Death penalty aff

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Death Penalty Affirmative
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1ac – Advantage – Racism

Advantage One: Racism

The death penalty is a historical descendant of lynching – It’s a racist system of punishment the devalues black life

Equal Justice Initiative, no date, "Death Penalty," Equal Justice Initiative,, accessed 6-23-2020 MS
The death penalty in America is a “direct descendant of lynching.” Racial terror lynchings gave way to executions in response to criticism that torturing and killing black people for cheering audiences was undermining America’s image and moral authority on the world stage.11 By 1915, court-ordered executions outpaced lynchings for the first time. Two-thirds of people executed in the 1930s were black, and the trend continued. African Americans’ share of the South’s population fell to just 22% by 1950, but 75% of people executed in the South were black.12 In 1972, the Supreme Court struck down the death penalty because it looked too much like “self-help, vigilante justice, and lynch law.”13 “If any basis can be discerned for the selection of these few to be sentenced to die,” the Court wrote in Furman v. Georgia, “it is the constitutionally impermissible basis of race.” Southern lawmakers accused the Court of “destroying our system of government” and quickly passed new death penalty laws. “There should be more hangings. Put more nooses on the gallows,” proponents of Georgia’s new law insisted. “It wouldn’t be too bad to hang some on the court house square, and let those who would plunder and destroy see.” The Supreme Court upheld Georgia’s new death penalty statute in 1976,15 and racial bias in the death penalty persisted. A decade later, the Court considered statistical evidence presented in McCleskey v. Kemp showing that Georgia defendants were more than four times as likely to be sentenced to death if the murder victim was white than if the victim was black. The Court accepted the data was accurate, but it refused to reverse the death sentence because it concluded that racial bias in sentencing is “an inevitable part of our criminal justice system.”16 42% African Americans make up 42% of people on death row and 34% of those executed,17but only 13% of the population is black.18 8 in 10 More than 8 in 10 lynchings between 1889 and 1918 and legal executions since 1976 have occurred in the South.19 75% 75% of executions for murder were in cases with white victims.20 Race still influences who is sentenced to death and executed in America today. The data in Georgia has actually gotten worse: people convicted of killing white victims are 17 times more likely to be executed than those convicted of killing black victims.21 Related Report In capital trials, the accused is often the only person of color in the courtroom. Illegal racial discrimination in jury selection is widespread, especially in the South and in capital cases—thousands of black people called for jury service have been illegally excluded from juries. Southern lawmakers today invoke “states’ rights” to defeat anti-discrimination bills just like they did to block federal anti-lynching laws. And regional data demonstrates that the modern death penalty in America mirrors the racial violence of the past.22

The statistics confirm the history – the death penalty is disproportionally used against people of color – this is compounded by executions of innocent people

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