As a critical social scientist (one who works to overturn false social and political beliefs), I submit the following statements for consideration. Critical science research theory seeks to assess society and culture to encourage change, enlighten understanding and for emancipation.
Why does racism persist in every single sector of society? Listen carefully. Racism occurs one person at a time. Each time a white person encounters a person of color, a decision is made about how the minority individual should be treated. Each time a person of color is wrongly charged, convicted, beaten, steered to all black neighborhoods for real estate, overcharged for mortgage loans, auto loans, overcharged for any purchases, etc., this is racism, taking place, one person at a time, in every institution. Sunday is the most segregated day of the week. Cities are hyper segregated by race, perpetuated by racist realtors. Individuals who appear white (Asians, etc.) are treated better than people of color.
There is a very, serious, and deeply rooted problem. Racism is a learned attitude.
A brief snap of the issues:
- Non-whites are more likely to be processed and incarcerated into the criminal justice system (juveniles and adults). Ohio law professor, Michelle Alexander’s powerful text, “The New Jim Crow” provides details regarding this truth.
- The U.S. justice system, including the juvenile justice system, treats minorities and whites differently. White offenders are more often not processed after committing an offense, minorities are more than likely, immediately presumed to be wrong and processed, fined, and incarcerated. My husband and I were charged with trespassing and convicted as “criminals” for viewing a home in an affluent white neighborhood. We were convicted and fined over $1,000. The official paperwork reported we were only fined $50! The white accusers committed perjury in trial. The Ohio Courts threw the trial transcripts out to keep the Asian couple from being punished for perjury.
- Race always significantly effects the outcomes of justice in America.
- Race plays an incredibly significant role in the outcomes of police officer’s decisions in handling alleged offenders. Police decisions to refer to custody exemplify the deeply seated racist mindset of officers lacking diversity skills. George Floyd is merely one of millions of minorities who have faced angry, racist officers. Relatives I know have been beaten and threatened by police, told, “We can plant something on you and put in in jail…”
- White people are treated differently in every circumstance.
- African American men, women and children are over represented in every decision point in the justice system – from arrest to commitment to correction facilities.
What are some possible solutions?
We must all repent. We must all ask God is help us, to make us aware of what lies deep inside our hearts. We must each examine ourselves.
And, there is no such thing as a black racist! The term racist is indicative of one who has power to wield against others. Black folks have very little real power. What grocery chains do we own? How many of us are judges, police officers, teachers, probation officers? How many black are college and university professors? Medical Doctors? How can one possess power without owning anything substantive?
Love is the answer to everything. Love is God. No one will make it to heaven if they are racist in their heart. God loves all His creation. We have made laws to prevent the legal hanging of black folks in public daylight gatherings, but in the minds of whites, it is still acceptable to kill black people for no reason, other than the color of their skin. God is not pleased.
My personal experience as a black woman includes: I have never met a white person, even those proclaiming to be Christians, that at some point they did not remind me that I am black and therefore I should not expect to be treated with dignity and respect. I totally understand why some people are reluctant to attend church, follow Jesus, read the Holy Bible. I am a devoutly committed Christian, but lately, I find it difficult to watch Christian television where white people praise God vehemently and leave the church and discriminate, disrespect, hurt, etc., blacks. These are the same people who attended public lynching with picnic baskets! “Let’s all go to the hanging at Lake Ann…we’ll take our food with us.”
Racism in higher education: Describing my first day in graduate school, I was the only black student in the classroom. The professor stood in front of me saying, "What are you doing here? Forty years ago, it was believed the only thing a black woman would ever be was a maid!" Startled by my silence and the stares and silence of everyone in the room, the professor then turned his back toward me saying, "I guess things have changed!" He would later tell me individually, after class, "You'd better be glad you aren't in Africa!"
After earning a graduate degree, I applied for a teaching position at Kent State University, where a department chairman told me, "I'm a white man, I can "f" up, you can't!" He then went on to suggest that if I were to have some sort of relationship with him, he "could create a position for me."
The only hope is the Living God. Only God can change the heart of man. The heart is desperately wicked
To ensure equality and fairness, focus should be on finding ways to prevent crime. System bias and Institutional racism affect decisions at each point. Persons in power must make decisions quickly and they make decisions based on their individual view of people of color.
For further reading:
- Charles Frazier and Donna Bishop (Studied ethnic and racial bias in Florida's justice system covering the period 1985 to 1987).
- James Austin's 1989 (study documented that, after accounting for factors such as offense and prior record, African American youths
- Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities, Craig Steven Wilder
- The Covenant in Action - Tavis Smiley
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander
- Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, Melissa V. Harris-Perry
- God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time, Desmond Tutu
- Madeline Wordes and Tim Bynum collected data from police case files from nine jurisdictions in Michigan in 1990.
- 1984, Paul Reiman, Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer, the Poor Get Prison
- Killing Rage: Ending Racism, Bell Hooks
- Ron Brown's Body: How One Man's Death Saved the Clinton Presidency and Hillary's Future, Jack Cashill
- The Mis-Education of the Negro, Carter G. Woodson
- It's About Time - America's Imprisonment Binge, John Irwin,
- The Urban Underclass, Christopher Jencks Douglas Masse