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Racism And The American Criminal Justice System

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Today, African Americans and other minorities are over-represented in the criminal justice system, but under-represented politically in the United States of America. Since well before its inception in 1776, the United States of America has been a nation characterized by white supremacy. In fact, modern day America may not exist if not for the taking of land from the Indigenous Peoples on this very premise. Today, many Americans believe they live in a post-racial nation, citing the abolition of slavery in the 1860s. While racism has certainly been reduced in modern America, it is still ever-present in society, and more alarmingly, the criminal justice system.

Today, the American criminal justice system acts as a front for state racism, imprisoning, disenfranchising, and disadvantaging minorities in shocking numbers. Colour-blind racists justify this as a cultural phenomenon rather than a flaw in the justice system. However, there is overwhelming evidence of a racial bias in the justice system. The infamous “War on Drugs” compounded the effects of this racial bias by instituting mandatory minimum sentences for minor drug offences. These sentences push what were formerly minor offences into the felony offence category. The legal system creates no less than three different patterns of inequality for convicted felons, of which a staggering number constitute racial minorities. Along with the obvious immediate consequences of imprisonment, felons are disenfranchised and
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