries, the new world became populated by Europeans and North America quickly became Anglo America whose political system was based on Christianity. Due to the importation of approximately 5 million African slaves to the Americas, race mixing, and other immigration, the nation has become quite diverse, quite multi-racial and multi-ethnic (Walker et al., 2004). Prejudice Anglo-Americans have been and are reacting negatively to immigration and have caused races to suffer, die, have low self esteem, and at times commit crime. Two of the ways these and other crimes are logged is by using the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and the National Crime Victim Survey (NCVS)?
What are the UCR and the NCVS?
The UCR is used by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), is published annually, and contains incidents and rates of reported crimes nationally. The NCVS is conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and is a door-to-door survey conducted with selected American households in order to determine unreported crime and the extent of victims in crime (Schmalleger, 2003). The NCVS survey began in 1973 and asks questions regarding selected crimes of people in households who are twelve and older. According to Walker et al., (2004) each household is interviewed every six months for three years, and they must include their race and ethnicity on the questionnaire as well as the offenders.
The problem with these reports is that they are not always reliable because the data comes from law enforcement agencies using their own perception when including the race of an offender. Another problem is that the reports do not include a separate category for Hispanics; they are categorized with Whites. African Americans report more crime than White Americans, and many crimes go unreported (Walker et al., 2004). Another factor is that many Mulatoes are perceived as African Americans, when many identify with either race or both. One source charges that according to the 1997 NCVS, Americans suffered 1,883,000 cases of aggravated assault. According to the UCR, 1,022,000 were actually reported to the police.
Walker et al., (2004) maintains that the NCVS “indicates that the likelihood of reporting a crime to the police “varies by ‘race’, that African American’s are more likely to report crimes of theft and of violence to the police than White Americans, and that rape and robbery victims are more likely to report the crimes if the offender is African American. This shows that African Americans prove to be more criminal due to the under representation of White crime. With all of these definitions and protected rights afforded by the constitution, the question is not just why does crime continue, but why do the authorities continue to aid in the bias and prejudice along with criminals? What do statistics show?
RECORD MAKING CASES
Regalado et al v. City of Chicago: Largest police misconduct verdict in the Midwest, $28,000,000.00, for police officers abusing a young Hispanic man, causing quadriplegia
Oviedo v. City of Joliet, et al: $100,000.00 jury verdict for Hispanic man who was falsely arrested and criminally prosecuted for felony and misdemeanor crimes (Amnesty International USA [n.d.).
Las Vegas- (11-23-99): While driving around on December 28, 1996, two off duty Las Vegas police officers, Christopher Fisher and Ron Mortensen were harassing Hispanic neighbors and while firing shots, they killed Daniel Mendoza (Cop Crimes-Nevada. [n.d.).
Alongside police brutality, racial profiling has become a national concern.
“The issue is national in scope and reaches people all around this country.
For too many people, especially people in minority communities, the trust
that is so essential to effective policing does not exist because residents
believe that police have used excessive force, that law enforcement is too
aggressive, that law enforcement is biased, disrespectful and unfair.”
Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States, speaking on
Police brutality at a National Press Club luncheon, Washington,
DC, 15 April, 1999 (Amnesty International USA).
Evidence has been found which proves racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately victims of arrest, police misconduct, verbal and physical abuse, and harassment. Several high profile police brutality cases call for national attention as evidenced below:
• Four White police officers searching for a rape suspect fired 41 shots at an unarmed West African immigrant named Amadou Diallo, and 19 of those shots hit Diallo. This took place in New York City in February of 1999.
• The New Jersey Attorney General’s office concluded in a 1999 interim report that New Jersey state troopers had been pulling drivers over based on their race, hoping they would make drug arrests. Several cases were included in the review. One case was a 1998 incident that took place on the N.J. Turnpike involving state troopers who shot and wounded three unarmed black and Latino men. The three men were traveling to basketball trials.
• Kansas City: Timothy L. Wilson, a 13 year old black child was shot dead in November of 1998, after a brief chase, while driving a friend’s pick-up truck.
• California: In August of 1999, a SWAT team of eight from the El Monte police department raided the home of a Mexican immigrant family and shot dead an elderly unarmed man, named Mario Paz. The elderly man was shot in his bedroom, and no drugs were found in the raid.
