What’s the Problem?: Current Trends First

This article was originally published on May 26, 2017 with Exposure Magazine,  where Devika L. Carr is a contributing writer.

People are quick to choose a side. When disparity exists in the systematic incarceration of a particular ethnicity or race, social injustice pioneers are quick to raise historical racism as the underlying cause.

When disparity exists in the portrayal of innocent civilians being murdered by individual law enforcement officers, the number of those killed again has an affinity to a particular ethnicity or race, and social injustice pioneers are quick to raise historical racism as the underlying cause.

So what makes these issues of social injustice so similar?

We want the justice system to work for us. Even if we’ve never been arrested or known anyone who has, there is security in knowing if we are ever innocently arrested or charged with a crime, we would be exonerated without delay.

I’m biracial but I know when people look at me they see black. I’m a law-abiding citizen, but when I enter a department store with my double stroller, toddler book bag with snacks for my 4 year old who is highly allergic to common foods, I know I’m being stared at, I know people are wondering if I’m going to steal something, and I know it just takes one ignorant person to accuse me for me to be facing leading questions from a police officer forcing me to defend my honor.

This is a mild form of fear, but imagine what my boys may encounter when they get old enough to ride together in the car alone.

Let’s just agree how quickly the legal system can swoop some of us up, even when we are innocently living.

Hone in on current trends in justice media and see this:

Black civilians mad about white officers committing crimes against black civilians and getting away with it.

Black civilians mad about black civilians accused of committing crimes against black and white civilians and not getting away with it.

When justice works for us, we are happy with it.

When we don’t get the results we want, we are completely appalled by it.

So what are we really mad about? That it works? Because a reasonable doubt standard is supposed to be so hard to prove beyond. It’s supposed to be difficult to convict because taking away someone’s freedom is a legendary injustice if it happens wrongfully. Or are we mad that it doesn’t work for us?

Do you really understand the decision making process in criminal justice? Do you hold your views consistently or are you a hypocrite? Would understanding how the decision making process actually works help you decide what you’re really mad about? And what would you do about it, even in the wake of understanding?

Leave a Reply