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|Posted on November 25, 2014 at 10:50 AM|
Past- 1/3 Citizen Today- 2/3 Citizen
It is tempting to pretend that minorities on death row share a fate in no way connected to our own, that our treatment of them sounds no echoes beyond the chambers in which they die. Such an illusion is ultimately corrosive, for the reverberations of injustice are not so easily confined. -Justice William Brennan (1987)
The Sounds of Racism
Blatant racism is seen and heard too often in courtrooms around the country. Today there seems to be a U.S. judicial system where black criminals are sent to prison while whites are acquitted. In death penalty cases, the use of derogatory slurs kindles the flames of prejudice and allows the jury to judge harshly those they wish to scapegoat for the problem of crime. A few examples illustrate the intensity of this racism:
¥ "One of you two is gonna hang for this. Since you're the nigger, you're elected." These words were spoken by a Texas police officer to Clarence Brandley, who was charged with the murder of a white high school girl. Brandley was later exonerated in 1990 after ten years on death row.
¥ During the 1997 election campaign for Philadelphia's District Attorney, it was revealed that one of the candidates had produced, as an Assistant D.A., a training video for new prosecutors in which he instructed them about whom to exclude from the jury, noting that "young black women are very bad" on the jury for a prosecutor, and that "blacks from low-income areas are less likely to convict." The training tape also instructed the new recruits on how to hide the racial motivation for their jury strikes.
These are a couple of examples that were allowed well-after blacks were considered a full citizen, of America, verses the past's 1/3 of a citizen. Yet, police officers, security guards, or self-appointed vigilantes extrajudicially killed at least 313 African-Americans in 2012, according to a recent study. This means a black person was killed by a security officer every 28 hours. The report notes that it's possible that the real number could be much higher.
If this occurs within the sworn oath to protect and serve the citizens, of the U.S., blacks must not be considered a full citizen. Unlearn.