Module 5: Justice & Racial Inequality

Module 5: Justice & Racial Inequality.

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1- Redinling: Essay for Evaluation

“Redlining” refers to any practice by a government or private entity that denies goods or services to a population on a discriminatory basis. While it can include health care and basic community services, it is often associated with discrimination in banking and housing. The term gets its name from a practice by banks in the 1960’s in which lenders would post a map with a “red line” drawn around neighborhoods they refused to invest in on the basis of who lived there, with race being the primary influence.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 made redlining illegal, but the practice has continued to be the subject of court cases, including the 2016 cases, Bank of America v. City of Miami and Wells Fargo & Co. v. City of Miami. Read more about redlining and these cases here:

A forgotten history of how the US government segregated America

Redlining’s Legacy: The maps are gone but the problem hasn’t disappeared

Bank of America v. City of Miami

Fair Housing Act

For this assignment, read the following essay by Shaan Patel:

Past/Present of Segregated Miami

Answer the following in at least a paragraph:

To what does Patel attribute past and current segregation in Miami-Dade County? Discuss. Have you noticed the existing segregation in this area? If so, how has this affected you? If not, what is your reaction to Patel’s characterization of segregation in this area? Finally, what do you think is the future of demographics in Miami-Dade County? Discuss your views fully.

2- Racial Profiing: Reflection Log

“Racial profiling” is the use of race or ethnicity in determining whether someone has committed an offense. A few cases of racial profiling that have received widespread attention in the last few years can be read about here:

Starbucks just the latest accused of racial profiling

Is racial profiling illegal? In Florida, yes, but not in every state:

State-by-state racial profiling laws Source: National Organization ...

One notorious example of racial profiling is the “stop-and-frisk” policy of New York City that steadily increased from 2002 to 2013. Read more about the policy here:

“I got tired of hunting black and Hispanic people”

Stop-and-frisk data

NYPD is disbanding a unit that is the last chapter of stop-and-frisk

For this assignment, consider the materials above and read about the experiences of people who were subject to the stop-and-frisk policy in NYC here:

6 people describe being stopped and frisked when Bloomberg was mayor of NYC

Answer the following in at least a paragraph:

What is “racial profiling?” How does the “stop-and-frisk” policy in New York City utilize racial profiling? What percentage of people who are stopped and frisked are innocent? Choose one story from the 6 offered in the VICE News article above that stands out to you. What happened in this case? What does it suggest to you about the stop-and-frisk policy? Discuss fully in at least a paragraph.

3- Death Penalty Discriminates Against Black Crime Victims: Short Essay

The death penalty is a subject that is ripe for discussion in an ethical issues class. It typically comes second only to the environment in terms of topics students enjoy discussing in face-to-face classes. There are dozens of ways it can be approached, here are just a few of them:

– What reasons can be offered to justify the death penalty? Is it about crime prevention? Retribution? Fairness?

– If the death penalty is justified, what are the specifics of cases that warrant it?

– Is it ever wrong not to administer the death penalty?

– Is the death penalty in a state morally acceptable if it puts innocent people to death?

– Does the death penalty damage the moral character of the states that impose it? Does it damage the moral or psychological character of individuals that actually administer it?

– Should the death penalty be administered publicly?

– What constitutes administration of the death penalty so that it does not violate the 8th Amendment to the US Constitution? (prevents cruel and unusual punishment)

– As it is currently administered, does the death penalty violate the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution? (guarantees equal protection under the law)

If you are interested in the constitutional issues related to the death penalty, this is an exceptional panel discussion from the National Constitution Center’s 2016 Bill of Rights Day Book Festival:

Death Penalty and the Constitution

Here is an excellent short discussion from a West Virginia University campus talk on ethical issues surrounding the death penalty from one of their philosophy professors:

Dr. Jessica Wolfendale: What are the moral costs of the death penalty?

For a more thorough account of philosophical issues related to the death penalty, you can review the entries on this subject from the leading online encyclopedias of philosophy:

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Capital Punishment

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Legal Punishment

For this assignment, you will be considering the question of whether the death penalty, as it is currently administered, violates the 14th Amendment. It is known that individuals of minority races are much more likely to be sentenced to death than their white counterparts. It is also known that the race of the victim of a capital offense impacts whether or not the perpetrator is sentenced to death – with the death penalty being far more likely if the victim is white.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has created a short and easy to read document that complies the relevant data:

ACLU Death Penalty Campaign: Race and the Death Penalty

For a more extensive review of the data, you can check out these sources:

Race and Punishment: Racial Perceptions of Crime and Support for Punitive Policies

Capital Punishment in Context: Race and the Death Penalty

Essay 1 in your text is the USA Today article, Death Penalty Discriminates Against Black Crime Victims. After reviewing the information provided here and reading the article, write a short essay (about 250 words) that answers the following questions:

What decision did the Supreme Court make about the death penalty in 1972? What decision did it make in 1976? What claim does the USA Today article make about these decisions? What evidence is presented in the article to support this claim? What punishment does the article suggest is a better alternative to the death penalty? Do you agree with the article that this is actually a better alternative? Why or why not? Discuss your answer fully.

You are not required to reference any outside sources for this essay. If you do, please be sure to cite them to avoid plagiarism.

(Since the article is only attributed to USA Today, you can refer to it in your own essay as “the USA Today essay” or “the USA Today article.” Where you might use an author’s name in your own essay, you can just say “USA Today.”)

Module 5: Justice & Racial Inequality

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