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Review 2 of "Colorism, Racism, and the Criminal Justice System: How is an Innocent Black Man in Prison for Life?"

Published onJan 12, 2022
Review 2 of "Colorism, Racism, and the Criminal Justice System: How is an Innocent Black Man in Prison for Life?"
key-enterThis Pub is a Review of

Vote: Publish pending minor changes


  • Abstract: For those unfamiliar with the case, it would be helpful to add additional details within the abstract. For instance, it may be unclear from the 3rd sentence of the abstract that these three people were all involved in the same case and were all Black adolescents. This can be fixed with something as simple as adding “co-defendants.” Also, three names were mentioned at the start, but then the ending of the abstract only notes “the lifelong sentence of an innocent man.” For those unfamiliar with the case, it would be best to add in his name at the end of this sentence for clarification.

  • The authors should remain consistent in writing “Black.” There are inconsistencies between the abstract and main article in which the authors do not capitalize the racial group. This inconsistency is especially disturbing and apparent when individual sentences have Black capitalized and also left uncapitalized (see Page 3 for instance). The authors are also inconsistent throughout the manuscript in whether or not “Brown” and “White” should be capitalized.

  • Pages 2-3: The authors refer to “stereotypically Black” but only skin color is mentioned in this paragraph with statements such as “darker and more stereotypically Black.” There are a number of resources cited here, but an additional sentence on what characteristics are being treated/viewed as “stereotypically Black” would help clarify this. The next page (middle of Page 3) says “Afrocentric facial features” and later goes in depth to explain what that means. This would be helpful earlier in the manuscript.

  • The authors should provide more details to support their arguments. For instance, on page 3, the authors write: “As in the case of Dedrick Brown, the victim’s testimonies were altered to fit Dedrick into the crime, not only in the instance of the crime against Officer Wislyn Joseph, but in other subsequent crimes that were stacked against Brown. The inconsistent testimonies that took place during the trials…… ” Although this is discussed more in depth later in the manuscript, the authors should provide brief examples of this to readers to ensure that readers can also see this for themselves (beyond merely being told without supporting evidence). This will help introduce the information to readers early on, without merely telling without showing and forcing readers to wait for the evidence.

  • Page 7 is the second time that the “description of the perpetrator” was mentioned but, as of yet, the reader still does not have a clear idea of the discrepancy in regards to skin tone. In providing a bit more detail at the front end (as I’ve suggested above), this detail should also be added/clarified much earlier.

  • Page 12: “This inaccurate, yet somehow accepted profiling is likely the result of colorism.” – The authors include this sentence then move on without an adequate explanation or connecting the dots for the readers. The authors should spell out how this is a result of colorism, doing so either in a new sentence that concludes the paragraph or by adding to end of this sentence

[Please put additional info below, as/if you see fit]

  • The authors must proofread for errors. EX: Page 3, 2nd-to-last paragraph says “Afocrentically.” EX: Page 3 was submitted with the following: “witness’s testimony (cite?)” which includes a writing error and in which the authors forgot to actually cite the source(s).

  • Page 7: “White people have been the dominant economic group” … The language here should be edited to demonstrate that White people have been viewed and treated as the dominant economic group. Otherwise, as it currently stands, this sentence reads as though the authors believe Whites are the dominant race.

  • Page 9: My first response was “who are Evan and Justin Rundle?” I needed to do a word search to figure out that they must be the twin sons of the officer. So, it would be best to add this details – the officer’s twin sons who have never served time for the multiple charges/sentences.

  • It is unclear why the authors have the mugshots for each of the three defendants repeated twice on pages 14-16 when they are already present on Page 12. Once would suffice; otherwise, it looks like the authors are reinforcing an emotional response from readers to the enlarged mugshots.

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