The Cries Against Racial Injustice
Essay title: The Cries Against Racial Injustice
THE CRIES AGAINST RACIAL INJUSTICE
“Racism is a bad thing, you find it everywhere in the schools, the clubs and also in the streets.”
– Rasmus & Casper
The belief that one race by nature stands superior to another defines racism. Racism can be traced back to the beginning of civilization and has always existed as a horrible issue in our society. Many attempts and reforms have occurred in hopes of eliminating racism and much progress has been achieved. Yet, even after the emancipation proclamation, equality laws placed within the constitution, small revolutions and acts taken by people such as Rosa Parks -who refuse to sit in the back of the bus during an era of segregation- racism remains an ominous, undefeatable problem in our society. In fact, the justice system, thought to unit and promote equality in “the land of the free,” actually contributes to the destruction of our national idea of racial harmony. This paper will focus on how the criminal justice system works and how racism plays a major role within the justice
system. Incorporated throughout the paper lie excerpts from poets and individuals who have spoken out against this bias justice system and racism they many have experienced in their era.
African Americans have especially experienced and suffered from racism, beginning from the days of slavery and the need for cheap labor during the Industrial Revolution. In an essay entitled Black Americans: Prisoners of Socio-economic Cycles, the author states that “Those first Africans were prisoners of a socio-economic system which by design was purposely incapable of rendering justice and therefore, equal opportunity to Africans as well as other minorities (Ansar 2).” During the years of oppression, in which blacks still experienced limited freedom within the law, many artists spoke against this discrimination through their literature. One such artist, Langston Hughes, who lived from 1902-1922, expressed his frustration through poetry and other works. In his poem “As I Grew Older” Langston, describes the discrimination he experienced: “And then the wall rose, rose slowly, between me and my dream…The wall- Shadow. I am black My hands!
My dark hands! Break through the wall! Find my dream! (qtd. In W.T.L. 239).”
According to Jean Wagner in Black Poets of the United States, the dream that Hughes writes of represents the democratic ideal of liberty and equality; the history of the dream is actually the history of the founding and building of America. The dream of black people has always been closely blended with the American dream, which is not yet a reality for all (Anstendig & Hicks 239).
Years later, Martin Luther King Jr.s delivered his speech, “I have A Dream” in 1963. His motive lied in hopes of persuading his community to unit and protest against discrimination. Martin Luther King spoke out:
The life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination… the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land (qtd. in W.T.L. 235).
Much progress developed years after his death, but many others continued to speak against the issue that persists.
In Higginbothams book In The Matter of Color, he questions the American justice system and its inequality that persist: “Is it a so-called democratic process based upon representation? In 1980, there were only 17 Congressmen and no opted Negroes(49).” Today, when it comes to race and the criminal justice system unfair treatment against minorities and African Americans lives. This country and its system stands on the verge of social catastrophe because of the sheer number of African Americans behind bars. Statistics reveal that nearly one out of three black males are in prison, on parole, or on probation. They make up nearly half of those incarcerated in prisons.
Statistics of arrest rates of African Americans indicate that they commit more crimes than whites relative to the population. While it appears that our crime rates for African-Americans are somewhat higher, than those for whites relative to the population. Crimes by African Americans do not seem to get any worse. Since the 1970s, African Americans have been accounted for about 45 percent of arrested for murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. These numbers signify that the proportion of