Wednesday, September 21, 2011
9/21/11: THE WORLD MUST SIT BACK AND WATCH TODAY AS AMERICA ADMINISTERS ITS PECULIAR FORM OF JUSTICE
9/21/11: THE WORLD MUST SIT BACK AND WATCH TODAY AS AMERICA ADMINISTERS ITS PECULIAR FORM OF JUSTICE.
Today is the day on which Mr. Troy Davis will be unjustly executed by the State of Georgia, for a crime in which he claims his innocence. He was convicted August 18, 1989 for the alleged murder of a Savannah, Georgia police officer, Mark MacPhail. Davis was later sentenced to death in 1991. Interesting enough, seven out of the nine eye witnesses who testified at Davis’ 1989 trial, have since recanted their testimonies’, clearly indicating against Davis’ alleged involvement in the murder of officer MacPhail. Throughout various attempts to appeal his sentence of death, Davis’ plea to the justice system had fallen on deaf ears. However his cries and agony had reached the general public. His story has become one of international appearance. Furthermore, rights advocacy groups such as the NAACP and Amnesty International have also become involved in ameliorating Davis from the harsh grips of the American Criminal Injustice System, notwithstanding the “failure” of their grand work, the general public and advocacy groups continue to be intimately involved within Davis’ case.
However, what most do not seem to understand, is that this day marks yet another day within the great American tragedy. A tragedy that is not new to those who have been long victims of the American Criminal Injustice System—Black Americans! Today the millions of post-antebellum Blacks around America and the millions more throughout the world, will have to experience a sight and feeling that is all too familiar to their forbearers, the witnessing of the system decapitating one of their own. The institution of slavery, which once existed in a de jure manner, and continues to exist today, but only in a de facto manner, readily gave whites the instant right to mistreat Blacks without having to fear retribution on the behalf of the justice system. As a result of slavery, a peculiar form of social norms and control had developed which would later grow and even advance into contemporary times. Feagin (2010) calls this the White Racial Framing, which is the maintaining of white control within a developed or developing Eurocentric society. In such a society white can do no wrong, since everything is modeled after whites, in pursuit of maintaining control and dominance on every level in society. When one attempts to connect the tragedy of Davis to the tragedy of lynching that wrecked the nation years ago, one cannot help but to notice a correlation—the outright disrespect of the Black body, the condemnation of Blackness, and thus the utter complete failure of America to protect and embrace all of her citizens equally. Only one thing is clear in this situation and that is its subtext, “Black life doesn’t count”. This is clearly the governing ideology that is the cause of the ways in which the Criminal Injustice System administers justice (e.g., disparities in incarceration/death penalty; police brutality and murders of Black men; and also reentry). Tonry (2010), in his book titled, Punishing Race, attempts to recollect historical and contemporary trends of incarceration rates to showcase how blatant racism is present within the criminal justice system. Racism within the Criminal Injustice System can be found in the ways in which law enforcement facilities its operations (targeting); within policy; and within the court, all of which are evidenced by the rates of incarceration which clearly paints a vivid picture of racial disparity, which seems all too familiar when reflecting back to the great American tragedy. Alexander (2009) asserted that there are more Black men in prison now than were enslaved back in 1850. Therefore, what we have is the return of the slavery, just under a new paradigm, and Feagin (2010) would have us to remember that white supremacy always has a way of adapting and progressing to the changes of time if society is not clear at identifying and stopping it.
I only hope that today will mark a new day in America where folk of all colors and backgrounds will call order to the American Criminal Injustice System. Our justice system as it currently exists is one of an archaic nature, which can only be found and used in an uncivilized society. To continue using the current system would be nothing more than implicating this nation as inferior when it comes to administering justice equally and humanely. The usage of the death penalty alone is a grave offense against humanity. Who and what gives someone the right to take another’s life, even in instances where justice must be served; I ask again who gives the state the right to commence death onto anyone? To my international friends, this is a snapshot of the American of justice, which is a representation of our argon culture. It is a culture of archaic illustration, a culture drowned in misery and insanity. America has a culture that claims to be pro life while simultaneously being anti life. Parenti (2004) spoke of a certain type of arrogance held by some Americans. He attempted to describe a form of ethnocentrism inhabited by Americans that most of the world follow and believe; most notably that America is the land of the free and the beacon of equality. With that, I give my international friends one good piece of advice today, dare not be blinded by American arrogance any longer. Look at this nation critically from here on out and notice how history has a way of repeating itself. Notice that freedom, equality, and equal protection did not come forthrightly with MLK and the host of others who fought for it. Recognize that America is still a nation of psychopathic tendencies, a nation in deep trouble, unable to form a conscience, a nation where race still matters. My condolences go out to the Davis’. Feel free to share this note, everyone has my permission.
-Copyrighted, Jason Williams (2011)
Alexander, M. (2009). The New Jim Crow Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindedness . NY: The New Press .
Feagin, J. R. (2010). The white racial frame: centuries of racial framing and counter-framing. NY: Routledge .
Parenti, M. (2004). Superpatriotism. NY: City Lights Books .
Tonry, M. (2010). Punishing Race. NY: Oxford University Press.