#JusticeSystemSoWhite: A Critique of White Privilege in the U.S. Justice System

Via studentrightsalliance.org
Via studentrightsalliance.org
I’m pretty sure everyone by now has heard the story of convicted rapist (I’m not saying “former swimmer”) Brock Turner. If you haven’t then I’ll explain it. Brock Turner was a swimmer at Stanford University who raped a 23 year-old woman who, for the sake of her privacy , is named Emily Doe. The incident occurred last January when Turner was caught sexually assaulting Doe behind a dumpster after a fraternity party. After being tackled by two civilians passing by, and then subsequently arrested, he was convicted on three counts of felony sexual assault. Can you guess how long his sentence is? Was it the eight to nine years, which is the average for sexual assult ? Not even close. This crumbled pillar of society was sentenced to six months in prison. The judge who sentenced him was worried a longer sentence would “have a negative impact on him.” What’s even more sad than the blatant disregard for human empathy in this trial, is the fact that I’m not surprised about the verdict. He’s from a well off white family so why would I be?

The American justice system is broken and has let a lot of innocent people and victims fall through the cracks. From women, to minorities, and even children; the justice system has destroyed lives for the sake of maintaining privilege. What’s amazing is that no one seems to say anything about it. This article is going to discuss not only racial bias in the justice system, but the negative impact it has on the people that it affects. The case of  Turner is just one of many examples white privilege which is prevelent in the U.S. justice system.

Now I could write several articles on subjects like police brutality against blacks, but I’m going to get really specific for the sake of this article. Let’s compare the crime of Brock Turner and a black person who was convicted of a crime. Let’s look at the story of Kalief Brower. Kalief Brower was accused of stealing a backpack at the age of 16 and was sent to Rikers Island for three years, two of which were in solitary confinement. He was also never put on trial for the crime he was accused of. The key word being accused as he was never formally put on trial. Brower was robbed of his sixth amendment right to a fair trial at the age when most teens are just getting their driver’s license.

Via Twitter
Via Twitter
What does Brower think of his entire ordeal? We won’t know because he killed himself last June. This story received massive media coverage yet no effort was taken in trying to fix a system that broke the very constitutional law it abides by. Yet Brock Turner was not even given a year for rape. This is a prime example of institutional racism in the American justice system. If you’re white and a man then it’s innocent until proven guilty, but if you have melanin in your system then it’s guilty until proven innocent. It’s already bad enough that blacks make up almost half of the American prison population and that the incarceration rate for blacks is six times greater than that of whites. Kalief Brower didn’t hurt anyone, he wasn’t even legally an adult when he was sent to Rikers. Turner is a criminal; point, blank, period. He violated not only the law, but violated the innocence, and took advantage of a young woman just looking to have fun. Why is it that a black kid growing up in the Bronx is illegally sent to jail, but a rich white boy is allowed to get off easy? Here’s Turner’s mugshot by the way.
Here's his mugshot by the way (via boingboing.net)
Via boingboing.net



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