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    Mass Incarceration Of African Americans Essay

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    Many people claim that racism no longer exists; however, the minorities’ struggle with injustice is ubiquitous. Since there is a mass incarceration of African Americans, it is believed that African Americans are the cause of the severe increase of crimes.

    This belief has been sent out implicitly by the ruling class through the media. The media send out coded messages that are framed in abstract neutral language that play on white resentment that targets minorities. Disproportionate arrest is the result of racial disparities in the criminal justice system rather than disproportion in offenders. The disparities in the sentencing procedure are ascribed to racial discrimination. Because police officers are also biased, people of color are more likely to be investigated than whites. Police officers practice racial profiling to arrest African Americans under situations when they would not arrest white suspects, and they are more likely to stop African Americans and see them as suspicious (Alexander 150-176).

    In the “Anything Can Happen With Police Around”: Urban Youth Evaluate Strategies of Surveillance in Public Places,” Michelle Fine and her comrades were inspired to conduct a survey over one of the major social issues – how authority figures use a person’s racial identity as a key factor in determining how to enforce laws and how the surveillance is problematic in public space. Fine believes it is critical to draw attention to the reality in why African Americans are being arrested at a much higher rate. This article reflects the ongoing racial issue by focusing on the injustice in treatment by police officers and the youth of color who are victims. This article is successful in being persuasive about the ongoing racial issue by presenting an effective argument through various strategies. In the beginning of the article, Fine used the existing survey reports to support and justify their purpose to perform this survey to strengthen her persuasion.

    The survey analyzed urban youth’s interactions with authority figures, comprising police, educators, and security guards. This study surveyed 911 New York City urban youth over their experiences with, attitudes toward, and trust of surveillance (Fine 143). Furthermore, telephone interviews were conducted with 36 youth who have experienced severe, negative interactions with police, security guards, or educators. The reports indicate that urban youth proclaim a strong sense of faithlessness and mistrust by adults. Based on the survey reports, although there were about the same rate of African Americans, Latinos, and Whites stopped by the police, there were relatively more youth of color being arrested by the police. Overall, youth of color are more likely to report these adverse attitudes toward authority figures.

    The data demonstrates that among different races, ethnicities, and genders, youth report highly negative interactions with and mistrust in authority figures. Her argument is strengthened by this evidence. The reports validate that African-Americans and Latino juveniles have the highest rates of negative interactions and mistrust of the police and feel unsafe in their surroundings. The young men mention that there is not much they can do to prevent this injustice and biased treatment, and social profiling is unavoidable. The young men are more likely than the young women to have negative interactions with the police. Nevertheless, there is a high percentage of young women who encounter sexual harassment and abusive language by police.

    Numerous youth of color mention that the impact of negative interactions with those in authority is to make them feel unwelcome in public sites. Youth who attend small schools report trust in adults and they are more likely to depend on adults for assistance. The main audience of this article is those in positions of authority and who structure the public surveillance. The tone is informative and persuasive. Fine attempted to intensify her persuasion by referring to the previous studies done by other scholars.

    In this article the main supporter and reinforcer of the authors’ persuasion is the use of the data and the survey that was done qualitatively and quantitatively. Data quality is very important when analyzing how accurate the information is. There are many things to consider when conducting surveys, including data collection method, question wording, format and accuracy of the obtained information. Survey studies should produce valid and reliable data. Although her method is effective, the number of the interviewees is not enough to credit her standpoint.

    There are accurate aspects of this survey since they conducted a stratified random sample of ethnic backgrounds. Bias happens when the survey sample does not accurately represent the population. Since they conduct the survey over the five boroughs in New York City, the population is generalized for type of youth and type of location. The way questions were framed is considerably neutral. However, there are several things that they should put into consideration: if they were to conduct the survey numerous times, how often would they anticipate to get similar outcomes or the stability of the responses’since surveys generally involve people’s opinions, respondents may withhold the reality thus not everything is certainly true. Whether information is communicated orally or visually and how respondents interpret these questions can influence how they respond.

    Random error may result from those who guessed the responses. In this article, interviewers approached the respondents by asking them to rate a list of questions using different rating scales. Random error could also happen when people accidentally select a response that they did not intend to choose. Although data were collected in the 2000s and the topic is still relevant in the modern society, information might be out of date: new statistics should be considered, and the question of whether time will reduce racial and ethnic prejudice should be taken into account. Since the percentage of African Americans and Latinos in her studies is 75%, the other racial populations may be underrepresented (Fine 146). In my opinion, the percentage of Asian Americans involved in this survey is underrepresented.

    This advocates that a further investigation is needed. Last year I attended a conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center to discuss youth’s interactions with authority figures among youth with residence in Philadelphia from different ethnic backgrounds. I met and heard the stories from the witnesses and victims of the incident that happened in South Philadelphia High School. On December 3, 2009, at South Philadelphia High School, Asian immigrant students were the targets of racially charged attacks.

    Wei Chen, who was a senior at the time said “I saw the one student, his whole T-shirt [was bloody] because his nose is broken. ” Students received nearly no help from the school staff, although many of them had initially asked for protection. By the end of the school day, 30 Asian immigrant students had been physically attacked, and 13 of them went to the hospital for treatment. Based on my personal experience, it is obvious that racial discrimination also happened to Asian Americans; however, this article does not mention Asian American studies in depth. This could be one of the drawbacks of the persuasiveness of her argument.

    Overall, this article is successful in being persuasive about the prolonged racial profiling by presenting relatively effective date derived from a series of surveys. This study demonstrates that racial issue is still relevant to the contemporary society and tries to prevent the unjust treatment by the police. Furthermore, my personal observation also comes to a conclusion that racial issue is still an ongoing issue which back up Fine’s argument. The public often stereotypes low-income youth of color as uneducated, lazy, lacking good family values, unintelligent, unmotivated, etc. .

    However, poverty among minorities in the United States is not the result of individuals, but rather is the result of structural, social issues that contribute to the poverty. New York City has some of the worst aspects of the American city when it comes to racial issues. In New York City, people of color have been unconsciously marginalized. Although federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, race, and national origin, the public policies and urban developers favor the mass of the affluent class.

    Those who were born into a poor family are less likely to overcome their low social status. The affluent classes are attempting to keep minorities locked into an impoverished political and economic position by using strategies such as discrimination and social profiling. Highly visible examples of black success are essential to the preservation of a racial caste system. Black successor stories provide a belief that anyone, racial identity can be disregarded, can make the best of their lives, if they try hard enough. These stories attempt to demonstrate that race is no longer pertinent. Whereas these stories are actually reinforcing the system of injustice.

    Those in position of authority use social profiling and “zero tolerance policies” as a primary tool for enforcing traditional discrimination. In theory, public space welcomes everyone; however, the power structures existed in the society demonstrate a social trend where wealthy people and Caucasians move more freely in public space than minorities. According to this article, youth of color are facing exclusion and barriers to participate in workplace, school, and society, and they are at risk of being marginalized. This may potentially lead up to an avoidable serious racial issue in the future. Those in authority should take further action to ensure that children are protected from racial profiling.

    Works CitedAlexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York: New, 2010. Print. Fine, Michelle, et al. ““Anything Can Happen With Police Around”: Urban Youth Evaluate Strategies Of Surveillance In Public Places.

    ” Journal Of Social Issues 59. 1 (2003): 141-158. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.

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