The national news often highlights cases of alleged discrimination in the courtroom, and there are many laws forbidding it; yet, not many of us can say we’ve witnessed outside of newspapers and TV reports. For that reason, the mention of courtroom discrimination is often dismissed with skepticism and the implication that some of the victims of discrimination are “playing the race card” to get ahead.
However, racial and cultural discrimination and stereotyping do, in fact, occur quite frequently in the courtroom and in other parts of the justice system.
Social Bias and Past Programming
According to a representative at Nashville, Tennessee Law (www.nashvilletnlaw.com), most of the judges and jury members who commit the crime of discrimination in the courtroom are not aware that they are breaking the law or doing something wrong. In a way, they’ve been conditioned to think a certain way about minorities and anyone below the middle class.
Only a half century ago discrimination was the norm; therefore, some remnant of that period would still be evident in the opinions and actions of an older and more racially conflicted generation. Sadly, it’s not necessarily the discriminator’s current interaction with, or opinion of, the person they’re discriminating against; it’s more so their upbringing and preconceived notions that incite these often unprovoked acts of racially fueled unfairness in the courtroom. However, action must take place against such thinking.
Justifying Discrimination by Quoting “Cultural Tendencies” and “Statistics”
Many discriminators will rarely consider themselves “racist” even though they may be blatantly unfair and harsh to a person of color or someone or who can’t afford to pay fees and fines. Many times, their line of thinking is “if these people aren’t severely punished, then they’ll never learn their lesson.” You’ll commonly hear the excuse that “since minorities commit the majority of crimes, we have a right to stereotype them.” Such justifications are almost always the precursor to acts of discrimination in and out of the courtroom. Unfortunately, most of these incidents are never discovered or discussed because the person being discriminated against is often intimidated by harsher sentencing and punishments.
Previous Generation Still in Power
As mentioned, it wasn’t that long ago that the judges and jury themselves or their parents were allowed to freely discriminate as they’d like during a period when segregation was not only acceptable but considered part of the law. Therefore, many of the older generation are still operating in a retro pre-civil rights mindset, because that’s how they were raised during the development of their personalities. With that understood, it’s easy to assume that it could take another 50 or so years before we see a significant reduction in racism and other forms of discrimination against ethnic groups.
When Will It Stop?
Experts in the field of genetics estimate that within only a few hundred years, the various races of humans that currently exist will have interbred so extensively that the majority of the population will be mixed-race polyhybrids with a moderately tanned to light brown skin tone. In such an environment, there would no longer be a specific minority or ethnic group to place blame on.