|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Race Criminal law|
Linking crime with race has been one of the controversial public debates that have lasted more than a century. Proponents and opponents of the issue have come up with many kinds of research to back up their side of the argument (Whaley, 2018). However, it is widely known that crime rates are higher among African Americans than any other groups. It has been postulated that the disproportionate number of black Americans in prisons is due to social-economic factors as well as racial discrimination by law enforcers and the courts (Welch, 2007). In a bid to find a solution to the high crime rates, Benett suggested doing a mass abortion for all African-Americans so that the possibility of future criminal activities would be reduced. However, his utterances evoked a lot of outrage and condemnation from many quarters. Considering that the groups form only a small percentage of the overall American population, it has raised a lot of concern for stakeholders and scholars who have been pondering at how black psychology is shaped (Whaley, 2018).
While Hosting his radio show, Morning in America, Bennett made some remarks which were popularly interpreted to be racist by many. Responding to a caller who opined that if abortion were illegal, then so much money would be saved for social security, he disagreed and counter-suggested massive racial abortion targeting the black population (Faler, 2005). Benett reckoned, "If you wanted to reduce crime, you could-if that were the sole purpose-you could abort every black baby in this country, and the crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down." This kind remarks are popular and extensively researched by renowned authorities. The general implication brought fought by the association of black individuals to crime is to condemn many who are law abiding citizens into a group where they feel victimized (Faler, 2005).
The victimization of African-Americans due to crime has found prominence in modern times. It has become more likely for an African-American young man to be randomly stopped and harassed by a police officer that their white counterparts (Whaley, 2018). This blanket association of a particular race to the ills in the society has even been observed to choke relationships between the law enforcement officers and the black population which makes it hard for trust to develop between the two and thus the community cannot divulge information to the authorities. It has led to police officers resulting to the blatant use of force to make arrests, and thus many of those arrested tend to be innocent, and their only crime is that they portray a certain skin color (Welch, 2007).
The police harassment of black people neighborhoods has been observed by Leonard Pitts Jr (2005) several times in his family alone that he fears the same vice will continue to be engraved in the minds of the next generation. According to him, Benett's remarks evoke a feeling of racial discrimination and injustice. He remembers a time when police budged into his house looking for a suspect involved in a robbery and ended up arresting his son who had different features from those they described for the suspect (Pitts Jr., 2005). He recalls that the police did not even follow laid down protocols that are supposed to be followed to ensure the rights of the suspect and those around him are respected.
Pitts (2005) remembers how police discriminated against his family on the day of his son's arrest. That on the time his son was alleged to have committed the crime, he was having a long distance call with him. The police were seen to be blindly picking up individuals without evidence backup. Even when the actual suspect was caught, the charged were found to have been exaggerated, and the jury quashed the allegations setting him free. However, it still pains Pitt that the officers who arrested his son had to handcuff his 14-year-old daughter in the process and made her lie on the wet grass outside facing down (Pitts Jr., 2005).
Black people have become so accustomed to being found in the wrong that they have seen it as a routine. Pitt's other son, for instance, is stopped by a traffic police officer and cited for driving while the windscreen is obstructed. The object allegedly obstructing him is an air freshener small enough that it possibly cannot hinder his view of the road (Pitts Jr., 2005). He, however, accepts fault knowing that it is ordinary for police officers to accuse African-Americans falsely and his father predicts that the same will continue to take root and will affect even his grandchildren.
Although racial discrimination has been fought for many decades in America, there is still much more that needs to be done to eradicate it (Whaley, 2018). First, there is a need to conduct thorough research to get to the root of the crime rates reported in black neighborhoods. Many of the study now widely available have pointed to genetics and the racial factor as the reason many young black Americans are finding themselves on the wrong side of the law. While many researchers have delved into the topic, there is a need to understand that it may not be a race issue but rather an economic issue which touches on the subject of income, jobs and financial stability (Welch, 2007). African Americans form the bulk of people who are economically less privileged and live in areas which are mostly neglected by the government. Compared to the white individuals, they, therefore, may feel resentment which manifests itself in the form of violence (Whaley, 2018).
The actions of law enforcement officers to also use excessive force when dealing with such individuals only serves to reinforce the popular narrative that they are not friends to the people of color. A clear dissection of Pitt's opinion shows that if the police acted civilly, then the children would have a more positive attitude towards them. It is, therefore, a challenge to all stakeholders to work in a manner that will change this engraved psychology, and the crime statistics are bound to improve as a result (Latzer, 2018).
The black American community has also found that leaders have used the issue of their race in association with a crime for political mileage (Latzer, 2018). When it is pointed out that someone has uttered racist remarks, then politicians retire to their political parties and begin attacking each other. These individuals meant to act and legislate to help end the vice hence are often self-centered than people-centered. Benett faced a lot of condemnation from many quarters for his remarks and especially from congressional leaders leaning towards the Democratic Party. Since the African Americans traditionally back Democratic in elections, it is understood that the party would come out full force to condemn the utterances (Faler, 2005). The then Democratic leaders lead by Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California both came against the remarks pointing out that they had no place in the modern society. There were those who called for the cancellation of the show by the radio station such as Media Matters for America, a media watchdog; civil rights leaders, Wade Henderson, and leaders led by Rep. Conveyor Jr (Faler, 2005).
Due to the increased association of crime to African-Americans, many scholars have strived to understand the social and psychological aspects of the black population. There is a need to fully understand the reasoning behind the many behaviors by the black people that put them on the wrong side of the law. However, the remarks such as those made by Benett have a potential to alienate an entire race. A more holistic approach to understanding the issues needs to be developed, and black psychology looks like a very positive start.
Faler, B. (2005). Bennett under Fire for Remark on Crime and Black Abortions. Washington Post, September, 30, A05.
Latzer, B. (2018). Subcultures of violence and African American crime rates. Journal of Criminal Justice, 54, 41-49.
Pitts Jr., L. (2005). Bennett's quip touches on tacit race, crime tie. Miami Herald. Retrieved from http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1498247/posts
Welch, K. (2007). Black criminal stereotypes and racial profiling. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 23(3), 276-288.
Whaley, A. L. (2018). Book Review: Mind Matters: A Resource Guide to Psychiatry for Black Communities.
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