Crime here in the U.S. is a trending subject in society. You see crime appearing everywhere. On television, on newspapers and articles on the internet. On social media, you will see videos of black people getting pulled over for no reason. For a long time, white people had a lot of power over black people. Over time, that changed over important events like the Civil War. Many years ago, slavery had existed. The government considered it completely fine since it helped the economy get big at the time. The reason why so many white people were rich during this time was that all of them had slaves.
According to history.com, In the 17th and 18th centuries, people were being kidnapped from Africa and forced into labor for the production of crops like tobacco and cotton. Slavery started in America in 1619 when a Dutch ship brought 20 African slaves to a British colony in Jamestown, Virginia. According to the New York Times, “a white Bay Area officer was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter by a Los Angeles jury in the death of an unarmed black man in the early morning of New Years. The officer, Johannes Mehserle who is 28, was accused of a more serious charge, second-degree murder against Oscar Grant III who was 22. He was shot while facing down on the platform after being taken off a Bay Area Rapid Transit Train during a fight. Riots had started after the shooting with people burning cars and smashing storefronts. The shooting of Oscar Grant was caught on a video recording which got viral very fast on the internet.
People were taunting police officers at Oakland City Hall and throwing bottles at them. At least one person was hit by a vehicle or the crowd. Mehserle argued that the death of Oscar Grant III was an accident because he mistook his gun for a taser. He faced up to four years in prison plus additional time since a gun was involved. Grant’s family was not happy with the verdict. They thought the jury was dismissive and said that its still justice but not enough to give fair justice for what happened to Oscar Grant III. Residents that heard about the tragedy are comparing it to this case to the case with Rodney King. Black people in Oakland make up a big part of the population and have a history of bad relationships with the police because of police brutality. Blacks have been suffering from police brutality for decades. The issue of racial discrimination is argumentative because there is significant evidence that it does exist in our justice system. There are many crimes committed for their own reasons. What crimes are committed by what race? Throughout the U.S., lots of different types of races live here and some people of those races commit crimes. Something stereotypical to say about the crime is that Black people often do it. But is this stereotype the truth? Crime is committed a lot mostly by black people but there are other races/ethnicities that commit crimes as well.
According to Crime and Enforcement Activity in 2018 of NYC, during 2018, 5,797 misdemeanor criminal mischief arrests were made and 5,766 of these records contained race/ethnicity information. Black people have the highest percentage of being an arrestee, suspect and victim in all types of crime such as Felony Crimes and Misdemeanor Crimes. Their highest percentage is being a suspect. Hispanics end up in second place in arrestee, victim, and suspect as well. Their highest percentage is being an arrestee. The stereotype against black people can’t really be said for the same as the same for other races. White people end up in third place. Their highest percentage is being a victim which is usually the case in horror movies. Asians/Pacific Islanders are in fifth place. All of their percentages are lower than 10%. Their highest percentage is being an arrestee. American Indians come in the last place. Their highest percentage is being a suspect. Most black people live in Brooklyn where crimes happen very often. Over Memorial Day Weekend, there were 6 separate shootings. Through all those shootings, one was killed and ten were wounded and all those shootings took place in northern Brooklyn.
Police always assume black people are the suspect mainly because of the data information recorded each year starting from 2008, they started to do racial profiling. But racial profiling is nothing new in the U.S. because it’s been happening since slavery was legal here. It isn’t rare either, it happens every day. An example of racial profiling is the Tulsa Race Massacre that took place in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma. According to History, on May 30, 1921, a teenager named Dick Rowland entered an elevator in an office building called the Drexel building on South Main Street. Sometime after that, a white elevator operator, Sarah Page, screamed and Rowland ran from the scene. The police were called, and the next morning they arrested Rowland”. Even though there was no evidence that Rowland had done anything to Page, the police had still arrested him because of racial profiling at this time. There was a front-page story in the Tulsa Tribune that reported police arrested Rowland for sexually assaulting Page in the afternoon. When evening came, an angry mob gathered outside the courthouse demanding that the sheriff hand Rowland over. Sheriff Willard McCullough refused, and his men barricaded the top floor to protect the black teenager.” During the riot, all charges on Rowland were dropped and he was kept safely under guard in jail.
The police had come to a conclusion that Rowland had probably stumbled into Page, or stepped on her foot. Even though Rowland was black, the police still protected him. Rowland left Tulsa the next morning and never returned. The official total of deaths in the riot were 36 people killed, including 10 whites. The Tulsa Race Massacre is known today as one of the deadliest riots in U.S. history. For decades, there were no public ceremonies, memorials or any efforts to commemorate the events of May 31-June 1, 1921. Instead, there were efforts to intentionally cover it up. Something similar happened in Texas in 1918. According to texasobserver.org, On January 28, 1918, a group of texas rangers and ranchers raided the Presidio County village of Porvenir at midnight. The Rangers were frustrated about a number of cattle raids by Mexicans by the border. Though there was no evidence that Porvenir was involved, they decided to punish the people of the village as a warning to others. In the dark, the rangers ordered 15 men and boys out of the huts they were sleeping in, took them to a nearby hill and executed them all.
The bodies were left where they were. After that, the rangers claimed that they were ambushed by the villagers which nobody ever had questioned this claim until 2002 when archaeologists proved that all the bullets fired that night were orders given from the government. Even to this day, most Texans don’t know about one of the cruelest massacres in their home state’s history. On January 28, 2018, 400 people gathered in an auditorium at the Texas Capitol to commemorate the events of January 28, 2018. Among the 400 people in the auditorium were lawmakers, historians, and activists, including about 300 people that were descendants of the victims. All these people traveled from states as far as New York, California, Florida, Washington and Arizona for the event. No criminal charges were ever put against the rangers but Governer William Hobby disbanded the group that led the massacre. The ringleader, James Monroe Fox, voluntarily retired and joined back with the Rangers a few years later. This is a perfect example of racial profiling because the people of the village hadn’t done anything but the Rangers decided to kill them anyways and made a false claim that the government never did anything about till 2002 when people had questioned it and could back it up and then when it was proven the only thing the government did was make them all resign. No charges were pressed against them even though they had committed voluntary manslaughter which isn’t allowed. Another race that was involved in a massacre is Asian people.
