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Trevor Salas Black Studies 5 December 1, 2010 Brown, Elaine. The Condemnation of Little B . Boston: Beacon Press, 2002. Print. In her book, The Condemnation of Little B Elaine Brown criticizes the racial and social stereotypes people exercise toward blacks, specifically young black males. These oppressive ideas doom them to a lifetime of poverty and hardship, that is if they are lucky enough to stay out of prison. Michael “Little B” Lewis wasn’t so fortunate, and Brown uses the story of his exploitation and unwarranted accusations to expose the racism and flaws in the criminal justice system still present in America today. This “New Age” racism is much less blatant, but still condemns poor African-Americans to a third world lifestyle and, as Brown points out with anger, is often supported my middle and upper-class blacks themselves. Brown begins her book with a detailed background of the murder of Darrel Woods. She explores the history of all those involved, from the victims to the suspects to the witnesses. Brown also explains the outcome of the trial and, at the end of the first section, the innocence of Michael Lewis. Shortcomings in the investigation of the murder are exposed, touching on the racial scrutiny of the court system and the all-to-easy willingness to accept that a 13-year-old boy committed murder. The trial lasted just a few days and the jury needed less than two hours to find Little B guilty, with no real sign of resistance at any point in the case. Michael symbolized the face of evil in the people’s eyes without being given a fair chance, never seeming to be presumed innocent as basic rights say he should have. The people, press, and even jury blatantly labeled him as the clear murderer purely based on the color of his skin and his social status, so eager to throw the blame on such an easy target. Brown expresses this as a much larger problem than Little B being wrongfully accused, showing just how bad stereotypes toward young black
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males had become. In her second of five sections, Brown begins to stray away from Little B’s specific situation and delve into the problem-filled history of Atlanta itself. She explains the pressure felt Prosecutor Paul Howard to protect the Olympic dream in Atlanta following their hosting of the games. Little B was a perfect target for Howard because he represented the very demographic
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