This unit, designed for grades 7-12 in social studies, law, sociology or Black history, will explore the ever persistent significance of race in the criminal justice system, by encouraging honest debate among students. All students generally, and Black students in particular, must come to the understanding that the racial prejudices of the larger society are also present in the criminal justice system. Any attempt by educators to wish away these prejudices, or to gloss over them, is as great a disservice to intellectual discourse as is the attempt by many to avoid any discussion of the subject at all.
While the picture that this unit will draw may be considered pessimistic by some, it is appropriate here to suggest that meaningful solutions to pressing social, political or legal problems can only come about through honest open dialogue, even if this dialogue runs counter to one s previously held beliefs concerning the democratic virtues often espoused but consistently seldom practiced by American leaders where Black people are concerned. It is always better to tell the sad truth than it is to invent or repeat a merry lie.
(Recommended for Social Studies and Sociology, grades 7-12; and The Law and Ethnic Studies, grades 9-12)