Over the course of the past couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to highlight several injustices that are embedded in the United States’ legal system. These injustices have had an astoundingly negative impact on society as a whole, and on minorities in particular. Out of the injustices that I have had the chance to go into detail about. One that has stood out to me due to its extremely negative effects on the African-American and Latino communities is the current United States’ prison system. Furthermore, I believe that this injustice can be related to the Master-Slave Dialectic that we have talked about in class over the course of the semester.
One of the main issues with the current prison system is how the majority of incarcerated people are those who live in lower income neighborhoods and have less access to resources. Furthermore, the majority of people who are targeted and eventually jailed happen to be minorities. This is even more of an issue when you realize how small of a percentage these people make up in terms of the general population of the country and world, compared to what percentage of the prison population they make up. An example of this is African-Americans. According to the NAACP Black people account for less than 15% of the U.S. population but account for almost 35% of the prison population. To make matters worse, according to the Washington Post the United States accounts for less than 5% of the entire world’s population, but accounts for over 20% of the world’s prison population. The United States was supposedly built on the principle of freedom, but somehow manages to lock up so many of its citizens without providing them with any form of rehabilitation.
With that being said, I also believe that this injustice is applicable to the Master-Slave Dialectic. This concept, which was developed by George Hegel, revolves around the principle that the Master dictates what the Slave sees and perceives to be true. Furthermore, this concept is prevalent in terms of the current U.S. System because of the government, in this case the Master dictates what the Slave, in this case minorities living in poorer communities, perceives to be true by controlling what resources and information they have access to. By controlling and limiting the resources these people are exposed to, they are funneling the people in these communities straight from high school into prisons, which is very unfortunate. People in these communities need access to the same resources and opportunities as everyone else and I feel like this can hopefully restructure the prison system.
Lee, Michelle. “Does the United States Really Have 5 Percent of the World’s Population and One Quarter of the World’s Prisoners?” The Washington Post, WP Company, 15 Aug. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/04/30/does-the-united-states-really-have-five-percent-of-worlds-population-and-one-quarter-of-the-worlds-prisoners/.
“Criminal Justice Fact Sheet.” NAACP, 10 July 2020, www.naacp.org/criminal-justice-fact-sheet/.