An overwhelming number of empirical studies and reports conclude that disparity in the treatment of African-American males exists in the justice system. Similarly, other institutional systems mirror the same negative disparities between African-American males and non-minorities. Even institutional policies and practices that appear to be neutral on their face have a disparate impact on minorities, and African-American males in particular. This disparity is the result of stereotypical biases and racism intentionally and unintentionally directed at African-American males. Many African-American males appear to have fallen prey to negative stereotypical biases which permeate throughout the justice and other institutional systems.
As a result of the disparities, stereotypical biases, and racism in the justice and institutional systems, the status of many African-American males has reached a crisis. Ironically, the courts and Congress have repeatedly acknowledged the disparities, even racism, within the various systems, but, nevertheless have failed to issue or promulgate corrective action. Instead, the criminal justice system continues to disproportionately “lock them up.” Congress and state legislatures continue to propose additional legislation to lock up even more, and law enforcement agencies target African-American males for arrest and prosecution. Clearly, racism and disparity also exist in the civil justice system. African-American males have little faith that they will receive equal justice, particularly in a system where judges are biased, where there is a lack of adequate legal representation for minorities, and where minorities are disproportionately underrepresented in the justice system work force.
FNNote 1. Copyright (c) 1994, Floyd D. Weatherspoon.
. Associate Professor of Law, Capital University Law and Graduate Center. B.A. 1974, North Carolina A&T State University; J.D. 1977, Howard University Law School
Race, Racism and the Law
Vernellia R. Randall
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