The focal point I choose from the book Black and White by Paul Volponi is the school to prison pipeline. The school to prison pipeline is a metaphor for the zero tolerance policy schools have implemented into their system. The result to this policy is more kids of color are getting in legal trouble, which in turn pushes them towards imprisonment. From Wikipedia “The disciplinary policies and practices that create an environment for the United States school-to-prison link to occur disproportionately affect Latino and Black students which is later reflected in the rates of incarceration. Between 1999 and 2007, the percentage of black students being suspended has increased by twelve percent, while the percentage of white students being suspended has declined since the implementation of zero tolerance policies”(Wikipedia 2017). This shows how the system is flawed and how it’s creating a bias between different races.

In the book Black and White by Paul Volponi 2 characters to bring up this topic, X and Marcus’s mom. He likes to mock Eddie for the crime he has committed and how he won’t be punished as harsh as his best friend marcus just because he’s white. X says “‘The only thing in your favor is the dude who got shot is black. Maybe the judge won’t give a damn, unless the judge is black, too’”(X 78). X brings up this point because it is known that Blacks get harsher sentences just because of their skin tone and that hopefully it won’t be as harsh because it is a Black on Black crime. X also brings up “Eddie might be at the DA’s office working out a deal for himself”(111). This idea X brings up is trying to show how there’s a bias for White people and they have it easier.

The dynamic in this text seems to be true in our community. Based off this New York Times article by The Editorial Board “Decades of research have shown that the criminal courts sentence black defendants more harshly than whites… African-American defendants get more time behind bars — sometimes twice the prison terms of whites with identical criminal histories — when they commit the same crimes under identical circumstances. It also shows how bias on the part of individual judges and prosecutors drives sentencing inequity”(The Editorial Board 2016). They give statistics from Florida that shows Blacks got 178 more days behind bars for robbery and that Blacks in 60 percent of felony cases, 68 percent of serious, first-degree crimes and 45 percent of burglaries, and in third-degree felony cases 20 percent more prison time than white defendants. These statistics portray the bias of race in our court systems and how our system needs to be altered in such a way that gives more equality.

Board, The Editorial. “Unequal Sentences for Blacks and Whites.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 17 Dec. 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/12/17/opinion/sunday/unequal-sentences-for-blacks-and-whites.html.

 

“School-to-Prison Pipeline.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Oct. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School-to-prison_pipeline.

 

Paul Volponi. Black and White. Penguin Group, 2005, 345 Hudson street, New York, New York 10014, USA

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CC BY-SA 4.0 School to Prison Pipeline by AJBOHS is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

2 Comments
  1. Melissa 1 week ago

    AjBOHS,
    I think the topic you choose to focus on is very interesting and creative. I would be careful when quoting wikipedia both because of its low reliability and the stigma against it. you can find the primary sources at the bottom of the wikipedia page that will give you the same information from a more reputable source. I think it is very true that zero tolerance polices lead to greater problems than the ones they intend to solve and I think you do a good job of demonstrating the severity of the issue using quotes and statistics. I am curious how governmental polices in school and on communities affect the school to prison pipe line. id love to read on how No Child left Behind and the War on Drugs affect these students. Thank you for your lovely article, i look forward to reading more from you.
    – Melissa Fang

  2. Zachary 2 weeks ago

    AJBOHS,

    You brought up some interesting points in this post. Though I believe some of your points to be anecdotal, especially since they are from a fiction book, I do believe that you have brought up a good point: there is, at least to a degree, racial bias in the American justice system. This can likely be attributed to the relatively recent times when African-Americans were targeted for their race on a daily basis, in the heyday of racism back in the early-to-late 1900s. However, times have changed quite a bit since then; I believe that society as a whole has much improved its inter-societal racial relations (or it least it did until relatively recently, as far as I can tell). Times have changed even since the times of the report which you mentioned; a decade has passed since 2007, and I would be interested to see how the numbers have shifted since then, if at all.

    Thank you very much for presenting this. I have not read this book, but this topic as a whole is one by which I am fascinated. I appreciate that you took the time to write this; here’s to a hope to an end of racism as a whole.

    Sincerely,

    -Zachary

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