Is The U.S. Criminal Justice System Biased?

“Every time you see me, you want to mess with me” These are some of the last words spoken by Eric Garner You may remember his case

Eric was arrested on suspicion of selling illegal cigarettes in New York Despite being unarmed, he was placed in a chokehold by officers, which according to a medical examiner’s report, led to his death, an hour later Those last words, “Every time you see me, you want to mess with me”, have since been taken up by a related cause: the Black Lives Matter movement The movement began in 2013 in response to a different high-profile and racially-charged death: Trayvon Martin’s And it’s has since become a rallying cry for all those, regardless of race, who yearn for equality and justice

I was very clear that those 3 words were something, if it resonated for me, could resonate for other black people and their allies That’s Patrisse Cullors, creator of the hashtag and one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement Patrisse watched cases like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner stir up a lot of controversy and emotion in the country But to her, these incidents were a symptom of a much larger issue An issue that she had very personal experience with: the American Criminal Justice System, and the racial biases running rampant there

It's not just the prisons, it's the police, it's the courts, it’s the prison system, it’s the entire apparatus… …

I think it’s my duty to support and develop a new narrative and support and develop new structures and new systems Looking at the facts, there is little doubt that racial inequality exists within the criminal justice system A 2008 report by The US Department Of Justice, stated that black drivers were roughly three times as likely to be searched during a traffic stop and twice as likely to be arrested than white drivers

They were also more likely to experience threats or use of force during these interactions with the police And it doesn’t stop there Incarceration rates disproportionately impact men of color According to a 2014 report by the US

The Department Of Justice, black men had the highest imprisonment rate in every age group and were in state or federal facilities up to 10 times more often than white men For Patrisse, though, the problem isn’t a bunch of statistics – it’s very real, and it opens up another dimension of mass incarceration: drug enforcementBoth my brother and father were addicted to crack and my father was in and out of prison most of his life, I say it was the war on drugs that killed him, because instead of him having access to treatment he was locked up and put in prison “The War On Drugs” refers to a set of zero-tolerance, drug sentencing laws dating back to the 1970’s

Many argue that these strict policies are responsible for the US’s prison population expanding by approximately 700 percent The war drugs has even been described as the “New Jim Crow” One critic argues that “the war has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color, even though studies consistently show that people of all colors use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates” None of these injustices – the war on drugs, the prison system, racial profiling – were lost on Patrisse as she grew up and became politically activeI think it also shapes how you see the world, it shapes how you see yourself, for me early on I was very angry … I looked in my neighborhood and there was no black lives matter, there was no organizers knocking my door saying come join this movement there were no marches, people were just dying, and people were being locked up, and I felt like it was a trap, a trap for all of us

… My response was to fight, my response was to join the movement And that movement she’s talking about is Black Lives Matter

Which, in spite of all the issues, histories and politics it covers, is first and foremost a sorely-needed call to action “we have so many folks who are doing such powerful work with black lives matter in their own communities, whether that's initiating conversations, whether that's using the black lives matter to produce art, whether that is doing brilliant actions around black lives matter, or theorizing black lives matter means in their context

” Want to know more about what discrimination looks like in America? Watch this video Thanks for watching TestTube News, don’t forget to like and subscribe for new videos everyday

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