The process of briefly detaining, interviewing, and searching people in the streets for guns and other contrabands is known as stopping and frisking. It’s known as terry top in other parts of the United States. Criminal procedure law allows for this practice. It would not be a novel idea, as in the 1980s, if a cop had reason not to suspect anyone, he would pull over and question him.
This legislation has aided in the detection and prevention of May crimes while also being used negatively to racially profile American citizens. The rule must be applied consistently, because if it is applied selectively, it will be biased.
In the book New Jim Crow, the author talks about the failures of color-blindness.The idea in a presumption is that all people are treated equally by law but not on the basis of race, and indeed the law is enacted in a way that makes it look like this is the case. But in a real sense, the law is applied selectively (Bartlett, Carson, and Bennett). The sentencing, for instance of the blacks, is much harsher than that given to whites, the media too does not try to get the correct picture and pick one side of the story that blacks are known for adequately committing criminal acts, and this further cultivates the racial profiling. Here we see the media doing the opposite of the role of media in any country. This makes it easy for the law breaks to do their act knowing that the blacks will carry the burden at the end of the day.
The selectiveness in applying the law and presumption only leads to further division in the society and even conflict between law enforcing agency and the civilians. Obviously this leads to stereotyping the lousy relations between the police and the race being profiled.
Noticeably be the government to be blamed for this law of stopping and frisking and not the law enforcement agency. The government is always for the people, to the people, and by the people. By that, it means the government should be all inclusive and serve the interests of every American citizen regardless of race or color of the skin (Tibbs 209). And hence one of the responsibilities of a government is to make sure that the laws passed are going to be applied uniformly. In the book- the New Jim Crow we are shown the legislative as the branch of the government which spearheads the acting of the severe crime laws. The conservative politicians spearhead the enactment of the tough on crime and law and order. A more in-depth look at these laws shows you that the only targeted group is a particular race and that is the blacks (Walker 845). Whereas the media also assist them in spreading the baseless rumor that the blacks are criminals and violent, the enforcement is motivated by racism nonetheless. This has failed the citizens and has relegated the blacks to second-class status through their punitive laws and persecutions. And when the criminal justice system becomes unfair it gives possession for manipulation and biases. The government fails, by all means, to bring equality and uniform consideration before the law and even during stopping and frisking. The law enforcement acts racially.
In perspective, this stop and frisk law is practically and purely racist and fails to address and reduce the cases of robbery, burglary or other crimes. The police continuously fail to apply the reasonable suspicion rules when making stops instead stops you from your race (Pérez, Lindsay, and Solorzano 297). And even the rampant stops that result in no determination of wrongdoing raise the question of whether police officers are constitutionally adhering to the requirement of the reasonable doubt of stop and frisk.
The ignorance and denial also are to be blamed for sustaining this law even when it is conspicuously applied selectively. The most well-meaning citizens and even the lawyers give a blind eye and dont confront this law even though it affects people during the day. They do not stand up and condemn this denial of civil rights and liberty. And we do not want to think we are part of the problem and we dont make any sacrifice for change (Stopford, Annie, and Llewellyn 379). This is somehow selfish when we think that the problem is not affecting us whereas our brothers neighbors and friends are affected by this law on a daily basis. Furthermore, the relentless media coverage of the black people as criminals together with the color blindness of the of the legal system makes one believe that black people are just criminals violent drug barons and that there is no racial bias going on(Bell 165). This makes one think that it would be of help to enact a law that the media should not air false coverage and in any case, they should give two sides of the story without taking sides and being racial.
Colorblindness is also to blame for presuming the law is being applied uniformly which is just but a semblance. There is also an assumption that people are being treated equally regardless of race. This leaves a gap for the police to racial profiling, and even the judiciary gives a harsher sentence to black people than the whites (Sule et al. 1-2). The anti-drug laws and regulations like mandatory minimums are set in a way that targets the black and since the media and the government have united against the blacks that they are associated with all the bad things that break the law. This leads to racial profiling that starts the whole process.
The inadequacy of current civil rights movements is visible in all this mess. They tend to ignore their primary responsibilities as well as the real problems and always focus on not so famous battles like the affirmative action. By this, they become part of the problem since the whole world assumes they everything is just okay. They focus on legal, not on moral battles (Sule et al. 2). Most of the time the civil rights movement are working on cosmetic diversity in affirmative action and not the change you and me are yearning for. They have turned to fight in formal battles and not real battles and are seen to have shifted their attention to moral crisis merely to destroy the current racial problem.
Also, lying, manipulation, deception, and obfuscation by the government, the civil society, and the media fertilize the whole racial profiling in the name of stop and frisk law. The war on drugs, actual crimes rates, and drug usage statistics, in the beginning, are being ignored in favor of planting fear and tensions. The police are being manipulated to go after the black people. The prosecutors to exercise colorblindness as the media promote false stereotypes.
The politicians are also lying to the Americans come to fruition because all this are aided by denial and willful ignorance of the well-meaning American people.
History also has played a significant role in all this mess. The profiling of the races in the stopping and frisking program is well based on the notion that the black race which is most affected is inferior, violent and criminals.
While one would agree with the significant violation of civil rights when stop and frisk are being practiced, one wonders whether the cops are our brothers, neighbors or even friends. And is it true that the blacks are violent criminals and drug barons? Then if all this dont have answers or are answer dont we have a better way as a society to deal with all these messes? The stop and frisk in itself are not unfair, but the racial profiling that comes with it makes the latter so unfair. The fact that the civil rights have abandoned their role of advocating for real change and just society has led us here. Were it that the society has time to listen to the real issues affecting it and support for better and appropriate changes everything would have been good(Sule et al. 3). Change is always inevitable, but at the same time, it needs an agent. The politicians are no longer concerned about the well being of an ordinary citizen, and whether the law affects one group and favors the other, they dont care. The civil rights movements are no longer a movement, but a business entity and while all these are happening one tend to ask that, where are the churches to advocate for fearfulness and wonderful creation of every human being and in the image of God (Maynard 710). And if the profiling of a black race had a tangible reason is it practically possible that all the people of the black race were criminals and violent?
It is essential to go for after real change, and this requires more effort and more discomfort than normalcy because the aim is to break the pattern of history and avoid replacing mass incarceration with something more insidious. The cause of all the problems in the society is the society itself.
Bartlett, Carson, and Taylor Bennett. “Fueling the New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration & Racial Bias.” Philology 9 (2017).
Bell, Marcus. “Criminalization of Blackness: Systemic Racism and the Reproduction of Racial Inequality in the US Criminal Justice System.” Systemic Racism. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2017. 163-183.
Maynard-Moody, Steven. “Punishing the Poor.” Social Service Review 90.4 (2016): 709-721.
Pérez Huber, Lindsay, and Daniel G. Solorzano. “Racial microaggressions as a tool for critical race research.” Race Ethnicity and Education 18.3 (2015): 297-320.
Stopford, Annie, and Llewellyn Smith. “Mass incarceration and the new Jim Crow: An interview with Michelle Alexander.” Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society 19.4 (2014): 379-391.
Sule, Ejim, et al. “The past does matter: a nursing perspective on post traumatic slave syndrome (PTSS).” Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities (2017): 1-5.
Tibbs, Donald F. “Hip Hop and the New Jim Crow: Rap Music’s Insight on Mass Incarceration.” U. Md. LJ Race, Religion, Gender & Class 15 (2015): 209.
Walker, Anders. “The New Jim Crow-Recovering the Progressive Origins of Mass Incarceration.” Hastings Const. LQ 41 (2013): 845.