Sources In academic essays, we use sources to develop a thesis statement that tells a reader what you’re claiming about your topic and why it’s valuable to understand that claim. Your final essay will include six sources. One library source from a peer-reviewed/scholarly journal, four from in-class readings/films/songs, and one from wherever you please. The source from where you please may be another essay from class, an image, any other source from the library databases, or something you find on your own. No matter where you find the source, you must clearly show that you understand the point-of-view of the author and you must explain why this source is important to your paper.
Final Essay Requirements
- Seven full pages of writing (2000 words)
- MLA style, including page layout/design, in-text citations from six sources, and works cited page.
- A title that reflects your essay’s subject/topic.
- An epigraph is optional, but if you use one, make sure it’s formatted in MLA style.
- An introduction that catches attention while introducing the essay’s subject/topic.
- A thesis statement that answers two questions. One, what claim are you making about your topic? Two, why is it valuable/important to understand your claim?
- A lengthy discussion of your six sources that clearly shows how you’ve developed your thesis statement from reading and thinking about this material.
- A conclusion that discusses the importance of understanding your claim.
- Evidence of serious proofreading, including no more than one typo or one sentence-level error per page.
Final Critical Essay: Dwindling Belief in the ‘Justice System’
As humans built a society for an enhanced and proper way of ‘living’, with it came discrepancies. As a methodology to resolve these discrepancies justice system was largely originated. The system as a whole developed with various countries inculcating its inventions, to bring about its present form. Initially, it consisted of a group of elders, conducting meetings. Through the centuries it has evolved and has become a full-blown mechanism. Courts and Police were a British invention, while prisons were an American contribution. The aim of a ‘Justice System’ universally is to impart fairness, to every member of society, without bending to its various facets. This innate quality of impartiality cultivates people’s belief in this system as a whole. Therefore, when the ‘Justice System’ begins to surrender itself to the stereotypes set by society, the belief in the system as a whole begins to degenerate.
Society as a whole has a set hierarchy, and its functioning favors the people at the top of the food chain. There is a reason why the working of the judiciary is supposed to remain independent from even the government. No superior authority is supposed to affect it in any manner, whatsoever. Though from the beginning of colonialism, this ideal of ‘impartiality’, is declining. As a result, the belief in the system is also reduced. In place of safeguarding the vulnerable from the privileged, the mechanism is enabling the latter, making an already difficult life more complex for minorities. The judicial attitude towards the ‘white’ section of society is light-handed compared to the vulnerable minorities. This is due to the systemic racism that prevails in the system and is antagonistic to Black and Latin folks.
Initially, the ‘justice system’ was developed to aid the vulnerable. Therefore, it was the vulnerable that strengthened it with their trust, loyalty, and belief. This increased antagonism has shattered this belief with many now demanding amendments like no law force, as evidenced in Minneapolis, amidst the recent Black Lives Matter movement. Gallup’s 2015 survey analyzing the confidence of minorities in legal authorities showcased that only 42% were in their favor. Focussing on the racial perspective, only 49% of Latinos and 43% of Blacks were in favor of the police force. These responses are a result of the gradual revelation of unfairness entrenched in the ‘justice system’.
The Essay delves into the breakdown of the belief that has happened between the justice system and minorities. In the past few years, several incidents have contributed to the enhancement of this disbelief. This Essay, from a minority’s point of view, explains that the system that was generated to benefit the vulnerable, has now become its biggest exploiter, and in the process lost their trust and loyalty. It explores the reasons behind this breakdown. This explanation is essential to understand the unnecessary problems that the justice system causes in the life of minorities, and the urgent need to combat them.
The most popular phenomenon of recent times has undoubtedly been the Black Lives Matter movement, which became a mass protest when George Zimmerman earned an acquittal for shooting a Black Man. This showcases, that not only is the justice system failing to give them equal treatment, but also in providing them minimal justice. In place of removing the vulnerability of minorities, they were increasing it. The aforementioned survey found that more than half the Black population, precisely 54% felt that they were treated more harshly by the authorities, compared to their white counterparts.
The opinion held by the conservatives is that this dissatisfaction is because of the higher convictions. They feel that people of color commit more crimes and therefore are convicted more, and the community is trying to give it a racial outlook, by citing a lack of faith. The lack of faith pertains because of the unfairness of the conviction. As Jane Goodall’s In The Forest Of Gombe, suggests faith or belief is not synonymous with happiness (Goodall, p.47). An individual doesn’t need to feel satisfaction from a system, only if it provides them joy. Even if the outcome provides grief, as in the case of Jane Goodall, due to the loss of her second husband, the ‘fairness’ of the system can regenerate faith. There could be a momentary breakdown due to impulses, but it would not be long-drawn. The reason the satisfaction and disbelief have been brewing for so long is that the garnered grief and remorse are unfair. The disparity makes no sense. Jane Goodall regained her belief when she felt the unison she shared with all the elements in the world, with the chimpanzees, plants, water, and air (Goodall, p.50). A system having equity is bound to generate loyalty, no matter how demanding it gets, in the process of getting that equity, evidenced by Goodall’s overall outlook. The ‘justice system’ has lost credibility because of the ingrained inequity. This system gives black people 20% more prison time for committing the same crime compared to white people. It has lost trust because of convicting a 14-year-old boy Emmett Louis, for a crime with almost no proof, while hailing a White Man for committing Jalianwala Bagh Massacre.
