The justice system has been a perennial concern for African-Americans. This worry stems from the blatant disparities that have plagued the system. In any society, the justice system is a critical institution because of the role that it plays in keeping order. In this country, a number of white Americans and those who are tasked to maintain order tend to perceive African Americans, particularly black males, as potential lawbreakers. This perception has been used as a justification to implement many policies — widespread use of racial profiling by law enforcement and disparity in sentencing for drug offenses — that greatly harm African Americans. Despite many white Americans’ fear of black violence, African-Americans have never been in a position to actually take action that would create havoc in white communities. For the African-American community, the reverse has always been true. Because of the way that they are viewed and targeted, African-Americans, especially black males, should be concerned for their safety or their well-being, not their white counterparts.

The link between blackness and criminality has deep historical roots in the country. As pointed out by Khalid Muhammad in his book The Condemnation of Blackness, the notion that blacks have a propensity for criminality was established in the 19th century. The connection, therefore, between blackness and criminality has been embedded into the consciousness of white Americans for over a century.

There has never been a shortage of violence committed against African Americans ever since the first slave ship arrived on American shores. This violence resulted in the deaths and subjugation of millions of people. In some parts of the country, many black males were lynched. Even worse, those lynchings were a social event. None of these terrifying acts of violence was perpetrated by people of color. So it’s logical to ask, why are African Americans the only group that is carrying the burden of criminality in America, despite being the victims and not the perpetrators of the most atrocious acts of violence that took place in the country’s history?

Criminalizing Blackness: Why Whites Commit Crimes, But Blacks Are Criminals (via odinsblog)