Over the years, cartoonists have critiqued societal issues by developing thought-provoking cartoons and posters. The cartoon by Clay Bennet on equal justice is an example of this strategy. The posters can provide education to the readers on important national and community issues. The United States has witnessed a continuous fight for equal justice by minority groups. Statistics indicate that black Americans are the most likely to be arrested for criminal activities (Graham et al., 2020). These statistics have influenced artists to critique the justice system of the country. This essay will analyze the equal justice poster through the concepts of implicit bias, privilege, and discrimination in the United States.
Description of the Image
The cartoon poster by Clay Bennet presents two people standing in line holding a banner titled equal justice. From the image, it appears that they are participating in a protest for equal justice. The two individuals are different in that one appears to be black while the other one is white. This distinction is important because it is central to understanding the image. The African American man on the right side is surrounded by two police officers who want to check whether the individual has a permit. The white person on the left-hand side is left alone, which illustrates the way police are biased when confronting minority group protesters. One of the officers is holding their baton in a way that signifies the intention to be violent in case the protester is uncooperative. The quest for equal justice in the United States has been frustrated largely by the police, who enhance the discrimination that exists through their actions and inactions.
The image indicates how privilege is prevalent in America, which makes it difficult for equality to be achieved. The white people enjoy a privilege that determines the way they are treated by the police and the judicial system. Historically, black people have endured rough treatment from the police because of the notion that most of them are criminals (Graham et al., 2020). In the image, the white man is participating in a protest but receives no attention from the officers.
This is different from the way the black man is treated, as the officers want to see a permit first. There have been cases in the country where officers have shot African American victims even after they agreed to do what the officer asked. Equal justice means equal treatment at the hand of the law (Conley, 2017). White privilege enhances the divide between the minority groups and the white people.
The image also presents the theme of discrimination that is existent in the police force. Research shows that African Americans are more likely to be discriminated against (Graham et al., 2020). Discrimination based on skin color is referred to as racism (Conley, 2017). In the image, the black person receives attention from the officers while the white person is left alone. The African American man is asked to provide a permit which accentuates the discrimination being shown by the artist.
Law enforcement officers in the country enforce the laws discriminately, especially when dealing with African Americans. The government has passed laws meant to make it hard for some of the communities to be heard. Issuing permits for protests means that the government is in control of the right to assemble and the freedom of free speech. The discrimination meted on black Americans makes their relations with whites challenging (Conley, 2017). These difficulties can prevent the progression of communities as people may develop negative perceptions of their neighbors.
From the way the black man is represented in the image, there is an indication of the existence of an implicit bias. The bias is evident in the way the officers choose to focus on the African American man. The artist wanted the reader to see the bias that exists in the way police officers view black people in the United States. Decades of bias and discrimination have disadvantaged the African American population (Conley, 2017). Institutional racism contributes to the negative views that black people have on police. As an institution, the police assess African Americans with a biased viewpoint which increases the chances of discrimination happening (Graham et al., 2020).
Biased ideas are cultivated when people are growing up, which makes changing them difficult (Conley, 2017). There have been efforts to conduct further training of police officers to eradicate the negative perceptions. People need to be treated equally because it boosts societal bonds, which enhances peace.
The image by Clay Bennett presents a critique of the bias, discrimination, and privilege that is existent in American society. The image indicates how the white people enjoy certain privileges which means that they can be treated differently than other groups. Black people, on the other hand, endure constant threats from the police officers, and they have to follow all the rules. Discrimination based on color is also existent in the image. The officers focus on the black person and leave the white person alone. The image accentuates the bias, discrimination, and white privilege propagated by government institutions in America.
Conley, D. (2017). You may ask yourself: An introduction to thinking like a sociologist. WW Norton & Company.
Graham, A., Haner, M., Sloan, M. M., Cullen, F. T., Kulig, T. C., & Jonson, C. L. (2020). Race and worrying about police brutality: The hidden injuries of minority status in America. Victims & Offenders, 15(5), 549-573. Web.