Saving Jamal to Save America: Presidential Authority to Decriminalize the Future Male Majority

The disparately criminalized racial minority community is projected to become the majority within many Americans’ lifetimes. Racial minorities currently constitute a third of the U.S. population, but are expected to make up over half by 2042. The anticipated shift in the majority populace is not merely a numbers game detailing statistical changes. In a country where racial minorities confront unequal criminal justice and lacking educational opportunities, this looming change has serious implications. The situation is so dire and important to the future of the country that it justifies, if not mandates, presidential executive action. This makes the aftermath of the 2012 presidential election extremely important for the American people who are coming to grips with the changing, or darkening, face of the nation.

When the minority racial population becomes the overall majority and if no changes are instituted, the then majority male population will be of color and criminalized. Criminalization of the present minority, but future majority, male population begins at a fundamental level in America. The prevalent imbalance in the nation’s educational system is a core contributor to the systematic ushering of young men into penal institutions. Instead of addressing the ineptitudes and prejudice that cause these deficiencies, policymakers prefer strict punitive policies and the statewide encouragement of private prisons, whose owners scour the performance ratings of school districts and the racial makeup of communities in deciding where to construct their next revenue-generating penitentiary.

Perhaps the contentment with racial disparities in criminal justice is rooted in the fact that the current white majority does not think itself detrimentally affected by policies that mostly only affect the present minority racial population adversely. But will this same attitude of inaction and apparent acquiescence persist when the nation’s majority population is no longer white Americans? What will be the repercussions when the majority male population is of color if the criminalization and delegitimization, which detrimentally affect the future majority male population, continues? Further, what about the minority race of males within this majority population of color? As the majority of color will be primarily Hispanics, blacks will be part of this majority of color, but will be a minority within this majority color group. Given the pervasive and continued criminalization of black males, even as a part of the majority male populace, their legitimization as full citizens is at risk. Further, this population shift, without progress in equality norms, could essentially mean an alteration in the identity as well as the face of a nation.

This paper will explore all of these questions with a special focus on how recently re-elected President Barack Obama must make a constitutional difference for the survival of America, especially as its face changes color, if not also form and identity. It is critical that this future male majority population be saved, if we are to save America’s democratic form and identity.

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Ahmad R. Smith, Saving Jamal to Save America: Presidential Authority to Decriminalize the Future Male Majority, 49 Gonz. L. Rev. 83 (2014).

About dkazemba

David Kazemba J.D. Candidate 2014

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