Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Rule of Law

When it comes to the rule of law conservatives will fight hard to ensure that this concept is enforced. But In the criminal justice system, blacks, Latinos, and the working poor are criminalized. Those who disagree with this premise, will simply state that these individuals have choices in which they can either choose to commit a crime or obey the rule of law. The problem with this notion is that it blatantly ignores the root of the issue that continue to effect lower level people on a daily basis. For example, Jim Crow was a popular law that was enacted by the ruling class, representing those who are not black. Since blacks had no say in the political process in America up until the 1960’s, they were bound to the laws that oppressed them. Therefore any morally sound person would reject Jim Crow laws, and agree that they were far from equal. It has been decades since these laws have been ousted, but today poor people still suffer from an institutionalized racism from the ruling power.

In inner cities in America young Black and Latino kids share a strong culture and style that is not understood or looked down upon by society. If they were part of a ruling class, their culture would be considered an ideal example to follow. But since they lack the privilege of the ruling class they are considered thugs, and labeled as criminals. These individuals are then alienated by society and forced to form close bonds to those whom are similar to themselves. In order for the ruling class to maintain their power, strict laws and policies are enforced to ensure that the chances of improvement for these people are slim to none. In addition, statistics are created which further enforce the notion that people of color are nothing more than savages and criminals who need to be incarcerated, to maintain a civil society. When one doesn’t have the economical power to better their own situation they fall victim to the systems laws, which were created by a dominate group; using the dominate groups beliefs, to benefit the dominate group. Blacks defiantly do not benefit from these laws since they are the highest in number of those incarcerated. Whites do benefit from these laws since their incarceration numbers are a lot lower than black incarceration numbers.

The rule of law debate is interchangeable. When a poor person steals something from a grocery store to satisfy their hunger, this action is looked upon as a crime. But, when a police officer murders a suspect their actions are looked upon as heroic. If the police officer can be spared by the rule of law, how come the hungry man cannot? This example only proves that the law is set to benefit those with some sort of political or economic power. When Oscar Grant, was assassinated in Cold blood in the streets of Oakland; the officer who shot him in the back was charged with murder. Similar to the Rodney King Trial in Los Angeles, the officer’s defense attorney plans to relocate the trial so he can face a jury in a whiter jurisdiction. The officers’ in the Rodney King trial evaded conviction by receiving a convenient change of venue. The officers’ political power allowed them to escape justice, even though they were clearly guilty. The Oscar Grant trial is still underway, but if the officer who killed him gets acquitted, this will only prove that those with political or economic power benefit from the criminal justice system. The rule of law is the rule of law, murder is murder, but when it apply to those whom are apart of the majority, exceptions are granted.

Capitalism creates a system of classism and racism that leaves the oppressed powerless. The criminalization of these people, are justified by the laws that they are bound to. Since they lack the political power to change these laws they will continue to be victimized. Black communities like Rosewood Florida, were self sufficient communities until they were destroyed by racist whites, who faced no repercussions from the law. It is no different today, a poor person can only get ahead so much until it is revealed to them who they really are. The rule of law only protects those with elite status, and criminalizes those who cannot protect themselves from the ruling power.

No comments:

Post a Comment