The deaths of George Floyd and Jacob Blake were the straws that broke the camel’s back. Black people are tired of unfair and unjust practices in the criminal justice system and people defending them. Tired of the criminal record of victims being questioned. The criminal justice system frustrates so many Black Americans today because the statistics alarmingly show that Black people are overrepresented in the criminal justice system.
This year further proved that the justice system was not designed to protect Black Americans and it targets them in an unjust way. On one hand, some would say the criminal justice system is broken, on the other hand, some would say the criminal justice system was doing just what it was meant to do after slavery. To keep Black men and women in a new form of slavery.
To understand the practice of mass incarceration and the brutality of black Americans, we have to take a look at life after slavery.
Slave owners invoked the control of slaves through brutal punishment and fear, which continued even after slaves were technically considered free. Shortly after the ratification of the 13th amendment, the laws that once governed slavery were replaced by Black Codes.
These codes led to the imprisonment of unprecedented numbers of Black men, women, and children who were then returned to slavery-like conditions in prisons. During slavery black people were viewed as three-fifths of a person, this new system turned black people into criminals before they could think about committing a crime.
Today, the United States has one of the highest rates of incarceration than any other nation. There are more than 2.2 million people inside United States prisons, with more than 4.5 million on probation.
Black Americans represent a little less than 13 percent of the American population but double in incarceration. 1 out of 3 black men are expected to go to prison and Black Americans are killed at a much higher rate than White Americans.
While half of people shot and killed by police are indeed white, the numbers are disproportionate amongst Black Americans. Communities of color are disproportionately victims of crime and continually show prevalent bias in the criminal justice system.
When people say, “Black Lives Matter”, it is not to say Black people are superior or are the supreme race. It is literally saying black people matter because for centuries it was shown that black people do not. When a Black person is either beaten or killed, their criminal record is questioned. He or she must have done something to provoke the actions to them right?. For some people, regardless if the police officer was wrong, it is always the black person’s fault for getting shot or beaten.
Black America is tired. Tired of constantly having to defend basic human rights. Tired of having to constantly talk to their children about how to handle driving, walking and sitting while black. Tired of being a constant target as soon as they step out of the door. Tired. A person’s criminal background should not matter when they are the victim of police brutality.
The police are not judge, jury, or executioner, and do not have the right to act as such. Black Americans like every citizen in the United States should have proper due process in the justice system, but it seems that is asking for too much.