• Connecticut: An unarmed 14 year old African American named Aquan Salmon was fatally shot in the back during a chase. Salmon was a suspect in an attempted street robbery.
• Chicago: In June of 1999, a passenger named Haggerty was shot dead after a chase because the officers mistook her cell phone for a gun. She was 19 years old. The next day Robert Ross was shot dead after refusing to get out of his car after a pursuit and an officer broke the car window, stuck the gun in and shot Ross dead. Both of these victims were black (Amnesty International USA, n.d.).
• According to Walker et al (2004), victims of rape and robbery were more likely to report these incidents to the police if the offender was black, and
• Whites are most often arrested for categorized crimes and African Americans are arrested for almost all categories at a disproportionately high rate.
Another problem is that not only are many crimes left unreported, but many crimes do not lead to arrest, which is usually the case of bias, when the law enforcer is White as well as the offender. Many times the White offender will be set free with a warning.
Equally important to note is that many minorities on death row are innocent, and many have finally been exonerated due to DNA testing. Another holocaust seems to be around the corner, and all of the minorities are the targets. Not only is this evident with the above information, but there are websites available based on White supremacy and their typical discussions include taking over the United States and sending minorities back to their countries. They mention how they are now dressing in business suits and will continue to run for office, become police officers, and rid this country of all minorities in order to live in a White nation (See hate, white nation, or white supremacy). This coupled with all of the above information proves that major change and protection is needed because minorities are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, and this is just the beginning.
Crime is an unjustified act and justice is treating crime with action. The Constitution affords all people individual rights which include the right to be treated like others no matter your race, religion, and sex, yet people are treated unequally as shown in the cases above. White Americans are threatened by the rate of immigration and racial profiling and police brutality have become a cause for national attention because minorities are evidently shot dead for no apparent reason that can be justified. The reports that are available to enforcement agencies are the UCR and the NCVS, but unfortunately they are not reliable due to unreported crimes, disproportionate arrests in the African American population, and the fact that racial data is entered according to the perception of the person entering the information.
What this all comes down to is the United States must decide if racial intolerance will continue or if new tactics are going to be created to end it. What we are dealing with here is silent genocide and this fact is not hidden from the government. Hitler speaks from his grave, is still admired by certain populations and the intolerance that has resulted in this is leading to the Third World War which may inevitably lead to Armageddon. Change is well needed and effective crime prevention and multicultural courses must come into play.
Amnesty International USA, (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2004 from http://www.amnestyusa.org/john/participate.html
Amnesty International USA, (n.d.). United States of America: Race, rights and Police Brutality. Retrieved July 23, 2004 from http://www.amnestyusa.org/countries/usa/document.do?id=133746465C2D34CA8025690…
Cop Crimes-Nevada. [23, August, 1999]. Retrieved July 23, 2004 from http://www,copcrimes.com
Schmalleger, F. (2003). Criminal Justice Today: An Introductory Text for the 21st
Century. Prentice Hall, Upper saddle River, New Jersey.
Walker, S., Spohn, C., & DeLone, M., (2004). The Color of Justice: Race, Ethnicity, and Crime in America. Thomson Wadsworth, Belmont, Ca.
Arrests and Racial Discrimination
October 14, 2004
Racism and discrimination has been present in America since the Europeans stepped foot on the land in 1492. The early colonial period brought with it slavery, and when slavery was later abolished, negative treatment toward minorities did not change either in the justice system or with the rest of Anglo-America. Racism and discrimination have shown their faces through slavery, negative treatment towards minorities, unequal treatment in the workplace, racial segregation, and racial inequality where arrests and incarceration are concerned. This paper will examine the root cause of racism to prove that racism and discrimination exist in the criminal justice system; more specifically, in the arrest process in the system.
Racism is the cause of racial discrimination, and it comes in many forms. The United States has proven this fact by discriminating against minorities in every possible way. Civil rights advocates have been present through all of this, and have made changes in order to ensure civil rights to all, but, how far have the United states really come? Is it fair to say that because slavery was abolished, and because African Americans may vote, and are allowed to be jurors, that justice has come a long way? What about the African American and other minority disparities in arrest rates? Is it just that, or is race still the deciding factor? It seems that discrimination due to racism is the deciding factor, and in order to prove this premise, this paper will show a racial and discriminative American history.