Another prevailing opinion is that disbelief is stereotypical. The minorities are predisposed to not trusting law authorities, and no matter what efforts the latter puts in, the previously held opinion would not subside. This thought is inadequate. It is in human nature to want to believe, as reflected by Michael Shermer’s TED Talk (Shermer, 2:10). Any human being would want to believe that they are being safeguarded. A predisposed opinion occurs only when there is a set of actions that have occurred before. Stories like Emmett Till and George Floyd form this ‘predisposed opinion’. The ‘predisposed opinion’ was formed when Congos were brutally assaulted in the name of civilization, and it was ‘legally sanctioned’. The history of harshness displayed by Law authorities was not a product of imagination. Minorities witnessed it. Shermer in his Ted Talk introduces the viewers to patternicity, in which the brain conceives the actions taking place in front of them according to the previous patterns they have witnessed (Shermer, 3:18). The minorities have made their opinion due to the pattern of systemic racism they have faced. It is because of these patterns that every minority gives specific training to their children, about handling Police authorities. The training includes keeping the hands visible, not talking loudly, and various other elements. This training is not given in White Households because they haven’t faced this harsh pattern. The minority community’s unwillingness to come out of this pattern of being precautionary towards the authorities is understandable, since getting out of this pattern, means putting lives at risk.
An inquisition may arise, questioning the importance of this discussion, and the necessity of dealing with this state of disbelief. It is quite simple. The essentiality of making minorities feel protected is not only idealistic but also practical. The practicality of this issue can be traced to Yuval Noah Harari’s Ted Talk titled Why Humans Run the World. The Ted Talk details that the reason behind the superiority of humans is cooperation (Harari, p.1). The ‘cooperation’ that functions between various humans give the species an edge over everyone else. The dissent between communities and overall dissatisfaction can cause huge upheaval, leading to the dismantling of humanity as a whole. Though it might seem far-fetched, but as the Ted Talk details, the chimpanzees or any other animal cannot achieve dominance, because of non-cooperation (Harari, p.1). Hence, cooperation is a vital factor, to say the least. As Harari reiterates, Money also once seemed like a far-fetched subject, a fiction, though now it has become the most indispensable part of society, having a greater following than God itself (Harari, p.2). Therefore, to avoid the dissatisfaction of one community, because they are vulnerable and unprivileged is a hugely risky endeavor.
The cause of this disparity is the gap in perspectives. The reason authorities fail to understand the plight of minorities is that there is no one there that can understand the perspective of minorities amid authoritarian bodies. Recent studies show that only 33% of police officials are People of Color. As Joni Mitchell’s song Both Sides Now suggests that it is important to understand all the sides of an issue to gain a wholesome understanding of that subject (Mitchell, p.1). The song impresses upon the wonderment the subjects feel, at seeing objects like clouds and experiencing emotions like love. It is beyond their imagination. This proves that a second-person opinion can never match the intensity of a first-person opinion. The People of Color should be in decision-making positions, as White people even after honestly considering the suggestions of POCs, might not ever gain an emphatic understanding of the situation faced by the minorities, as they can never put themselves in their shoes. This sentiment is brought out by the lines ‘I don’t know clouds at all’ written by Joni Mitchell (Mitchell, p.1). An individual can see the cloud from the top as well as the bottom, but cannot truly understand their perspective, because they are not clouds themselves. The song urges people to consider every aspect of an argument. To make this world a better place, it is necessary to consider the perspective of minorities.
The intensity around topics like racism and the way it manifests itself in American Society is at an all-time high. White people might not understand the experience undertaken by People of Colour, but they do understand the difference that exists and even their role in it. This understanding comes out in the statement, ‘What do you expect, given who they are and where they are right now? passed by a White Teacher in ‘Race, rage and emotional suspects: Ideologies of social mobility confront the racial contours of mass incarceration’ by Jennifer Tilton (Tilton, p.292). The peer-reviewed article focuses on the racism rampant in the juvenile system. The intensity and awareness of racism are so much that a simple conversation about this topic can lead to violent outcomes. The institutionalized racism comes out clearly from the fact that the sample size for this research included Black and Latino youths. The lesser number of White Youths in the juvenile system is not an indication of reduced criminal tendencies in Whites, but the fact that due to the privileges and sanctions they are provided, a lesser number of Whites are convicted. Tilton was allowed to conduct this workshop on racism, just because she chose to focus on the differences between Brown and Black people (Tilton, p.293). If it involved white people, the plan wouldn’t have been approved. The classes conducted by Tilton focussed on Routes and not Roots to evoke an awareness among the juvenile youths, regarding their similarities (Tilton, p.293). The passage in which their ancestors came to the country and their struggles of assimilating, showcased a common ground. The fact that the system refuses to showcase this common ground between White and People of Color through their actions or planned classes like these proves that this disbelief is not inauthentic and that there is truth in these suspicions. The concluding findings of this research prove that differences cause agitation, and some would find it preferable to not talk about it, but accepting the disparity is the first step to showing reliability. Through reliability, it is possible to begin the process of rebuilding trust.
