Racial Discrimination Criminal Justice System Essays

Racial Discrimination Criminal Justice System Essays-45
Bourdieu highlights how the state of dominator/dominated is not only generated by economic capital (the fact of having at one's disposition a certain amount of material goods), but also by the availability of other forms of capital: "cultural capital" and "social capital".Cultural capital is the body of knowledge (as well as the material goods related to culture) that an individual possesses, partly through acquisition and partly through inheritance.

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The color-blindness principle is therefore compatible with the end of the racial segregation system.

It stipulates that institutions remain blind to a citizen's skin color and ethnic origin.

I will then attempt to use the two notions (color-blindness and structural discrimination) to interpret a specific social reality: that of United States and European prison systems.

Neil Gotanda has analyzed the principle of color-blindness in connection with the constitutional history of the United States. Ferguson decision of 1896, in which the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Southern states' racial segregation system according to the principle that whites and blacks were equal but separate.

Board of Education I decision had held racial segregation to be unconstitutional.

In the Court's view, the 1896 decision had failed to consider the racist character of segregation, which was based on the belief in the inferiority of blacks; yet the color-blindness principle was to be maintained.

In Brazil, for instance, in states such as Paraíba, legislation has been passed to make it easier for blacks to go to university - legislation that is based on the individual option of belonging to the "black race ".

The notion of "structural discrimination" is usually used in contrast to that of "voluntary discrimination".

Another concept that is demolished by the notion of "race as culture" is that of the existence of "pure races": if "race" is "culture", then the pluralism of "races/cultures" cannot but lead to a mixed-race society, since cultures are not cages into which individuals are locked up once and for all, but "contaminate" one another and are in constant evolution.

This idea, which at first glance might appear abstract and artificial, originates instead from observation of the current dynamics in many contemporary societies, from that of the United States to European and South American ones.


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