THE PROBLEM: RACIAL INEQUALITY
African Americans are arrested at a disproportionately higher rate than white and Hispanic Americans. In 2000, the percentage of murders committed between white Americans (48.7%) and African Americans (48.8%) looks balanced, but in fact, is not when population is factored in. White Americans are 80% of the US population, whereas African Americans are only 12% of the population, proving either that black people are more criminal than other people groups, or that discrimination plays a large role in the disproportionately high rates in African American arrests. The latter is a more reasonable assumption.
Before we can decide that racial inequality does indeed exist, racism must first be defined because an understanding of racism is important. Racism is what causes discrimination and discrimination is what causes people to act negatively toward minorities. Evidence must show that (1) American roots are based on racism and discrimination, (2) racism and discrimination existed within the American government and civilians participated (3) racism and discrimination still exists in America between white citizens and minorities, and (4) racism and discrimination still exist in the justice system. Evidence that is not refutable must be shown in order to be able to charge racial inequality.
WHAT IS DISCRIMINATION AND RACISM?
According to Webster’s Dictionary (1997), discriminate defined is to distinguish or differentiate between someone or something on the basis of race, sex, class, or religion; to act prejudicially (p.109). Racism is defined as a thought or belief that one race is better than another race (p.331). According to one source, when someone discriminates against racial minorities, the person “makes invidious distinctions, based on negative judgments about an entire group of people. That is, the person discriminates against all African Americans without reference to a particular person’s qualities” such as experience, education, or ability (Walker et al. 2004). Based on these definitions, is it fair to say that many white Americans are racist and that discrimination against other races does in fact exist? Is there proof of racial inequality in America?
ARE WHITE AMERICANS RACIST?
Based on the above definitions, it is fair to say that the United States criminal justice system, juvenile justice system, and most of Anglo-America is racist, as the white race believes they are superior to other races. This is demonstrated in the way white Americans discriminate against other races by treating them as less than human, and by segregating the races. An example of this is when African Americans were forced to sit at the back of the bus, but where did it all begin?
Racism is deeply rooted and has played a large role in evolution. Meaning, racism, and discrimination is older than dirt, and in fact is probably the reason why different races still exist today. Maybe this behavior can be attributed to survival of the fittest and is actually very natural, which is understandable on countries and continents that are “racially” homogeneous, but America is not “racially” homogeneous, and in fact, has never been. Anthropologists maintain the Americas have been populated for approximately 40,000 years, and when the European Spaniards arrived, there were millions of Native Americans occupying American land. Christopher Columbus imposed Roman Catholicism on them and tore down existing temples to replace them with churches (Whiteford & Whiteford, 1998). This is when racism truly began in the Americas.
The indigenous people of North America were being forced to act white and told not to speak in their native tongue, causing only 361,978 of the two- million people who identify as Native Americans today to speak their native languages (Rafferty et al., 2003. p.7). Many “Indians” were forced into slavery, and the Spanish and Portuguese crowns encouraged slave importation from Africa early in the colonial period. Five million slaves were imported to America, and slavery was a common practice in North and South America as well as “race mixing.”
Africans were treated like animals, savages, sub-human beings, and this treatment did not end with slavery. African Americans were unable to vote, not eligible to serve on juries (Walker et al.), and were forced to sit at the back of the bus. Marriage between “interracial” couples was against the law and “race-mixing” to this day is looked down upon. These facts are the proven history of racism and discrimination in America. An examination of current arrest statistics coupled with public views is necessary in order to charge that racial inequality exists today.
Statistics: There is an unexplainable overrepresentation of blacks being arrested and the cause is either the result of police disparity or police discrimination. Minorities are arrested more often than whites and in 2000, although blacks constituted only 12% of the US population, they represented 27.9% of all arrests. According to Black, “blacks” were arrested more than “whites” mainly because they were disrespectful to the police. According to the NCVS reports, crime victims perceive single-offender robberies to be committed by an African American 46.5 % of the time. After analyzing 5,688 police-citizen encounters in 24 police departments, Smith, Visher, and Davidson found that the police were more likely to proceed with arrest if the suspect was black and the victim was white (Walker et al.)
