Does this disparity come from racial discrimination? This survey interviews thousands of victims of crime each year. The percentage of victims who say their perpetrator was black closely matches the percentage of African Americans arrested. African-Americans also have a disproportionately high arrest rate for drug possession and trafficking. Blacks are only 12 percent of the population and 13 percent of drug users, but they constituted almost a third of those arrested in A study in New Jersey documenting traffic stops in—91 found that 72 percent of drivers stopped and arrested were African-American, while only 14 percent of cars had a black driver or occupant.
State data for the same period showed that blacks and whites had the same rate of traffic violations. A study in Maryland a few years later showed similar results: 17 percent of traffic-code violators were black, but 72 percent of those stopped and searched were black. These types of law enforcement policies may result in blacks acquiring a criminal record more rapidly than whites.
In many jurisdictions, more blacks than whites are released after arrest. This is particularly true for less serious offenses such as prostitution, gambling, and public drunkenness. What this means is unclear. Some say it means that police and prosecutors are more likely to treat African Americans leniently.
Others say it means that blacks are more likely to be arrested on insufficient evidence or harassed by police. The release rate also varies according to neighborhood. If blacks are arrested in largely minority neighborhoods, they are more likely to be released than whites. But there is no difference in integrated neighborhoods. More than 90 percent of all criminal cases never go to trial. The defendant pleads guilty, often after the prosecutor and defense attorney negotiate.
A study of about 1, cases by the U. Sentencing Commission found that whites did better in plea bargains. Twenty-five percent of whites, 18 percent of blacks, and 12 percent of Latinos got their sentences reduced through bargaining. The reason for the disparity was not determined. The San Jose Mercury News conducted a massive study of , California legal cases over a year period. The paper reported in December that a third of the white adults who were arrested, but had no prior record, were able to get felony charges against them reduced. Only a quarter of the African-Americans and Latinos with no prior records were as successful in plea bargaining.
The Mercury News study did not blame intentional racism for these inequalities. It did, however, suggest that subtle cultural fears and insensitivity contributed to the problem. The study noted that more than 80 percent of all California prosecutors and judges are white, while more than 60 percent of those arrested are non-white. In , Cornell law professor Sheri Lynn Johnson reviewed a dozen mock-jury studies. Professor Johnson discovered that white jurors were more likely to find a black defendant guilty than a white defendant, even though the mock trials were based on the same crime and the same evidence.
Professor Johnson also found that black jurors behaved with the reverse bias. They found white defendants guilty more often than black defendants. Furthermore, the race of the victim in the case affected both groups. If the victim was black, white jurors tended to find a white defendant less blameworthy. In the same way, if the victim was white, black jurors found black defendants less blameworthy. According to these mock-jury experiments, both white and black jurors seem to discriminate.
Professor Johnson did not, however, think the juror bias was intentional.
The mock trials did have one encouraging result. When white and black mock jurors met together, as many real juries do, the effect of race tended to disappear. This result seems to indicate that the best way to eliminate racial bias in verdicts is to select racially mixed juries.
It examined data from felony jury trials in Florida from to The researchers found that. The U. Supreme Court has moved to promote racially mixed juries by prohibiting prosecutors and defense lawyers from using peremptory challenges to remove potential jurors based on race. See Batson v. Kentucky , , and Georgia v. McCollum , Justice Thurgood Marshall went even further and called for ending the use of peremptory challenges altogether. Only by banning peremptory challenges, Justice Marshall said, can racial discrimination in jury selection be ended Batson v. More than twenty years later, there is growing evidence that the rulings in Batson and McCollum are difficult to enforce.
Studies of cases in many states show that both prosecutors and defense lawyers often continue to rely on race-based stereotypes in selecting juries. In in Miller-El v. Dretke , the Supreme Court reviewed a case involving a black Texas death-row inmate. Miller-El was tried in for the death of a clerk during a robbery at a Holiday Inn in Dallas.
At the trial, the prosecutors had used peremptory challenges to remove 10 of 11 potential black jurors. In a concurring opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer echoed Justice Marshall and suggested that the whole system of peremptory challenges should be reconsidered. And their sentences were longer. It may not be intentional. Unintended discrimination can occur at many points in the legal process. Probation officers often prepare pre-sentencing reports for a judge. The judge uses the reports to help make sentencing decisions.
Many African-Americans convicted of crimes come from deprived backgrounds. They may have things in their record — unemployment, trouble in school, family problems — that judges, who largely come from middle-class backgrounds, cannot relate to. This may sway some judges to treat them more harshly in sentencing.
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In a survey of studies on discrimination in the justice system, researcher Christopher Stone found that much of the disparity in sentencing could be traced to differences in arrest charges and prior records of those convicted. But studies of individual jurisdictions and specific parts of the court process do find some evidence of race bias in a significant number of cases.
