Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Treatment of Prisoners

Michelle and Kendra Brenya
Dr, Bergman
Modern U.S History

We agree with Moras belief. The claim being made by United States suggests that since the prisoners are not being held on American Soil, they are not subject to its laws and rights. However, if two individuals; one a us citizens and one a non us citizens commit a crime, the U.S implies that the non U.S citizens is more punishable even through the same crime was committed. In reality, the treatment a mass murderer in the U.S receives  should be no different than the punishment a mass murderer not born in the U,S would receive. Also, it is unfair for the United States to continue to treat foreign prisoners inhumanely , while also demanding that their soldiers be treated more “kindly” when held in captivity. In addition, The United States makes a claim that some of the protections of the Geneva Convention because these prisoners are not “prisoners of war”. What the  United states fails to remember is the use of detention Camps  and the   “War of Terror Era began as an effort to fight against terrorism. Therefore should make individuals captured prisoners of war and subject to the protection of the Geneva Convention.

Currently, our government holds all the power when it comes to the treatment of the prisoners. We trust that our elected leaders are making the right decisions, but to what extent? Leaked information suggest that prisoners are often mocked, deprived of resources such as water, sometimes refused the right to relieve themselves properly and tempted by females. This is not only cruel but very unnecessary. We believe that interrogation should be used on all prisoners whether the individual has evidence to back them or not. However, extreme methods such as waterboarding should be used if and only if there is sufficient information and evidence that a certain individual has done something wrong or holds valuable information. It is very important to continue to maintain a level of professionalism inside the camps also and cease an frivolous forms of cruelty. With that being said, we conclude that the power of deciding how  prisoners are treated should be left up to responsible, trustworthy, highly ranked military personnel, being stationed at the various camps. They should be already educated on the terms of the Geneva Convention, while also making sure only appropriate behavior is being practiced. They would also have to oversee the other guards and military members to make sure that their behaviors comply. These individuals should be equipped with the common sense to know how far is far enough when it comes to interrogation process,to ensure that they aren't putting the prisoners at any potential risk.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Racial Predjudice vs. Goverment Decison

Like Judge Murphy, I disagree with the claim that racial prejudice did not play a role in the  government's treatment of the Japanese American during World War II. Firstly to deem a whole race as dangerous because of the actions of a few is in fact a form a racism. A lot of the Japanese Americans who were isolated in interment camps were born in America. In Korematsu's case, he was born in Oakland, which made him a full  fledged american, making him subject to the governments protection which he did not receive. The decision on May 9th that would exclude all Japanese persons of Japanese decent was an infringement of american rights all because the government claimed it did not have the "time" to try each individual to see if they had possible ties to the Japanese government. Like Judge Murphy stated, the exclusion order was the governments own way of "legalizing discrimination."
As history usually repeats itself, we saw how after the 9/11 terror attacks in New York, americans became very on edge and quickly started to generalize all Muslims as potential terrorist. Fast Forward 15 years, our newly elected President recently set a  travel ban (which was thankfully stricken) on certain countries out in the middle east to prevent people who were potential terrorist into the country. This travel ban affected so many innocent individuals who had no affiliation to terror relations. Families were temporarily unable to see each other and profossers could not get back into their classrooms. This once again proves that within our government, or leaders often use their racist agenda to unfairly govern the people. 

Korematsu vs. United States (1944)

It is agreed that the number one responsibility of the government it to protect its people, but at what cost? Korematsu, and all other Japanese americans were subject to being put into a internment camp following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, with fear of their possible allegiance to the Japanese military and government. In addition to being placed in internment camps, Japanese-Americans also had strict curfews in place by the American government that had to be followed. All these measures that had been taken were done in an effort to fulfill the government's main priority: Protection of the American people. With that being said, I firmly believe that The U.S government failed to properly find the balance between the needs of national security and the rights of citizens. To begin, by removing Japanese Americans from their respective environments and isolating and over crowding them into camps is a violation of not only their American rights, but their human rights. This also brought the issue of defining who is considered "American". This decision affirmed that to be truly "American" you had to be of some Anglo-Saxon decent. At this same time, America was still living in the Jim Crow era, in which blacks were deemed "separate but equal" although we know the  equality bit  was not very evident. The whole Japanese race had to suffer because of the potential threat that a small amount of the population was expected to cause.  Although I respect the efforts made, If the government is going to protect its people, it must look out for, protect, advocate, and fairly treat ALL members not just the ones that look like them. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The New Jim Crow

