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The Criminal Justice System in the U.S.

Second class status has been considered the rightful and appropriate place in society for blacks. The Supreme Court affirmed the lack of equality, for black citizens, in its decision in 1896 in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson (Carter 191). Separate but equal was the decision. In much of society, this is still the unwritten rule. Blacks are forced to prove that there has been intentional discrimination before any legal remedy can be applied.

The Civil Rights Act passed in 1964, and was effective in 1965, was supposed to rectify the unequal treatment of black individuals. It just served to drive the discrimination underground. On the surface, blacks were admitted as members of society. They could eat at restaurants, go the theater, use the rest rooms, and ride the bus. But a law cannot change a person's belief, or society's covert behavior. As blacks pressed for significant changes in society, majority resistance, to considering and treating black individuals as equals, was strengthened and conservative ideology became more dominant (Carter 291).

Blacks are discriminated against by the larger majority for two main reasons: they are black, and they are often poor. The justice system discriminates against both groups. When a person is poor and black, it is two strikes against the person, not just one. If a person is rich and white, the justice system favors that person with preferential t


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