Within Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow she explains a multitude of assumptions and myths that are seen to be commonly believed by our culture about the criminal justice system. Areas such as each individual is given a fair trial, everyone gets a lawyer who will work with them on their behalf and even the fact of everyone gets a trial. Along with these examples there are so many more commonly believed myths about the criminal justice system that have gone on for decades without people truly understanding what occurs in the system. The thought process that I have about these myths and assumptions by the public is where are they coming from? Are they originating decades ago and passed down by word of mouth through discussions with family members? Or is it from the recent boom of crime shows on television?
For me personally, I think that the crime shows on TV are the largest factor that play into these myths about the criminal justice system. But also the ideas of particular people committing particular crimes generalizing races. As Michelle Alexander talks about in her book with the crack outbreak and how the white rich younger generations in the 70’s were using cocaine and not being scrutinized as much as the black population that was using crack cocaine at the same time. These generalizations of race belonging to particular crimes is still apparent in the crime shows today. The amount of CSI, Law & Order, and other criminal justice/ police force shows truly can not only give false information to a community that may not necessarily understand what the criminal justice system consists of, but also aids in the racial thought process that can be connected with crime. If I had the opportunity and time I think that there would be a significant amount of information that could come from research conducted on a younger population who would not be allowed to watch any crime shows for an extended period of time. When such melodrama shows are taken out of someone’s life they do not necessarily think about the criminal justice system the same way that the general public does and how particular races are connected with particular crimes, and even the fact that not all bad people are caught for their crimes. I really do believe that if there was a study done on these crime shows it would have such an impacting result that it would force someone to step up against the broadcasting networks and show how truly negative these shows are for out community. Let the public create their own generalizations and assumptions about the criminal justice system. Maybe then people will be more informed about the truths because they will have to actively seek out information, rather than just turn on the TV and see what fantasy crime is teaching us.