According to Cureton (2000), the difference in the unfavorable socioeconomic status of blacks did not affect arrest differentials for all offense categories, however, blacks living in segregated cities governed by white elites (where at least 50% of government employees were white), were more likely to be arrested, regardless of their criminal conduct (Zhang, H., & Zhao, R. 2004). According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the prevalence of imprisonment in 2001 was higher for * black males (16.6%) and Hispanic males (7.7%) than for white males (2.6%) * black females (1.7%) and Hispanic females (0.7%) than white females (0.3%) (BJS, [n.d.). Kendall (2004) maintains that Latino Americans represent approximately twelve percent of the U.S. population and they account for nearly thirteen percent of all arrests (Gutstein, J., 2004).
The following are statistics from Cannibis news: Nationally, one-third of black men aged 20 and 29 are locked up, on probation or on parole, up from one in four in 1990. Black women have become the fastest-growing population in the criminal justice system, increasing by 78 percent from 1989-1994. Over 80 percent of the 1.2 million annual drug arrests are black males. Crack users, (usually black); face sentences five times harsher than powder cocaine users, (usually white). In California, although black males constitute only 3.7 percent of the overall population, they account for one-third of the prison population. In Sacramento County, blacks constitute 9 percent of the population but account for 50 percent of those arrested due to resisting arrest (Cannibis News).
Other Views: According to Finkelman;
By the time of the revolution, slavery and race were tied together. The revolution tied a new wrinkle in the ideology of race and slavery. By asserting that “all men were created equal,” The Declaration of Independence might have undermined slavery, but the primary author of that document-who owned more than 150 slaves at the time-also found a way out of the implications of his own words. In “Notes on the State of Virginia” Thomas Jefferson began to lay out the argument for scientific racism. He asserted that blacks were not as intelligent as whites, that they did not love like whites, that black men lusted after white women, and that they lacked foresight and were unable to write poetry and music. Most importantly of all, Jefferson gave his blessings to what would become the scientific racism of the 19th century while consistently opposing any rights for free blacks and refusing to support any measures to bring an end to slavery (Finkelman, P. ABA Network).
Horne maintains that “Because of racism in the criminal justice system, blacks are more likely to be arrested, convicted, and given stricter sentences.” (Race Relations, 1996. p, 135). Horne also states that more blacks than other races are in prison because of a legacy of slavery due to racism. “The newly independent government saw no other use for non-slave blacks except imprisonment, and, to an extent, the animus that motivated that policy continues to persist to this very day” (Horne, G. p.136).
African Americans are over-represented in terms of their overall population and their arrest statistics. The main reason that has been ascribed to this phenomenon deals with the practice of certain police tactics that ultimately result in the arrest of a member of a minority group. For example, the lack of parity with regard to prison sentences greatly affects the number of minority group members who are sentenced to prison sentences. Furthermore, police generally concentrate the majority of their patrols in areas where minorities are the most dominant (Kendall, 2004). Even this practice seems somewhat paradoxical because numerous studies have shown that there are disproportionate arrest statistics even in areas where whites are the dominant group (Cannibis News).
Many opposing views exist but are neither true nor helpful to this essay, The fact is that this country has a historical reputation of racism and discrimination, and based on that alone gives us enough evidence to believe that the African American population is disproportionately discriminated, profiled racially, arrested, incarcerated, and mandated to harsher sentences. Whether many of the crimes have been committed depends on another study, but if African Americans are more criminal than other races, which I believe for only these reasons to be true; the reason lies in 1. poverty, 2. unfair treatment, and learned criminal behavior due to living in sub-standard communities, which call all be attributed to racism.
Racism and racial discrimination are historically rooted in America leading back to European take-over in 1492. The Spanish imposed Roman Catholicism on Native Americans, and then imported 5 million African slaves to America. When slavery was abolished racism continued to exist in America by not affording equal opportunities to racial minorities. This included no voting or jury rights to blacks, and forbidden interracial marriages. Today, the criminal justice system and much of Anglo-America continue to discriminate against minorities as shown in the disproportionate arrest rates in African Americans.
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