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24May

Racial and Ethnic Minorities Essay

Posted by admin as Free papers

History of racial and ethnic minorities in policing
Introduction
Racial and ethnic discrimination are actions that are morally wrong because they result to violation of peoples rights. Humanity is guided by the principle of equality that calls for equal treatment of all individuals, claiming that racial differences should not hinder equal treatment of one particular group. Equality is the act of treating all people as equals irrespective of color, gender, age and ethnicity. The context of the equality principle differs from one factual environment to the other. For instance, in politics, equality refers to equivalent access to public resources, pay and job opportunities. Conversely, in criminal justice, the equality principle means the application of the rule of law to all individuals. Equality in criminal justice therefore, discourages instances of discrimination by the police towards any particular group of individuals. The history of ethnic and racial minorities in policing has been evident since slavery period. Various reforms and amendments have been developed in the United States criminal justice system to ensure fair treatment of all individuals by the police in policing.

The world race is used to refer to a particular group of people who share a common biological inheritance that makes them distinct from those in their neighborhood. Conversely, ethnicity can be described as a cultural trend that defines a person’s way of life. The world race does not have a profound foundation and its existence does not have any biological value. Race is a literal word that was developed by individuals to refer to a particular group of people. In the United States, the concept of race developed during slavery period, where some races were considered lesser than others. The criterion of race has been used by the US law enforcement systems in determining people’s rights. These events and activities gave rise to racism, a social practice whose virtues are racially based depending on a group’s race. Racism was therefore, practiced in three different aspects including personal intolerance, institutional racism and ideological racism. Ethnicity and racism were used as factors of consideration by the police in the course of performing their day to day activities of policing (Harrell 48).

Ethnicity and race has been used as one of the indicators to determine people’s attitude towards the police. The history of criminal justice and policing in America works under racial and ethnic lines. Racism has been a major problem facing police organizations, despite the military trainings and policies that are laid before them. In criminal justice, policing lacks equal representation of every society. This has caused the minority groups to suffer discrimination from the whites because they associate their race with violence behavior and crimes. The methods of social control used by the police to the American communities differ according to ones race and ethnicity. Most of the crime blames are placed on minority groups than the whites.

Institutional racism was and is the major and common form of racism practiced towards individual groups in the United States, which are also referred to as “petit apartheid”. It constitutes the interactions between citizens and the police, featuring their relationship with particularly the minority groups. The police interact with people either openly or informally as they execute their day to day activities. The concept of petit apartheid was used by policing in the past, which determined most of their actions and decisions made within the criminal justice system. The apartheid concept promoted racism in policing, with the ethnic minorities facing biased treatments from the police like rough treatment and insults (Weitzer and Steven 34).

The historical context of racism and ethnicity in policing
The history of racial and ethic minority discrimination is as old as creation. The United States of America is a multi-racial state, with members from different societies including African Americans, Asians, and Mexicans that form the minority community. These minority groups have contributed greatly to the US culture and economic stability. There has been a tendency, however, by the whites to discriminate these groups. Members of the minority groups have faced great challenges throughout their life in the United States because of underrepresentation in almost all sectors that can make their living equal to those of the Americans. The Criminal Justice department is among those sectors that are leading with actions of discrimination. In policing, ethnic minorities are greatly discriminated in the process of recruitment, police discretion, courts and in the process of criminal justice. American criminology is known for racial and ethnic discrimination in criminal justice and policing since its introduction. Racial and ethnic minorities’ discrimination in policing dates back to earlier times in the history of America and has been receiving consisted scrutiny to ensure equal representation of all the American societies by the Criminal Justice Department (Sampson and Janet 360).

Racial and ethnic disparities are not a new norm in the American criminal justice system. In the antebellum period, ethnic and racial discrimination in policing was a common practice among the police. African Americans were the major victims of racial discrimination because of their color and origin. Throughout the history of the United States, racial discrimination began with the slavery system, extending through segregation and exclusion, which were practiced both formally and informally through court decisions and policing legislations. Slaves were not considered as human beings, but servants to their masters because their race categorized them as inferior to the whites, since the beginning of slavery and slave trade in the seventeenth century to 1865. Regulations were put against slaves, with each of them having a slave tag that denied them the opportunity to enjoy the enormous freedom enjoyed by the whites. Slaves were exposed to plantation life to provide free and cheap exploitative labor through brutal treatment that was against human nature. They did not have any rights and were expected to remain captives. In the advent of the civil war, slavery was abolished and the Bill of Rights Amendments were revised to bring to an end the practice. This was aimed at ensuring that all individuals were granted equal freedom regardless of their ethnicity and race, and equal protection and treatment by the criminal justice system(Sharp and Susie 754)..

After the Civil War, actions of discrimination continued to persist. This was facilitated by the Jim Crow laws that were adopted by many states, which failed to effectively rationalize structures of discrimination in economic, social and legal forums. For instance, the African Americans could not participate in voting system because they did not have the right to vote. Additionally, they were racially separated from the whites under the established doctrine of “separate but equal.” The courts, however, held on to the Jim Crow laws. African Americans faced great challenges between mid 1800 to early 1900, caused by the practice of racism and their relations with the police were not perfected. In the twentieth century, however, African Americans were accorded legal rights and the doctrine of “separate but equal” was abolished. Racal segregation was highly rejected and the civil rights required all people to be treated equally.

Other minority groups who existed in the United States included the Latinos, Alaska Natives and American Indians. These groups were not an exception and faced the same treatment and forms of segregation as the African Americans. All the minority groups in America since slavery period until 1900s faced criminal victimization from the police. They were considered as violent and criminals. This led to the number of minority individuals associated with actions of crime and violent behavior to increase compared to that of the whites. Ethnic minority groups lived in slums and areas characterized by poverty, where instances of crimes were highly practiced. Conversely, the whites owned mansions and lived in areas that had sufficient security from the police. Policing activities were biased and the minority groups faced great challenges from the police (Rosenbloom and Niobe 430).