Stone considered drug offences separately. Some federal mandatory sentences have come under fire for discriminating against minorities. Critics point to different sentences mandated for crack cocaine, a drug popular in poor minority communities, and powder cocaine, a drug used in wealthier communities. Under federal law, dealing 28 grams of crack gets a first-time offender a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. To receive a similar mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking in powder cocaine, an offender must possess grams.
States often have similar disparities in drug sentencing laws. In a study of California drug sentencing laws, researchers found that possession of crack cocaine and heroin, more commonly used by minorities, carried stiffer penalties than possession of methamphetamines, more commonly used by whites.
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University of Iowa law professor David Baldus studied 2, murder cases prosecuted by the state of Georgia during the s. The Baldus study showed that defendants convicted of killing whites were more than four times more likely to receive the death penalty than those convicted of murdering blacks. The study also revealed that black defendants who murdered whites had by far the greatest chance of being sentenced to death.
A Georgia black man who had been sentenced to death in for killing a white police officer used this study in his appeal to the U. Supreme Court. In a 5—4 decision, the Supreme Court accepted the results of the study, but ruled that it did not prove discrimination. Writing for the majority, Justice Lewis F.
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Kemp , While the Baldus study showed a big disparity in death penalty verdicts depending on the race of the victim, it found that black defendants were only 1. A Government Accounting Office report in also found no clear statistical data showing that the race of a defendant affected the determination of a death sentence. The report did find, however, that the defendant was much more likely to be sentenced to death if the victim was white than if the victim was non-white. A more recent study, however, showed that race-of-defendant bias seems to plague the federal system.
A Department of Justice study of the federal system between and found that of cases that federal attorneys approved for death-penalty prosecution, 72 percent involved minority defendants. The study also found that many more white defendants received pretrial waivers for the death penalty in a plea agreement than did blacks and Latinos.
An earlier congressional report reviewed cases involving people convicted under a drug kingpin law between and That report found that while only 24 percent of those convicted under the law were black, the prosecutors chose to pursue the death penalty much more frequently against blacks than whites 78 percent of death penalty defendants were black, and only 11 percent were white and 11 percent Latino.
While racial disparities continue to exist in the American criminal justice system, commentators differ over the cause. Supreme Court decisions since have rooted out many overtly racist practices, such as in jury selection, but it is more difficult to address unintentional racist factors. Because these factors come from subtle assumptions and fears deeply ingrained in the wider society, only when society changes will they disappear.
Critics of the system, however, insist that inequalities, regardless of their basis, should not be swept under the rug. They must be paid attention to and any discrimination found must be eliminated. Policies that lead to discriminatory results must be re-examined. The skilled slaves also cooperated in a similar manner. Due to the fact that their skills afforded them an opportunity to travel throughout the community ats, they were able to obtain valuable information which could aid in escapes. Religious and racial consciousness also played an important role in the black helpingdition.
The Christian religious ideology of caring, giving, and loving reinforced in the slaves the helping tradition. The Martins felt that racial consciousness was evident in slave protest and rebellion. When slaves could no longer tolerate seeing their relatives, whether extended or fictive kin, brutally abused, quests for freedom arose from the extended families. In order to effectuate a successful escape it took the cooperation of many slaves. Slaves had become aware of their common oppression and were willing to help one another escape the bondages of slavery. Joanne and Elmer contend that the black helping tradition, which was developed in traditional Africa and retained in slavery began to decline rapidly during the s and has sunk into insignificance today.
The Martins attribute the decline of the black helping tradition to the Great Depression of the s and desegregation. They felt that the Great Depression forced even strong extended families to retreat into themselves and concern themselves primarily with the survival of their members.
Although thousands of black families could not have survived without aid from their kin, many black families had trouble feeding themselves, let alone their relatives. As the Great Depression took its toll, the practice of taking responsibility for other Blacks began to diminish. The other factor which attributed to the decline the black helping tradition was desegregation.
Along with desegregation came a strong movement for assimilation for the black American. Which meant a deemphasis on the prosocialization values that had originated from the African heritage. The government viewed the problems of Blacks as problems of class, not necessarily of race. As a result government leaders pressed for assimilation and participation of the black American in the dominant society with little regard for the preservation of the helping tradition values.
With assimilation, Blacks could receive social services, thus curtailing the need for the black helping tradition. In order to trace the decline of the black helping tradition the Martins believe you must go back to the rural and small town Blacks and study their migration to urban centers. Blacks have been steadily migrating to the big cities since the turn of the century in search of a better life. Blacks saw these jobs as a means to escape sharecropping and other semislavery types of work.
The pattern of rural to urban migration generally was the same. First, Blacks felt stifled by the lack of opportunity in rural areas and sought a better life in the city. Second, they usually followed relatives who had paved the way. Rural Blacks realized from the stories of their urban relatives that urban life could be treacherous for newcomers. So they opted to stay with relatives or in an area with people from their hometown until they became accustomed to city life.