The massacre was called the Chinese massacre of 1871. The massacre took place in Los Angeles. According to lapl.org, In 1871, Los Angeles was known as a dirty and violent city. Even though the homicide rate was higher in Los Angeles than it was in New York and Chicago, there were only six police officers hired to maintain law and order. In 1870, there were only 172 people that were Chinese out of the whole population in Los Angeles or around three percent of the total population of 5,728. More than half of the Chinese people lived in an area called Calle de Los Negroes or Negro Alley. During the 1850-1860s, only a few attacks against the Chinese were reported. Things changed for the Chinese when the Los Angeles News and the Los Angeles Star began writing editorials attacking Chinese immigration and attacking the Chinese calling them inferior and unethical. This created an increase in racially motivated attacks against the Chinese. In October 1871, there was tension between two leaders of rival mutual benefit associations over the kidnapping of a young Chinese woman. Soon after that, a shootout between several Chinese men started in Negro Alley. The response of two police officers resulted in one of the officers being wounded and the death of a civilian named Robert Thompson who helped the officers. Robert Thompson was known for the popular saloon he owned.
The shooters took shelter in a building called the Coronel building. The news had quickly spread like wildfire about the death of Robert Thompson. A mob of rioters quickly rose to about 500 people which was about ten percent of the population in Los Angeles. The mob of rioters forced the Chinese people inside the building outside and dragged the captured ones to make complete gallows at Tomlinson’s corral and Goller’s wagon shop. John Goller, the owner of the wagon shop, claimed his children were present when they were about lynch the Chinese. Just as he said that one of the rioters pointed a gun at him and said, “Dry up, you son of a bitch.” Dry up is a way of telling someone to shut up. Once the portico crossbar in Goller’s wagon shop was full of seven hanging bodies, the crowd captured three more victims and brought to a closeby freight wagon and hung them on the high side of the wagon. While there are a variety of witnesses of what exactly happened, there is no discussion about the brutality and savagery that went on that night. In the morning, seventeen bodies were laid out in the jail yard, horrid evidence of the dreadful previous night. The eighteenth victim which was the first man that was hung was buried the night before the massacre. Ten percent of the Chinese population was killed in this massacre. One of the Chinese caught in the massacre was respected called Dr. Gene Tong. Out of the Chinese killed, only one of them is thought to have participated in the gunfight. Although a grand jury returned 25 indictments for the slaughter of the Chinese, only ten of the men involved were put on trial. Eight of the rioters were charged for manslaughter, but the charges were dropped due to a legal technicality and the defendants were not retried. The tragedy was quickly left behind.
The newspapers never talked about it towards the end of the year. The poor truth was that nothing had really changed in Los Angeles in the aftermath of the massacre on October 24. The massacre didn’t result in racial tolerance, instead, anti-Chinese beliefs increased in the next years. The Anti-Coolie club, with many of its members, made up of famous people and the newspapers continued their racial profiling against the Chinese. The main cause of the massacre was the discrimination that continuously grew ever since the Chinese immigrants came to the U.S. Another massacre that happened was the wounded knee massacre. According to history.com, Wounded Knee is an area found in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. This massacre that took place in 1890 left about 150 Native Americans dead. Throughout 1890, the government was worried about the increasing wave at Pine Ridge of the Ghost Dance spiritual movement in which Indians believed that they had been defeated and sent to the reservations because they angered the gods because they had left behind their traditions.
The Sioux people believed that if they practiced the Ghost dance and rejected the ways of the white people, the gods would renew the world where non-believers, including non-indians, wouldn’t exist. On Dec. 15, 1890, the police of the reservation attempted to arrest Sitting Bull, one of the well-known Sioux chiefs, who the police had mistaken as a ghost dancer, and killed him in the process, which increased tensions at Pine Ridge. On Dec. 29, the U.S. Army besieged a group of Ghost Dancers under Big Foot who was a Lakota Sioux Chief closeby to Wounded Knee Creek. While that was happening, a fight started between an Indian and a U.S. Soldier. A shot was fired but nobody knows which one of them did it. A savage massacre was followed, where 150 Indians deaths were estimated about half of them were women and children. The U.S. Army lost 25 men. In 1968, the American Indian Movement was established in an attempt to cease police harassment against Indians. AIM became very popular over time. Instead of contronting the police in Pine Ridge, AIM besieged into Wounded Knee, the site of 1890 massacre. During 71 days of the siege, federal officers and AIM members exchanged bullets mostly at nighttime. There were hundreds of arrests made, two Native Americans were killed and a federal marshal was paralyzed permanently by a bullet wound. AIM finally surrendered on May 8 after a negotiation statement. AIM emerged triumphant and had succeeded in shining a national spotlight of the conflict going on with Native Americans.
The conflict was not over yet though. A civil war had started between the opposing indian groups. The Civil War left more than 100 indians dead. When two FBI agents were killed in a gunfight that took place in 1975, the agency raided the reservation and arrested AIM leader Leonard Peltier for the shooting. In 1977, Peltier was convicted of killing the two FBI agents and sentenced to life in prison. The conflict was referred to as a battle, but the truth was that it was a catastrophic massacre that could’ve easily been avoided. To this day, Peltier still has supporters.