          Close your eyes and imagine a world in which blacks are constantly being targeted and profiled for nothing other than color of their skin. Unfortunately, the world I had you imagine just now is the world that we currently live in. As mentioned in my previous blog post, for every step we move forward we regress, or as Michelle Alexander puts it, we experience “a profound sense of deja vu” (Alexander). Jim Crow which can be dated back post slavery, manifest itself again in this era only now taking up a new form: mass incarceration. Under the “first” Jim Crow blacks were forced to live in a world where they were told that they were “equal” to whites but were expected to be “separated’ with living conditions that were way worse than whites. Bathrooms, schools, busses were not fairly available to blacks as they were to whites. Despite the successful efforts by leaders of the Civil Right movements like Dr. King, the mass incarceration epidemic in America is gradually pulling us back into a part of history that we strive everyday to stay away from. Like Jim Crow, mass incarceration was created in order to maintain the racial hierarchy established so many years ago.

           We have see the rates of blacks incarceration skyrocket within the last decade. Sadly this type of discrimination has not only been institutionalized by our government but also legalized considering that we now live in the age of “colorblindness” and it is our government leaders and officials that are often found bringing their racist ideals into the workplace. According to the NAACP, African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population and are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites” (NAACP). In today's society, blacks are guilty until proven innocent while whites are unsurprisingly innocent until proven guilty. With this unjust system of incarceration comes grave misfortunes for the black community. The high rate of black incarceration and media portrayal of blacks in relation to crime has allowed the stereotypes that attribute blacks with criminality to remain prevalent. Perhaps one of the reasons black individuals are being arrested in rates that are unfathomable may be a way like mentioned earlier, to to maintain the racial hierarchy in which the white community stays dominant. In order to prevent the black community from rising, we rather suppress them leaving them helpless and hopeless. We have somehow managed to make mass incarceration our “New Jim Crow”.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Age of Colorblindness

The age of colorblindness is what Michelle Alexander argues is the day and age in which we live in today. Throughout history, and as I've discussed in my recent blog posts, our government has been designed to enforce racial caste, and the fourteenth amendment (which promises equal protection and due process under the law) has failed Black Americans and other immigrants alike. The term color blindness suggests that race has played no role in our justice system, but Michelle Alexander proves otherwise. Alexander states that "Although the majority of illegal drug users and dealers nationwide are white, three-fourths of all people imprisoned for drug offenses have been black or Latino"(Alexander, 2). The War on Drugs is a major component of "colorblindness" that was supposed to get drugs of the street but only led to the mass incarceration of blacks. Edward Clary, an eighteen-year-old individual, was stopped at an airport simply because he "looked like a drug courier" (Alexander, 5). This raises the important question, what does a drug courier look like? Apart from being black, what other features did Edward have that caused for his arrest? Unfortunately for Edward, the first time he ever had drugs on his person, he was stopped. Edward and many others constantly face this type of profiling daily, Constantly being failed by a system that says it vows to protect all citizens as well as promising fairness in all aspects of the law. The term color blindness also serves as a mask for the inequalities of our justice system.

