Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Impute crime to color

By 1883 Frederick Douglass had already written about the stigma in which criminalized the man of color. I knew that people of color were often used as scapegoats for criminal activity, but I was under the impression that it was only in terms of simply throwing around accusations in which the accuser wasn’t allowed to fight back (in terms of the law). By no means did I realize that there were “upstanding”, white citizens who actually painted their faces darker shades in order to make it seem as if they were a person of color who was committing the crime. I don’t know if instances like this were made public but I feel like if they were they would combat the perceived idea that people of color were more likely to lean towards a ‘life of crime’ versus white people.

A great example of how the idea of color is transcribed into a focal point for crime and criminal activity are ‘routine’ traffic stops. The rate at which people of color are stopped (and given some type of violation) in comparison to white people is outstanding; this signifies they idea that our society has come to believe that there is something inherent about people of color in which causes them to commit traffic crimes (as well as other types of criminal violations) at a higher and more frequent rate than white’s. Obviously this idea is outrageous. There is absolutely nothing predisposition about any one type of person that would cause their racial group as a whole to be more prone to criminal activity. This idea of translating crime into a color issue really seems to be the heart of what Angela Davis is speaking to. Though each of the chapters has a specific topic, they all rotate around the same idea of the links in how race and more specifically, color play an impacting role on the likelihood of incarceration.

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