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Cultural Diversity: Racial Disparity In The Application Of The Death Penalty

2304 words - 10 pages

The death penalty is one of the most controversial issues on American soil, surpassed only by those condemned to the wages of this irrefutable sin. Minorities such as African-Americans and Hispanics, aggregate this continuous barrage of discrimination. Follow along, and rediscover capital punishment from a black writer's point of view.Blacks are more likely to face the death penalty than whites in the commission of identical crimes. Governmental murders are alive and well in the good ole USA. The history of capital punishment dates back to the days before Christ. The Old Testament adage "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," has survived throughout the ages despite the New Testament's ...view middle of the document...

Blacks are sentenced to jail and the death penalty more often that any other minority in America. As the national inmate population has increased in recent decades, the impact of these changes on minority communities has been particularly dramatic. Two-thirds of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities, and for black males in their twenties, one in every eight is in prison or jail on any given day. Moreover, black males born today have a one in three chance of going to prison during their lifetime, compared to a one in seventeen chance for white males. These trends have been exacerbated by the impact of the "war on drugs," with three-fourths of all drug offenders being persons of color, far out of proportion to their share of drug users in society (The Sentencing Project: Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System, 2004).Racial disparity in the criminal justice system is a product of a number of factors -crime, offenses such drugs, social and economic disparities, legislative policies, and the use of discretion by the criminal justice system. Social and economic disparities have faces and many are of color.African-Americans are more likely than others to have social histories that include poverty, exposure to neighborhood violence, and exposure to crime-prone role models. For example, African-American children with no prior admissions to the juvenile justice system were six times more likely to be incarcerated in a public facility than white children with the same background that were charged with the same offense. A major study sponsored by the Department of Justice in the early 1980s noted that juvenile justice system processing appears to be counterproductive, placing minority children at a disproportionately greater risk of subsequent incarceration (Deadly Statistics: A Survey of Crime and Punishment, 2000). This writer's grandmother retired after more than thirty years as a welfare social worker for Los Angeles County. She has stated on more than occasion that the government is the main reason that most black men are in jail awaiting the death penalty today. In the sixties and early seventies, she says that women on welfare were not allowed to have men in the home, even the father of the children. These fatherless generations of men seem more prone to crime, and are creating another generation of fatherless children by being irresponsible or jailed.The criminal justice system itself is racially biased and allowed to continue, unchallenged in its unfair practice of racial disparity in the application of capital punishment. In 1997, David Baldus and statistician George Woodworth examined the death penalty rates among all death eligible defendants in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between the years of 1983 and 1993. The results of their study proved that the odds of receiving the death penalty in Philadelphia increased by 38% when the accused was black (Deadly Statistics: A Survey of Crime and Punishment, 2000). The...

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