Americans' systemic prejudice that just won't die

Americans have a longstanding tradition of discriminating against criminals.

They have made criminals second-class citizens.  They often refuse to welcome criminals in their communities.  When criminals manage to move into some affluent or privileged residential areas in order to experience better lives, many law-abiding Americans will flee, leaving the criminals without help in once flourishing but now crime-ridden, dilapidated, and vandalized communities.

They judge criminals based on being criminals and not on the actual virtues and talents that the latter may possess, never mind taking into accounts hardships and discrimination that the criminals have been suffering from in America.  The American justice system is a specimen of systemic anti-criminalism and is stacked against criminals.  So are police.  Courts are dramatically more likely to sentence a criminal than a law-abiding American.  Police are often arresting criminals just because they're criminals while at the same time not arresting the law-abiding just because they're law-abiding.

The statistics are clear: although criminals constitute a small minority of America's population, they are the ones who are being investigated, stopped, frisked, charged, convicted, and punished more than anybody else.  The so-called "routine" traffic stops are often a manifestation of the discriminatory practices of police, who may stop an unobtrusive driver just for "driving while criminal."  And criminals are disproportionately shot by police; it hardly ever happens to law-abiding Americans.

The above facts must be clear to any observant bystander.  There is one question, though, that puzzles me.

As a nation, today's Americans have been known as friendly, generous, and tolerant people, compassionate and ready to help those who suffer or are in need.  They seem to be the last people on Earth who would resort to such unworthy things as discrimination and being "anti."  Why, then, is it that the same Americans have chosen to discriminate against criminals so stubbornly and brazenly?

Could it be because criminals have been doing something bad that the Americans cannot ignore?  Is this why they discriminate against criminals?

Just asking.

Mark Andrew Dwyer's recent columns are posted at
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