“We Need to Talk about Injustice”
The discussion focuses on Brayan Stevenson talk about injustice in his ted talk shows. In the show, the primary objective of his debate includes the criminal justice system in the United States of America. More specific are the issues such as death penalty, incarcerated children, poverty and other issues affecting the society. In his ted talk show titled “We Need to Talk about Injustice” Bryan Stevenson argues that criminal justice system in the country treats the rich and guilty much better treatment compared to poor and innocent citizens. Bryan Stevenson’s who is a lawyer by profession view is that the system is designed to work against the poor, discriminate against the blacks and incarceration of mentally disturbed people are hidden in the unexamined history of the country. The stunning racial discrimination and mass incarceration of people in the American justice system is a significant threat to the country’s identity and thus call the Americans to address the issue before it gets out of hand.
Who is Bryan Stevenson?
Before delving into the issues discussed by Brayan, it is essential to understand who he is and his roles in the society. Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer by profession whose career is dedicated to solving the issues faced by the poor in the community, and those condemned and incarcerated. Besides, he is the founder Equal Justice Initiative based in Alabama and also serves as the executive director. Stevenson has spent significant time in courts advocating for matters relating to the incarceration of children in jails and prisons and people put on death row as well as those concerning racism in the justice system.
During his career, he has won many legal challenges especially those associated with unfair and excessive sentencing. Others include vindicating innocent prisoners put on death row by the courts and confronting incarcerated and abuse of mentally ill prisoners. Further, his focus has been on fighting Social vices such as racial discrimination and poverty as practiced in the American criminal justice system. Due to his dedication and effort, he has received 14 honorary doctorate degrees and MacArthur fellowship award amongst others.
In this section, the focus is Brayan’s delivered in his ted talk show titled “We Need to Talk about Injustice” specifically poverty, racial injustice, incarceration of children and death penalty. Over the years, the system has fundamentally rotten and now in a terrible state. He uses statistics to explain the exponential growth of mass incarceration. In 1972, only 300,000 people were incarcerated by the justice system, but currently, the number has blossomed to about 2.3 million people. Compared to other countries, U.S. has the highest number in the world. In his case, he argues that the issues of mass incarceration have grown to an extraordinary and unpredictable level concerning racial profiling. For instance, there are about 50-60% (about seven million) young men of color serving times in prison, jail while others are on parole.
Therefore, according to the statistics above, the level of incarceration is too high for the country and reached a staggering rate never seen in the history of the country and the world. The hard fact is that America’s justice system shows an imbalance along racial lines where about a third of the country’s black population especially males are imprisoned at some point in their lives. However, the issues are swept under the carpet, unexamined and one of the rarely talked subject despite a clear insight of the real picture. Poverty compounds the problem of race among the particular population in the country. And the American justice system has no place for poor people.
Brayan is quoted saying how the system is distorted against the poor. In this case, the rich and guilty get a better treatment compared to the poor innocent in the country. Thus, wealth and poverty and not the liability of an individual shape the outcomes in the justice system. These issues are less focused upon, and the politics surrounding it has made it extremely uncomfortable to discuss problems of race and poverty. For example, in the state of Alabama, the convicted people of color lose the right to vote and thus become completely disenfranchised felons. The number translated to about 34% of African American in the territories of Alabama. In the next decades to come, the number is projected to increase because the society is not ready to talk about the issues and address them.
Death Penalty and Children Incarceration
There are other stunning action from our justice system concerning incarceration of children and committing them to a death sentence. The United States is a country where thirteen years old children are sent to jail to die there. Children are convicted to life imprisonment, and yet the society is mostly silent about it. Also, the state does not offer an opportunity for parle among these children to change their behavior. Brayan asks a fundamental question about the death penalty. “Do people deserve to die for the crimes they’ve committed?” or “Do we deserve to kill?” he argues that about 11 percent of criminals put on death row are innocent and some released because the system ruling is founded on error.
Because it is a death sentence issue, he explains that such statistic should never exist in such a sector. In his analysis in virtually all states in the Old South, black are twice likely to be put in a death row compared to white. To bring the seriousness of this issue, he uses an analogy in the aviation industry when 1 out of ten planes that fly crash. In such a case, the industry would not allow this to happen because it will be termed as an industry of death. He the justice system allows this to happen and people are silent about it. He points out that, a white defendant is 11 times likely to face life imprisonment compared to a black convict who is 22 times to face the death penalty. On matters of the death penalty, the country consciously and systematically executes human being by their color. In the discussion, he uses a nation like Germany to create an image of how the country would be if convicts were systematically executed based on their proportion of their race.
Solving these challenges
These themes discussed by Stevenson focuses on our identity and how we can address the issues. He points out that the society is silent and not comfortable to talk about these issues. This is because we don’t view the items as our problem, our burden and worth the attention. But there is a better way to solving the issues and challenges we face as a society. We thus need to have an identity of being attentive to things that dazzle us. As such, we need to have hope, commitment and orientation of dealing with issues such as oppression, racial injustice, mass incarceration and avoid having a disconnect with these issues. Similarly, this is what happen things we love like, innovation, ideas, and creativity. In this case, there can be no technology without creativity and that our heart inspires these things. This is the same vigor we need to deal with the problems.
In conclusion, Brayan Stevenson talk about injustice in his ted talk shows titled “We Need to Talk about Injustice” reveals the fundamental roots in the American justice system. The criminal justice system in the country divides the population between rich and poor. The treatment of both the rich and poor is disproportionate and favors the former in the context of outcomes. Besides, the system openly discriminates against the blacks and further engages in the incarceration of children without parole. Throughout his presentation, he employs statistics and example to explain how stunning the actions are. In his findings, blacks in the country are more likely to get death sentence compared to white. More than any other country, more children are put into prison among other challenges. All these he argues threatens American identity and call for the society to address.
“We Need to Talk about Injustice”