      One of the biggest problems that individuals face today when dealing with the justice system is that there is no true way to prove that judges, jurors, and prosecutors are working with their racist beliefs. As Michelle Alexander states, "prosecutors are well aware that the exercise of their discretion is unchecked, provided no explicitly racist remarks are made." (Alexander, 6). As a result the system continues to leave blacks helpless and hopeless. Edward Clary was ordered to serve a minimum 10 year sentence for his drug possession. Clary' s judge, who was black, fought back and ordered that racial discrimination played a huge role in Clary's indictment. The case was appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals but no "credible" evidence was found to prove that there were racial motives. Clary was ordered back to jail to finish serving his sentence leaving his wife and kids and disrupting his life that he was trying to build back.  "All Lives Matter" as a response to Black lives matter has also contributed to the age of colorblindness. Black Lives Matter which was created to bring more awareness on police brutality toward black people was by no means demeaning the lives of other races which is the argument many individuals will make today. It is universally known that blacks are treated worse in the eyes of the law. In order to mask this reality, All lives matter was created. The age of colorblindness proclaims that the Criminal justice system does not see race and only seeks fair justice, but from what is observed, race may be only thing it sees.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Law and Order

How did conservative "law and order" rhetoric provide a new racial bribe to low- and lower-middle class whites? How did this wedge impact the Democratic Party?

"Law and order" in America was another attempt to criminalizes and incarcerate African Americans under the presidencies of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and later Bill Clinton. At first glance, the rhetoric of "law and order" seems like a step in a positive direction and way of our leaders taking control of a country who elected them. In reality, "law and order" was a way in which political leaders and presidents could target a group of people (in this case blacks Americans), criminalize and incarcerate them. Many will argue that these individuals were criminals and deserved to be locked up, but it is evident race played a huge factor.

"Law and Order" ultimately gave way to a new racial bribe. Reagan, building most of his campaign on "law and order," appealed mostly to whites because they were beginning to feel threatened by the advancements blacks were  making in society. Originally, the democratic party was full of conservatives which is contrary to what we know today. Due to the Democratic Party's support for the Civil rights movement, a lot of the White population became infuriated. As a result, a large portion of the Democratic party joined Regan and his campaign and adopting the old Democratic ways. Whites were receiving privileges and were constantly being reminded of their superiority. This was made evident through the Anti Drug Abuse Act of 1986. Blacks were serving harsher sentences for distributing crack, while white individuals would serve less Severe punishments and jail time for the distribution of cocaine. You may be asking yourself why two individuals with two different complexions would be serving different sentences for ultimately the same crime. Unfortunately this is the reality many convicted individuals face today in American society.

Monday, February 6, 2017

History that repeats

With every step forward that we take, we also take two steps back. This is the pattern that America has seemed to have adopted over the course of history. We often find ourselves not learning from our mistakes, but rather repeating them. With the end of slavery came the rise of tenant farming, which incorporated similar aspects that slavery once had. During Reconstruction, African Americans were starting to gain respect, political power, and "voices" in their communities. In response, the KKK successfully started a campaign later named the "Redemption" to strike down this progress. Unfortunately the system that had promised equal protection under the law "no longer made any effort to enforce federal civil rights legislation" (Alexander) leaving blacks "once again, virtually defenseless" (Alexander). Blacks were being convicted of crimes in rates as high as ever while serving long sentences. In addition, vagrancy laws which allowed for the arrest of individuals (usually black) to be subject to arrest if they were found wandering or showing signs of homelessness. These laws once again established another system of forced labor -- resembling slavery. 

We take another step forward in history with the death of Jim Crow. The 1940s brought big changes and decisions. Brown vs Board of Education abolished segregation in the public school systems. Also in Smith v. Allwright, Supreme courts abolished the use of all-white primary elections. Just as things were looking up, we once again find ourselves battling with the members of the KKK who are so against racial equality. This time around the "powerful terrorist organization" (Alexander) proceeded to committing castrations, killings and senseless bombings of black homes and churches. In 1963, President Kennedy and his successor President Johnson proclaimed their commitment to fully assimilate 20 million blacks into American life. Once again we've taken positive steps during the Civil Rights movement. This era brought about increased percentages in the number of black people allowed to vote.  We see voting percentages among blacks skyrocket from 6.7% to 66.5% in states like Mississippi. The Civil rights movement successfully brought more awareness and help to the black communities. "Jim Crow eventually replaced slavery, but now it too had died, it *is* unclear what might take its place (Alexander 5). Since the Civil rights movement, America has been inching its way in the positive direction, with still a long way to go.