Application of the Death Penalty Essay

The Death penalty is essential for justice to prevail in society. However, the application of the death penalty has been criticized for being discriminatory in that some races are perceived to be favored over others. The majority in American society are of white descent. The justice system has been accused of being lenient towards the whites while the minorities of color are treated harshly with many being sentenced to death especially if their victim is white. The whites who murder the minorities of race are on many occasions apprehended and rarely is the death penalty imposed on them. The death penalty has thus been surrounded by the controversy of racial disparity, discrediting the justice system.

Introduction and Hypothesis

The concept of race has been a persistent issue in the history of America and many other countries. However, is it true that racial disparity has been employed in the sensitive issue of serving justice, by delivering death sentences mainly to the minorities? Racial disparity began even before the slavery epoch with the native inhabitants of America being brutally abused and marginalized. With slavery, racial disparity became even more pronounced and widespread. African Americans were viewed as lesser human beings without any human rights. Racism was institutionalized with all members of the society agreeing to the idea that the white race was superior to all other races. The conception of the idea of a white race was also in an effort to deter the poor people of Caucasian descent from joining forces with the blacks in advocating for their rights. The concept of Negro was also abused to portray subjugation and inferiority. The death penalty application, in the contemporary modern justice system, continues to be based on race. The race of the offender and the race of the victim have been observed to be subjective in the delivery of the death penalty. People of color especially African Americans and Hispanics are sentenced to the death penalty than any more other race.

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Historical Background

The history of America shows that African Americans mainly came to the Americas through the . Right from their capture in Africa, they were treated as beasts, being hunted down in Africa, with those resisting capture executed on the spot. Those who killed these people back in Africa never faced any charges as it was accepted as legal to kill slaves. Impunity was thus thriving right from the slave capturing. On their way to the Americas, they were packed like the cargo of goods in inhumane conditions that resulted in many deaths in the ocean. The dead bodies were thrown into the sea without any consideration. It is quite clear they were not treated as animals than as human beings. Those delegated with the mandate of transporting these slaves are said to have enjoyed throwing living people into the ocean and enjoying sharks feeding on them. Sharks had become accustomed to obtaining food from the slave ships and thus there were numerous sharks around these ships. Those who committed these atrocities were never charged.

In plantation slavery, slaves had no rights whatsoever. Their fate was fully in the hands of their masters, with the laws recognizing that killing a slave was not an offense. The slave owners were, therefore, free to kill slaves without any legal consequences. Many slaves lost their lives through the inhumane slavery conditions while their masters murdered others. The killing of black people had therefore come to be a usual and accepted phenomenon. After the Civil War, slavery was abolished and all black people were pronounced free. However, atrocities towards , a white extremist group, was known to hunt down , burning and destroying their property and finally murdering them. The also facilitated the extrajudicial killing of African Americans, others being lynched. Many of the whites accused of killing African Americans either were released on lack of sufficient evidence or never arrested.

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