Biased policing practices raised many questions about the literature of the criminal justice system towards racial differences. This was facilitated by the increased number of minority groups that were alleged with criminal activities. Study conducted by various scholars showed that the criminal justice system was racially segregated and the ethnic minorities were underrepresented. A large percentage of the minorities remained unemployed because all the jobs available were allocated to the whites. The police departments did not execute fair policing. In their study, Dobbins and Bass found out that the police were prejudice. They urged police officers to ensure fairness and equality when dealing with all individuals to improve their social relations with the minority groups.

Race, crime, justice and criminology
Debates about racial and ethnic disparities were introduced in the criminal justice system by Christiansons, who collected state-by-state lists concerning the number of black individuals imprisoned compared to that of the whites. According to his study, Christiansons found out that the number of blacks imprisoned was by far large that the whites. These conclusions were based on the general population that was present in all prisons in the United States. After this study, Christiansons developed the conclusion that the disproportionate representation of blacks and whites in the criminal justice system was racially based. Is arguments were later contrasted by Klerk who after reviewing several studies came to the conclusion that the criminal justice was not in way based on racial differences. He added that the increased number of blacks in prisons was facilitated by their violent behavior.

Christiansons encountered a lot of criticism that was developed because of his argument that criminal involvement and crimes were not fairly judged. Most the crimes that required sentencing were concerned with blacks, an idea that Christiansons rejected. Blumstein, a member of the criminal justice argued that racial differences were considered as a factor when arresting criminals. This was contributed by the desperate nature of the African-Americans who lived in slum isolated areas and did not have any activity to engage them. Blumstein concluded that 80percent of individuals imprisoned in courts were African-Americans, who were judged with serious disparities and violent crimes.

Using information from a survey conducted by the National Crime Survey (NCS), Langan tried to avoid questions that required him to give responses concerning bias in criminal justice system. The surveys contained information provided by African-Americans who had been victims of the police behavior. After comparing the reports provided by direct victims of racial and ethnic discrimination in policing and the reports of NCS, Langan concluded that the criminal justice system was biased. This information amounted to the increased racial disparities that were experienced in the court system. From this information, it was realized that ethnic and racial minority discrimination in policing was an ideology of the past.

Racial and ethnic minority disparities in policing
Evidence of racial and ethnic minority discrimination in policing has been proved through analysis of arrests, police contacts, intake decisions and referrals. Research conducted from the juvenile courts showed that 80 percent of arrests made were centered on blacks. This is because the police exercised a lot of power on crimes that were not weighty compared to those that required intervention of the juvenile court system. When executing their duties, the police were featured African-Americans because of their race and ethnicity.

According to research there is no great difference between the whites. This is according to Michael Griffith who stated that he had stayed with white children for the better part of his life. In addition, Michael Griffith tried to interpret about his experience from the radicalized political leaders in his country. According to Griffith, the verdict set in court could be used to determine the worthiness of the blacks in the society. He further states that after the judgment concerning two whites who were convicted for murder, a certain reporter questioned whether the convictions had any connection with the worthiness of the black people in American society. As revealed through research the verdict was not based on the value of the life of blacks, the worthiness of all human life in the country.

Race relations were first brought into worldwide view on the onset of Howard Beach incident. This was a four men case with whom their car broke down as the travelled in the section of Howard Beach. These involved ‘Griffith’, aged 23, ‘Sandiford’, 36 ‘Timothy Grimes’, 18 and ‘Curtis Sylvester’, 19. One of them was left on the car as the rest walked in the major part of the beach for help.

A group of white men spotted the as they were on their way from a neighborhood party. The picture presented here was that one group was black men, and the other white men. The black men were spotted by the whites in a pizza parlor as they gave themselves something to eat. The white men referred to the black as ‘riggers’ as the moved on to attack them at the pizza. The whites pounced on the black men as they strolled on the streets. They taunted the blacks after which they begun to beat them. It was a serious assault that left one of the black unconscious. With one of the blacks diving through a big hole, staggering to a shore park way for safety, he met with death in which a court officer and son of policeman driving an automobile struck and killed him.

Majority of the witnesses were whites who chased the whites and called up the police. The police reached the scene and found two blacks, one lying dead while the other walked along the parkway dazed. Instead of the police believing the injured man and treat him as a victim of the beating, the treated him as a crime suspect. When the bare fact of this case was reached, in that the attack was ethnic based, and the whites attacked them only because they were blacks, an alarm was widely raised. This resulted in a widespread immediate attention. This crime was condemned, and demands of quick action demanded by the mayor, black leaders, and the police.

The report given by the researcher as he tried to answer the reporter was against the interpretation of other researchers who had varied arguments concerning the relations of the race between the West Indians and the blacks. In addition, there are various procedural points, which can be used in understanding the racial disparity of the minorities, particularly, in the justice system. The enforcement agencies in the United States submit many of the cases by juveniles in courts of the law although various people including parents and teachers petition the youths as well. Research also indicates that although the responsibility of the police is to ensure that the inequality in the juveniles in limited through the juvenile system, the differences in juveniles based on race is enhanced by the police.

Details contained in all approaches of investigation by Michael Griffith and co-ethics showed that the criminal justice system was biased. The police carried out a lot of attacks on African-Americans, who lived in slum areas because they were poor. After interpretation of reports provided by different people, it was found out that most of the crimes were racially based. Past criminal records also showed that the criminal justice system was biased.

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