The Central Park Five documentary is an exciting piece of artwork as it revisited two New York nightmares in 1989. Violent crime coverage is a staple of American news, but only a handful of stories have caught the country’s attention. There is even less information about U.S. proceedings. DNA evidence, fingerprints, blood, or semen did not link to crime in either black or brown boys, but all five of the defendants spent six to thirteen years in prison (Green 45). The issues of racial discrimination and crinal investigations play a vital role in the development of the film. The Central Park Five seeks to set the record straight by describing the American criminal justice system, cultural exhumation, and race consideration.
The criminal justice system in American culture has faced constant pressure due to failure to uphold consistency and justice. These actions undermine public confidence in the American criminal justice system. On the other hand, culture includes behavioral patterns acquired and expressed through behaviors and symbols. Culture includes traditional ideas and their intrinsic values. As shown by family, school, business, and the media, American culture raise expectations for individual success (Byfield). However, the skills and resources required to meet high financial, professional, and social expectations vary from individual to individual. Without informal behavioral control, criminal law and criminal justice are the primary regulators of behavior. According to The Central Park Five, the system has failed over crime and nonharmful behavior and under crime harmful behavior (Green 45). The criminal justice system undermined public confidence and failed to act consistently and fairly. The Central Park Five describes the plight of young adolescents who served time in prisons for crimes they did not commit. The film suggests how cultural values and the criminal justice system can be modified to reduce favoring criminal activity.
Law involves rules, codification, and authority. In sociology, the view of law as a social construction stems from the legal positivism’s view of the law. In different principles, there are overlapping ideas and disciplines regarding the law. For instance, law, authority, and social change are outside the box. In other contexts, the sociology of law studies human legal behavior and the complexities between different law viewpoints. Law also suggests that humans exist as individuals in a civil society. Individuals also exist independently in the economy and the state. Law theories aim to explain facts and realities. For instance, sociological theory aims to address law theories. However, in practical realities, socio-legal and legal theories are intrinsically connected. The Central Park Five documentary reiterates the need to explain how we change laws (Green 456). We can either change laws in a violent or non-violent manner. In a non-violent manner, there exist issues such as civil disobedience. On the other hand, natural law defines universal, timeless, and transcendent moral standards. Supporters of natural law argue that it is an independent entity. All societies have values that govern different activities to cultivate a shared community goal. These values help fashion solidarity for the community to achieve collective goals. In modern economic diversity, Durkenhiem suggests that individuals need each other in society. Thus, communities need to join hands in the division of labor to achieve collective goals and objectives quickly. Law helps communities enhance their cooperation and promote harmony regarding the law.
The Central Park Five acts to exhume the American culture of discrimination against minorities, especially African Americans. The documentary film discusses the inequalities in American society where African Americans suffer at the hands of law enforcement agents. The Central Park Five shows that African Americans are more exposed to police discrimination than their white counterparts. The accused assailants, in this case, were five African American and Latino teenagers (Green 44). Additionally, the film portrays the effects of the injustices committed towards African Americans. Most African Americans suffer severe mental health consequences in the first and second months after exposure to police brutality. On the other hand, White citizens in the U.S. do not experience mental health issues from exposure to police violence against unarmed African Americans. The film suggests policies to reduce police violence and address the serious mental health effects for minorities. These accused assailants spent time serving prison sentences for crimes they did not commit. Notably, minorities such as African Americans continue to suffer under American police (Byfield). This group of individuals acts as the ideal suspects for different crimes. In the film, the five African American and Latino adolescents spend time in court and prison for assault and rape. The conviction and years in which the defendants were later acquitted are linked to racist crimes.
Race consideration plays a central role in The Central Park Five. Inherently, racism is a system of advantage based on race, deeply ingrained in American society, and has become virtually impossible to address. Many individuals, especially whites, underestimate the effects of racism as it does not directly involve them. Among the factors influencing racism in America is social order. There are distinct classifications in American society that lead to in-group competition and isolation. For instance, some researchers suggest that people are more likely to act positively towards those viewed as like them. Any individual who is not a member of a particular group can receive ill-treatment. In the film, The Central Park Five, race plays a crucial role in determining the sentences for the accused suspects. The latter comes from America’s African American and Latino minority ethnic groups. Research suggests that young people are accustomed to interacting with people from their race (Lee et al.). Therefore, while growing, these young individuals have no contact with people from diverse ethnicities. Besides, some studies suggest that black children are better at distinguishing white people than white children are at recognizing black individuals. Several white American group’s institutions do not comprise of black individuals. This segregation is because of the long history of racial bias. The white and black communities remain largely separated. Inherently, racial discrimination continues to happen when one group feels and acts superior to another. The social structure of a community diffuses the effects of racism. In particular, the mode through which discriminatory effects transmit depends on the social organization. For instance, policies that promote inequality in labor markets can lead to disparities in education for particular groups in society (Lee et al.). Individuals from deprived racial groups end up making serious life decisions that limit their future opportunities in life. Racial discrimination hurts the American economy through protests and revolts against the issues of injustice. However, most citizens could care less about the ongoing racial discrimination in the nation. Unless, indeed, it starts to affect their way of earning. The increased killings of unarmed African American males continue to sparkle protests across the nation, leading to huge losses for businesses.
The Central Park Five describes the American criminal justice system, cultural exhumation, and racial prejudice. The film describes the shortcomings of the justice system and its effects on minority ethnic groups. Young individuals from minority groups act as the ideal scapegoats in criminal activities. On the other hand, a White victim is an ideal individual protected by the justice system. The American culture of racial prejudice and incompetent criminal justice policies are highlighted as the main contributors to increased criminal activities. The Central Park Five is a film that describes the need to address policies that promote competent handling and management of the American criminal justice system. Consequently, there is a need to ensure desirable treatment of all individuals without accusations of race and incompetent justice.
Byfield, Natalie. Savage portrayals: Race, media and the Central Park jogger story. Temple University Press, 2014.
Green, David A. “Savage Portrayals: Race, Media, and the Central Park Jogger Story.” (2017): 44-46.
Lee, Randy T., et al. “On the prevalence of racial discrimination in the United States.” PloS one 14.1 (2019): e0210698.