Inequality in the Legal System
In the United States, true equality has never existed. From the Declaration of Independence to modern times, the US legal system has failed at any attempt at equality. ‘...all men are created equal...’ may be what the Declaration says, but ‘some men are more equal than others’ is how the legal system really interprets that phrase. The actual reality of the Declaration of Independence is that all free, white, landowning men are created equal. Therefore, inequality has always existed in the united States’ legal system and continues to exist today; however, the inequality presently in the system is not as blatant as what it once was. Slavery continued in the United States for nearly ninety years after the Declaration, and African Americans still feel the sting of inequality today.
One of the most controversial issues today is the act of racial profiling. The most common form is direct, meaning victims are directly profiled, usually by the police. In this form, individual officers act on racial stereotypes against racial minorities, especially African Americans. Recent studies in New Jersey and Illinois have confirmed that minorities are disproportionately targeted by police officers, although minorities are almost helpless in reporting ‘color of law’ attacks. It is their word against a legal official and, in most cases, the minority victim does not receive justification because the officers are cleared of charges. Out of nearly 10,000 color of law complaints received each year by the Department of Justice, only about thirty police officers are actually prosecuted. According to a June 1999 study done by the American Civil Liberties Union, many states have denied that racial profiling occurs despite overwhelming evidence supporting it. The public wants to believe that police officers are doing their jobs righteously by protecting and serving; however, according to the study, most Americans can recognize the difference between racism and assertive, effective policing.
Millions of Americans watch television everyday for various reasons, but
the most common one is to get the latest news. People like to stay informed, but what good is it when they are constantly being misinformed? The media tend to ‘profile’ just as much, if not more, than police, just in an indirect way, thus, the second form of racial profiling. The media fails to cover their own profiling, but are the first to criticize police racial profiling. When they actually do acknowledge their own profiling, they tend to try to cover it up more than give coverage. The number of African Americans involved in an issue are usually over-represented by the media, therefore further inflaming the issue. Certain issues constantly associated with African Americans include drugs, crime, welfare and the affirmative action policy.