The disbelief is also a result of a lack of initiative taken by the predominantly white authorities to bring about a fundamental change. As pointed out by the paper ‘Systemic Racism: Big, Black, mad and Dangerous in the criminal justice system’ written by Julian M. Rucker, Ajua Duker & Jennifer A. Richeson, there are several rampant racist principles present in the ‘justice system’ that have not been amended, because of how it aids the privileged (Rucker, p.2). Incarcerations as proven by statistics have harmed people of color the most, with many of them getting denied the facility of post-trial DNA analysis. Even then there has not been any major opposition on a nationwide level against it, since the policymakers, predominantly white do not find their communities affected by it. Moreover, it also firmly keeps their sense of superiority intact. Structural Racism is evidenced by the stringent requirements that need to be fulfilled to vote (Rucker, p.4). These requirements have a tremendous amount of impact on people of color but not so much on the native white. Such instances of displayed unwillingness further weakens the confidence of minorities in the system.
Along with the amendments to racially insensitive laws, the authorities should also contribute to improving the devastating effects the original law has had on minorities. Laws like Redlining rendered minorities in a state where they were unable to recover from their dire situation. Redlining encouraged segregation. The areas that consisted of a majority of minorities lacked facilities, but more importantly were denied services that could have improved their state, such as loans (Jan, p.2). The easiest way of improving the economic state is by owning homes but minorities were unable to do so because they couldn’t acquire the funds. Hence the privileged got richer while the economically repressed saw their situation dwindling, even more. Even after fifty years of banning, the devastating effects of redlining prevail. This sustained disparity increases the strain on the relationship between authorities and minorities.
The disbelief that minorities have in the justice system is a topic that should be handled with brevity. America is the land of opportunities. It stands on the pillars constructed by immigrants. Minorities deserve to have the right to live their life with dignity in their country. Justice System originated to impart fairness to all sects of society. It was developed as a measure to safeguard the vulnerable from exploitation. The present state of the system is failing heavily in this regard. For the system to earn respect from the perspective of minorities, it needs to reflect equity, in its actions and principles. The actions need to be regular so that minorities can feel a visible difference. The minorities are willing to have a sense of belief as it is a naturalistic instinct, but for that to happen, the visible initiative must occur, for the years of accumulated suspicion to get suspended. These actions can be undertaken properly if the authorities inculcate minorities in decision-making positions. Nobody can understand the cumulative effect of policies on minorities as a community better than themselves. They should have the chance to get into those decision-making positions and bring about positive change. This can inculcate positivity in the relationship between authorities and People of Color. Positivity is necessary for the survival of the human race. As our history showcases suppression can never obtain a good outcome. Sooner or later it will bring out violent repercussions that could spell doom for the entire civilization. The authorities need to show more openness and liability. They need to incorporate acceptance in their attitude. They must accept their wrongdoings, and make the minorities feel heard. There is a tendency in the authorities to reject or reprimand the feelings of minorities. This causes more disorientation and distress. There is an urgent need for reconciliation facilitated with compromise. For that to happen the white natives need to part with their superiority and privilege. The justice system in America is essentially made to benefit the privileged, and for that to break down, the privileged need to part from the benefits of their own volition. The ingrained racism of the laws and policies needs to be removed and redacted to foster trust with minorities. The minorities through their labor continue to contribute towards the functioning of the country. They should be able to live in their own country with the belief that its system will protect them.
Goodall, Jane. In the Forests of Gombe. Orion, 2018
Harari, Yuval Noah. “Why Humans Run the World by Yuval Noah Harari at TED (Transcript).” The Singju Post, 18 Apr. 2020, https://singjupost.com/why-humans-run-the-world-by-yuval-noah-harari-at-ted-transcript/.
Jan, Tracy. “Redlining was banned 50 years ago. It’s still hurting minorities today.” Washington Post, 28 Mar. 2018. Gale Academic OneFile, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A532577309/AONE?u=seat92874&sid=bookmark-AONE&xid=8f74ec8c. Accessed 18 Mar. 2022.
Mitchell, Joni. “Both Sides Now – Lyrics.” Joni Mitchell, https://jonimitchell.com/music/song.cfm?id=83.
Rucker, Julian, Ajua Duker, and Jennifer Richeson. “Structurally unjust: How lay beliefs about racism relate to perceptions of and responses to racial inequality in criminal justice.” (2019).
Shermer, Michael. Why Do We Believe In Unbelievable Things? TED, Jan. 2014, https://www.npr.org/2014/06/20/321798967/why-do-we-believe-in-unbelievable-things
Tilton, Jennifer. “Race, rage and emotional suspects: Ideologies of social mobility confront the racial contours of mass incarceration.” Children & Society 34.4 (2020): 291-304.