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Racism: Incarceration Of A Household Member And Hispanic Health Disparities

1719 words - 7 pages

Many Americans pretend that the days of racism are far behind; however it is clear that institutional racism still exists in this country. One way of viewing this institutional racism is looking at our nation’s prison system and how the incarceration rates are skewed towards African American men. The reasons for the incarceration rate disparity are argued and different between races, but history points out and starts to show the reason of why the disparity began. Families and children of the incarcerated are adversely affected due to the discrimination as well as the discrimination against African American students and their likelihood of going to prison compared to the white student. African American women are also affected by the discrimination in the incarceration rate. Many white Americans don’t see how racism affects incarceration rates, and that African Americans are more likely to face discrimination from the police as well as being falsely arrested.
Many would argue that the reason why the incarceration rate for African Americans is sustainably higher compared to white American is because of economic situations, and because of past arrest patterns. While it is true that the economic opportunity someone has will affect their decisions, this argument doesn’t fully explain the real reason of why the rates are higher. To fully understand the reason why one must look back on America’s history and how African Americans were treated. The past arrest patterns do not explain why the gap continues to increase, however it is clear that the past arrest patterns is more an indicator of institutional racism that exists in this country. One study found that African Americans believe the reason for the high incarceration rates is because of “being unfairly stopped by the police”.1 Results from this study make it clear that African Americans believe that police bias is the major reason of why there is discrimination in the incarceration rate whereas white Americans believe the reason is due to poverty.1 This study shows that the two races have two different perspectives on the reason of the disparity. This difference in reasoning makes sense because many white Americans no longer believe that racism exists when it clearly does especially through police bias. History starting in the 1970’s also shows that poverty may not be the reason and that white Americans should start to listen to the perspective of African Americans.
Statistics show that throughout American history, African American’s incarceration rates have always been higher than white American’s incarceration rates. The actual incarceration rate in America started dramatically increasing during the 1970’s and the US continues to be the country with the highest incarceration rate. To get a sense of just how much it has grown, in 2011 the prison population was at more than two million compared to 300,00 in 1970. Just in 2009 alone, the incarceration rate of African Americans was 3,119 per...

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