Thoughts on the Criminalization of People of Color in America
Criminalization […] is “the process by which behaviors and individuals are transformed into crime and criminals”. Wikipedia
Not a day has gone by lately that I don’t see multiple examples online of the effects of the criminalization of people of color in America.
I did NOT grow up understanding this and I don’t know how to help.
In formal academically published theory, the real ruling class of a society reaches a temporary view on whether certain acts or behavior are harmful [Ed: to the ruling class] or criminal. Wikipedia (Emphasis added)
I’m thankful for the Seeing White podcast for the work they did which really open my eyes into how the legal and legislative process has been used consistently in America to redefine people of color as a criminal class – we cannot see Black and brown Americans as individuals anymore, we only see them through the lens of criminality.
This process produces an explanation and excuse in the minds of the ruling class for any and all injustices against minorities and lower classes: they deserve it, as members of the criminal class, and it enables the excusing of members of the ruling class (“Well, it’s not like he’s a criminal”).
I grew up a literal WASP and I’m ashamed of so many things I thought over the years. Worse, I can still recognize these deeply ingrained patterns in my own mind, even as I struggle to flip the script in my head.