In the United States, we consider justice to be blind. We believe that if you do something that is against the law, you should be punished for it regardless of who you are or your ethnicity. It’s this belief that gives people trust in the criminal justice system and makes them believe that justice will be fair every time.
But as some of our more frequent readers know, this isn’t always the case. Across the nation, blacks are six times more likely to become incarcerated than whites, says an NAACP fact sheet. Even more chilling than that is the fact that of the 2.3 million incarcerated individuals in the U.S., blacks make up nearly half of that. This should force our readers to ponder an important question:
If justice is supposed to be blind, why does it appear as if blacks are being targeted over whites?
The answer, some say, lies in law enforcement campaigns, such as “get tough on crime” and the push made by some law enforcement agencies to increase the police presence in inner cities. In many ways, these two efforts actually appear to be targeting black people who often make up a predominant portion of an inner city’s residents.
If you don’t believe that racial bias exists close to Dublin, then our readers need only look to nearby San Francisco. As was explained in a San Francisco Chronicle article this month, the disparity between the incarceration of blacks versus whites has grown over the last 20 years by 53 percent while the rest of the nation has reported a 23 percent decrease. Although officials claim to be unbiased, anecdotal evidence from those who have been arrested say otherwise.
If justice is truly blind, then law enforcement agencies across the state of California need to address the fact that racial biases exist, even among officers, but to stress that such a sentiment has no place in the enforcement of the law.