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Racist Legal System Cause of Spiraling Crime
Posted: Monday, October 3, 2005

In South Africa apartheid was the embodiment of a racist legal system that protected and served the interests of whites, while victimizing and oppressing Africans and other minority groups such as Coloureds and Indians. Being the largest and most oppressed ethnic group, many Africans resorted to crime in order to sustain themselves and their families.

Very few whites ever had to face the courts for crimes they committed; they were virtually above the law. In his autobiography, Nelson Mandela made the following analysis with regard to the criminality of Africans in South Africa, "It stands to reason that an immoral and unjust legal system would breed contempt for its laws and regulations."

While we may not have apartheid in Trinidad, I could not help but think about the current crime situation here in Trinidad and its root cause. We live in a country where the courts are filled with mainly people of African descent. Does that mean that only people of African descent commit crimes in this country? The face of a criminal in this country is portrayed as a black person who wears baggy jeans below his waist, with designer sneakers on his feet. This perception is manifested everywhere you go. One only has to observe the police during a roadblock. They would instinctively pull over a car with a group of young black men wearing the aforementioned attire. But how often do you see them pulling over a Mercedes Benz or an Audi A6 especially one being driven by a 'light-skinned' person?

While the little black boys sells and markets the drugs of the 'light-skinned' drug kingpin, he bears the brunt of the law while these 'light-skinned' criminals who disguise themselves as 'entrepreneurs' are allowed to engage in their criminal activity with impunity, engaging in vulgar tax evasion, money laundering and illegal narcotics.

Therefore it shouldn't come as a surprise that the young black men of this country possess such contempt for the laws and regulations of this country. These little black boys have more first hand knowledge than you and I when it comes to the unjust, prejudiced laws of our legal system. The crime wave we are currently experiencing is a manifestation of such contempt.

If any government is truly serious about reducing the level of crime in this country, they would overhaul this current racist legal system to ensure that the judiciary treats all citizens equally without fear or favour. No one irrespective of colour, race, hair texture or financial status should be above the law. As long as such inequalities exist, crime will always be a serious problem.

Oke Zachary

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