Du bubois and the death penalty blog 5


The death penalty has been known to evoke strong emotions in people whether they are in favor of justice being served or in outrage of killing a fellow human being. In reading Dubois’ writings on race, I think he pinpointed the problems exactly. African Americans do not struggle because they are inferior, rather they see only certain goals to attain. Because society pushes them down, and has for centuries, racism clouds the minds of even the minorities brainwashing them to thinking that they can achieve less.

We can see this in many areas, the percentage of blacks and whites getting arrested fro crimes far outweighs the reality. If only 12.6 percent of the United States is African American but over half of all criminals in the United States are black, there is a problem. The problem is that as a country, the United States is racist. SInce this is the case, capital punishment is seen as a racist constitution by some.

In an study conducted by Duke University, African Americans are three times more likely to be sentenced to the death penalty. This means that although the U.S. claims to be treating those that go through the legal system fairly, they are not. This came to national attention recently with the execution of Troy Davis in Atlanta, GA. Although many were claiming that evidence was false and that he was innocent, he was executed for a crime he may have not even committed. Public outcry over this injustice was mostly felt by those with African American backgrounds. Not only was he most likely found to be wrongly guilty and assigned to death row because of his race, but no one would step in to stop his execution. Many felt that his death occurred because of his race and were moved to action because of it.

Troy Davis’ story is similar to many in America’s prisons. Like Dubois said, African Americans are still trying to overcome society’s negative branding of them as a people group. Until they are held down no longer, they will continue to struggle .



One response to “Du bubois and the death penalty blog 5

  1. Indeed, the death penalty, its history, and the emotional response it evokes in the public, as you note, simply can’t be adequately explained without attention to race and racism. Many insist that the execution of Troy Davis is just the most recent example. This case was also interesting in terms of the public mobilization around it, which went global — I heard there were some 300 protests worldwide.

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