Martin and Martin contend that even when small town Black migrants attempted to avoid the dominant influence of the big city, they are generally unsuccessful. First, they learn that many of their small town ways do not fit well in the big city. The need to gain acceptance in the big city helps to explain the decline of the helping tradition.
As the black urban population grew, the helping tradition came face to face with a world in which not helping people was considered more conducive to survival.
The decline of the black helping tradition has been partly the result of the changing values of Blacks. It is my contention that the crisis confronting the AfricanAmerican family can be attributed in part to the replacement of the helping tradition in the urban black community with the bourgeoise and street ideologies. Pursuit of the bourgeoise ideology would not have such an adverse effect on the black community if the black people who adhered to this philosophy did not become so self-consumed that they would obtain their material wealth at the expense of the rest of the black community.
In addition, these people should not forget the helping tradition of their African ancestors. The street ideology on the other hand, if allowed to go unchecked, will continue to have a detrimental effect on the African-American family. This ideology requires its adherents to display a dispassionate attitude that stresses exploiting, using, or conning others for economic, sexual, or egotistical gains. This street ideology helps to account for the high teenage pregnancy rate, crime rate, and drug trafficking that occurs in the black community.
These ideologies are similar in four ways according to the Martins. First, both place a great deal of emphasis on individualism. Second, both focus on obtaining money, material goods, and social status. Third, both are motivated by a desire to escape the hardship and the stigma of being poor. And fourth, by being consistent with the values of the status quo, both are supportive of the status quo.
The two ideologies differ in that the street ideology stresses the use of illegitimate means while the bourgeoise ideology advocates legitimate means. With the teaching of this section of my unit I would suggest using one of the most popular show on television today, the Cosby Show. This show, in my opinion illustrates the bourgeoise ideology. Here you have a black family in which the father, Cliff Huxtable, is a doctor and the mother, Clare Huxtable, is a lawyer.
Both are successful in their respective fields. They never have a fight and by the end of the program whatever the family problem was, has been successfully resolved. This season the Huxtables are living in an extended type family situation. Whether this family is reflective of the AfricanAmerican family would make the basis for a good class discussion. One may ask if the Huxtable family is an example of stable family, in my opinion it is.
What makes a family stable is not the fact that both parents are present and successful but that the expressive and instrumental needs of its family members are being met. Alice F. Instrumental needs are defined as those security strivings for survival or assumption of responsibility, economic sufficiency, food, clothing, shelter, protection, and social interaction. It is my belief that in order for a family to be considered stable, it must meet bot h the expressive and instrumental needs of its family members.
African American masculinity: Power and expression
Students should be made aware that it is not necessary to have a twoparent household or to have parents who are doctors and lawyers to meet these needs. However, our students should be encouraged to delay starting a family at an early age because of the difficulty inherent in raising a family. I would encourage you to conclude this unit by having a teen parent group from one of the high schools visit your class so students can get an idea of some of the problems of being a teenage parent. The Black Community; Diversity and Unity. New York: Harper and Row, This book has two excellent chapters on the black family in which the function and structure of the AfricanAmerican family is discussed.
ConerEdwards, Alice F.
The Black family: essays and studies - Robert Staples - Google книги
This book has an excellent chapter on mate selection concerning blacks. Engram, Eleanor. Westport, Conn. This study focuses on the major aspects of the black family in an attempt to separate fact from myth. Frazier, E. The Negro Family in the Unite d States. New York: The Citadel Press, Even though some of Fraziers theories have come under recent criticism, his work is still and excellent source on the black family.
Gutman, Herbert G. The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, New York: Pantheon Books, This book gives a historical account of the black family from slavery up until Heiss, Jerold. This book examines the effects family traits have had on the black family. In addition, this text attempts to test various theories concerning the American black family. Hill, Robert B. The Strengths of Black Families.
Excellent source. This study discusses five major strengths of the black family. Lewis, Jerry M. This book examines the impact of the innercity on family competence as revealed in family structure and function. Mc Adoo, Harriet Pepes, ed. Black Families. Beverly Hills: Sage Publication, This study contains several excellent essays on the black family.
Martin, Joanne M. Excellent source for the American black helping tradition. Gives great insight into problems facing the black family. Scanzoni, John H. The Black Family in Modern Society. Staples, Robert. The Black Family; Essays and Studies. This text is a collection of essays concerning many facets of the black family. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Fideler, This book presents a study of several African cultures including their family life.
Du Bois, W. The Souls of Black Folks. New York: DoddMead, Du Bois gives an overview of the life of black Americans. Fitch, Bob and Lynne. Manakata, Minnesota: Ameces Street, Inc. Greig, Mary E. How People Live in Africa. Chicago: Benefic Press,
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