Historical, Psychological and Social Perspective To Racial Injustice - Essay Sample

Published: 2021-07-09
1347 words
5 pages
12 min to read
Vanderbilt University
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Throughout history, racism has been discussed from different perspectives, but mostly revolves around the social factors or issues are the root causes of the menace. However, the scholarly explanation is currently emerging on psychology and how it has been responsible for the historical legacy of racism. For instance, psychology explains that the brain's mechanism is responsible for turning good behaviors into bad ones while at the same time, sociology explains how circumstances in the society lead people into evil acts (). However, the current system and its policy interventions to address crime and violence have failed to consider the psychological factors in social vices. Hence, for this discussion, it develops a Filling-The-Gap model to help understand that the historical legacy of racism is both historical psychology and social implications on people that explain why historical racial injustices have influenced the current system through the war on drugs. Besides, it explores how the failure of the system to understand how psychology and social history are responsible for the social vices in the society.

To begin the discussion on the historical legacy of racism, it is imperative to point out the extent of historical racial injustice. One of the elements justifying the existence of past injustices is racial profiling (DeVerteuil 874). The implication is that individual communities are profiled as more prone to crime, drug dealings and violence and the police sometimes target them to unwarranted search and stop-overs. The judicial system is equally biased, especially imprisoning a larger number of minority-targeted groups. Police brutality or excessive use of force similarly confirms the existence of historical injustice of which the police use excessive force to targeted minorities (Horrace and Shawn 226). All the pieces of evidence point to the historical legacy of racism in the USA.

The justification of behaviors as with regards to issues and concerns surrounding social vices has all been created around social psychology. For example, violence and drugs, and other social vices are known to create serious ramifications to the individuals, but they still find the justifications for engaging in the same. The USA has a long history of crime and drug dealings, and despite the strict policing that have been enacted throughout the years, individuals still find the justification for the courses of their behaviors. Hence, from social psychology approach, all depends on the brain's mechanism that prevents people from admitting their mistakes and such is the genesis of real problems in the society (Tavris and Aronson 289). On the other hand, the current challenges are historically embedded into what Tavris and Aronson discuss as confirmation bias of which one is engaged in conflicting thoughts on whether certain courses of actions are okay, and despite the adverse effects, they still change their morals and behaviors(p. 22). In this case, people will find justifications or reasons for engaging in acts despite knowing the severe consequences and this explains the reason as to why some people change from good to evil and commit crimes in the society. All these have contributed to a complex society in America whereby wrong doings like drugs and crime are justified from the brains mechanism that convinces people to engage in wrongdoings despite the ramifications. The same system which is supposed to use proper policy intervention uses the same bias in fighting drugs thereby leading to more problems in the society hence explaining the historical legacy of racism and racial profiling in the fight against drugs and crime in the American society.

The war on drugs the way it has been fought is responsible to the current policing in America. Specifically, the war has been selective and as equally functioned as a channel through which racism is escalated. For example, the targeted arrests are mainly on the minority blacks of whom they are the high numbers in prisons and more incarcerations target the community (Johnson 967). On the same vigor, it creates as social factor whereby the minorities tend to think that they are more targeted and even the younger generations, are they grow have, have the belief or justification that drugs and violence are the only means of survival. The same situation is what Tavris and Aronson describe as a case of self-justification of certain behaviors. As policing has historically focused or centered the war on drugs on the minority community, so has it left a historical legacy whereby a social situation is created by which the targeted community belief that drugs and violence are the living fashion (p.7). At the same time, the police continue to focus their investigations on the minorities thus a belief system that has been created deeply embedded into the system.

Social psychology and its explanation of the justification of a course of behavior is explained from the perspective of Lucifer Effect, explaining how good can turn into evil. Philip Zimbardo in his book claims that the evil deeds in the society are subject to circumstances which change people's behavior because survival is dependent on how a person will respond to the inherent situation (Zimbardo p. 5). Circumstances lead people to become evil because they are defined by desires that outweigh morals, especially when individuals believe they can act anonymously while others are taking responsibility for such actions. The same approach explains the reason as to why police are always justified to use force. The circumstances of their operation are forcing them into doing so, especially being engrossed into working with hardcore criminals who also endanger their lives. However, from an ethical perspective, the police are not supposed to use excessive force, but since the system protects them, they are driven into acting evil because someone will take the responsibility (the system). The situation explains why even good cops become ill. On the same note, the social conditions created by the current policing system leads good people into acting bad, especially with the targeted incarceration on the minorities and from this, they respond to more crime and violence or resistance to the police. The Lucifer effect has defined the historical legacy of racism in America. For example, conditions influence personal choices of which individuals in the society should find alternative ways of survival instead of violence and drugs. On the same note, the police should create a healthy environment by changing abusive, and the inhuman circumstances in the society. However, they have historically chosen not to and this explains why excessive use of police force continues to the modern society while at the same time, the targeted minorities find the reasons to commit more crime and drug dealings.

Therefore, the essay maintains that the historical injustices aimed at races in America should be discussed from a psychological perspective as this will help in identifying or singling out the embedded elements and factors that are responsible for the problem. For instance, it acknowledges the importance of psychological factors like self-justification and cognitive dissonance that turns good people into evil while through Lucifer effect, people respond to circumstances by either choosing the right way or the wrong way. All in all, the current system and the historical wars on drugs have been defined by the psychological and social constructs that define people's behaviors. For instance, the police have been justified to use force because they are not individually held responsible for using excessive force. On the same note, racial profiling and the high number of the minorities incarcerated for drug and crime-related justices through racial injustice also find the justification to respond through more violence to the situation.

Works Cited

DeVerteuil, Geoff. "Does the punitive need the supportive? A sympathetic critique of current grammars of urban injustice." Antipode 46.4 (2014): 874-893. Print.

Horrace, William C., and Shawn M. Rohlin. "How dark is dark? Bright lights, big city, racial profiling." Review of Economics and Statistics 98.2 (2016): 226-232. Print.

Johnson, Kevin R. "Racial profiling in the war on drugs meets the immigration removal process: The case of Moncrieffe v. Holder." U. Mich. JL Reform 48 (2014): 967.

Tavris, Carol, and Aronson, Elliot. Mistakes were made (but not by me): Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007. Print.

Zimbardo, Philip G. Lucifer effect. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2007. Print.

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