Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

DAVIS: Racial Bias Impedes Justice

It has been over a year since the murder of Trayvon Martin, theFloridian teenage boy who was gunned down by George Zimmerman. The case drew national attention, especially in regard to Florida’s stand your ground law, which permits a person to use force for self-defense when there is belief of a threat. According to Zimmerman, Martin looked suspicious and threatening, which justified Zimmerman’s decision to pull the trigger. In Zimmerman’s view, the law permitted Martin’s murder.

People across the country wondered what was suspicious about Martin. Was it the pack of Skittles or Arizona Iced Tea he was carrying? Perhaps it was his hoodie? Or maybe it was what he had in common with the late Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo: the color of his skin.

Disappointingly, in this day and age, discriminatory treatment goes beyond untimely deaths. For every senseless homicide of an innocent boy, there are countless black and Hispanic men stopped and frisked by law enforcement in cities like New York, New Orleans and Baltimore. As noted by Hillary Crosley of The Root in her article “Stop and Frisk Across America,” in New York, about 89 percent of people stopped and frisked are black or Hispanic, while a mere 10 percent are white. This is not to say all of those stopped were criminals, but it does explain why one in three black men go to jail: They have an unfair disadvantage.

Discriminatory laws do not only affect people of a certain color but also those whose cultures, customs and religions deviate from those of mainstream America. For example, the Patriot Act was implemented in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. While at the time this may have sounded reasonable to a country that was shaken to its core, it unintentionally promoted widespread discrimination against Middle-Eastern people and Muslims.

These statistics demonstrate that race and ethnicity are tied to these disparities. Clearly not all black or Hispanic men are more liable to commit crimes than their white counterparts and not every Muslim is in cahoots with Al Qaeda, but inequitable practices in American law enforcement senselessly fling stigmas on groups of people. These laws perpetuate discrimination across the country.

CNN reporter John King’s misleading news description of a suspect in last week’s Boston bombings as a “dark-skinned male” thwarted progress in finding the suspects and outraged people across the country. In his article in The Root “Describing a Suspect: A Few Tips for Mr. King,” Michael E. Ross condemns King, describing how “in a breathless, misguided attempt to break significant news, one of CNN’s top dogs did nothing more than give the already nervous people of Boston a pretext for considering every dark-skinned male they encountered in the days to come to be a suspect in Monday’s violence. To go by King’s broad description, the man who won the marathon was a suspect himself.” Though not every described suspect is innocent, we as a nation need a way to weed out the guilty without relying on race or culture.

Khadijah Davis is a sophomore in the School of Nursing & Health Studies. This is the final appearance of THE ETHNICITY OF FEMININITY this semester.davis

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