How Does Prejudice Affect Justice?

Essay by DramaQueen469High School, 11th gradeA+, August 2007

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How does prejudice affect justice? Is any human being truly capable of putting their preconceptions aside to judge a situation without bias? Is “justice” truly just if it is influenced by human nature? Subconsciously, we all know the answer to these questions. More difficult to understand is how and why prejudice and human nature affect the justice system.

Throughout history, prejudice has come in many different forms. In the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”, by Harper Lee, set in 1930s southern United States, we see the mindsets of many different types of people. There is the idea that black people are inferior to white, and also the pride of the black people – as much as many white people feared and hated them, they feared and hated whites. We see the idea that a white man’s word over a black man’s must be the truth, or accepted as truth.

Prejudice is directed at the Ewells because they are white trash, Scout because she is a tomboy, and Atticus because he is, in the eyes of the town, a “nigger-lover”. Today, prejudice is just as widespread, and just as destructive. We are given the impression that Maori people are dole-bludgers, that people who wear black are depressed, suicidal Goths, and that all men are paedophiles – demonstrated exceptionally by Air New Zealand’s new policy, which states that men cannot be seated next to children who are travelling alone. These stereotypical views of groups who are different to us are neither fair nor accurate. Many Maori hold down jobs as well as white people, some people wear black because they are cold or all their coloured clothes are being washed, and the majority of men certainly don’t fiddle with small children! And yet, we as humans set a stereotype for...