Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Social Injustice

Innocent until proven guilty. And if proven guilty, not punished as if you were innocent. At least if you are a Hollywood celebrity.

Why is there such a divergence between justice for celebrities and the rest of us? And then further divergence for black male athletes . . .

A few examples:
1) Lindsay Lohan has been in court for violating probation, drug charges, and a DUI. She was actually sentenced to ninety days in prison followed by a three month rehabilitation program. She did actually go to jail . . . for FOURTEEN DAYS! Then she went to her three month rehab program . . . for TWENTY-THREE days! And now she is back on the scene (at least she was at the Dream Center in LA the other day, according to her Twitter page).

2) Paris Hilton was arrested for cocaine possession. She was arrested although she said it wasn't hers, she didn't know it was there, and that it was gum. She plead guilty to cocaine possession, obstructing an officer, and paid her $2,000 fine. She is supposed to complete 200 hours of community service and is on a one year suspended sentence. However, the fine is less than the purse she carries. So really, if the average woman gets arrested for cocaine possession, they should be fined around $100 and go on their way . . .

3) Charlie Sheen has been in the news several times for domestic abuse, drug abuse, and other things. His latest debacle includes admitting to cocaine use while causing $7,000 worth of damage to a hotel room. Oh, and the police found a woman locked in the hotel bathroom. His punishment? Taken to a hospital for observation and released. The case was dropped by NYPD.

(I won't take the space to discuss the Ben Rothlisberger stunt but the justice system turned its blind eye while the Steelers are exacting punishment . . .)

What do these instances tell us? I don't know, what do you think this tells American society? Does it tell us to get rich and famous to circumvent the law? Does it tell us idolize these people further for their ability to rise above the law? Does it tell us that the rest of us are bad enough for punishment and escape the mercy of forgiveness?

Take a look at the link provided: It is a list of mostly black athletes that have been convicted and serve jail sentences. The charges include assault and trying to use a cell phone to set up a drug deal. (Another question for another day is, "Are black athletes punished more harshly because the crimes are more violent?)

I think the our justice system fails everyone in American when the divergence between social, financial, and racial classes is marked and obvious. It is a sad commentary on the obsessions of America


  1. Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg with a legally-owned handgun and went to prison for three years. I find the sentence disgustingly harsh.

    Donte Stallworth, on the other hand, had a BAC of 0.12 and killed a man. He got 30 days in jail, and is never allowed to drive again. I find this disgustingly soft.

    It's easy to pick and choose specific examples to demonstrate an unequal pattern, but it's not necessarily correct.

    You'd be on better ground complaining of the outright racist NCAA rules restricting athletes (disproportionately black) from competing and getting endorsements, etc. prior to going pro.

  2. I'm not sure, but I understood all NCAA athletes to be under the same restrictions on endorsements and pay-for-play type activities (like the white Olympic skier that played wide receiver for Colorado). But I take your point. There is always a risk in representing the whole with specific examples, but the examples are still there, and the injustice still real.

    Mr. Burress's handgun was legally owned, carried illegally, into an restricted establishment.

  3. Private establishments should be able to determine whether or not they want to allow firearms so I can see that point, however, gun laws and permit laws are obviously unconstitutional and the best way to understand that would be to understand that you don't need government permits or permissions to exercise your first amendment rights so why would you need them to exercise your second amendment ones?