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