The police in America have a duty to enforce the law impartially, but too often they fail to do so. The United States is like any other country in that crime is bound to occur. The only difference is that the prison population in the U.S. primarily consists of minorities, which reflects the bias in policing. The average person would think that since the United States is a predominantly white country that the jails would reflect that, but that simply isn’t true. This isn’t conceivable in America when whites are more likely to commit various criminal acts than their minority counterparts. The police should enforce laws equitably across racial lines.
The unjust policing in America leads to the arrest of minorities disproportionately in comparison to white people. According to the NAACP Criminal Fact Sheet, in the U.S. African Americans represent 12 percent of the total population of drug users, but 38 percent of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59 percent of those in state prison for a drug offense. This shows that police departments aren’t enforcing the law equitably. If they were, they would go after the people who are most likely to possess these illegal contrabands.
African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a nonviolent drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). It’s apparent that the justice system is directly targeting minorities in order to enslave them instead of working towards rehabilitation for prisoners. If modern U.S. jails were actually used to rehabilitate and policing became unbiased then, according to Unlocking America today’s prison and jail populations would decline by approximately 50 percent.
The bias filled policing the in the U.S. has led to police using deadly force more against minorities than against their white counterparts. According to Mapping Police Violence, black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people. This stems from the preconceived notions that police officers have about minorities but also just from clear cut racism. This racism becomes ever so apparent when minorities see how police can de-escalate encounters with whites nonviolently, but they can only deem a bullet as the practical way to defuse situations when it involves African-Americans. This type of policing has led to the black community having little to no confidence in the police to do their job without leaving a trail blood of an African American behind them. The fear that parents now have for their black children is no longer the fear that their child might be kidnapped, but that they’ll be killed in cold blood by the people who are suppose to protect them.
The argument that the police are just trying to do their job to the best of their ability when in high pressure situations and when they are not in them is an invalid one. If police were trying to do their job as well as they could, they would go after the individuals who are most prone to commit certain crimes, they wouldn’t shoot minorities first and ask questions later, they wouldn’t watch as the number of people of color in prisons steadily increases. If equity in law enforcement is going to occur, police departments across the nation need to accept the problem for what it is and make it a priority to work with officers on race relations. The police cannot continue to kill minorities and not be reprimanded just because they don’t value the lives of people of color.
The enforcement of the law by the country’s officials needs to be enforced on the basis of the crime and not on the color of a person’s skin. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”