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Matthew Yee

Document Type

Restricted CORE Hall of Fame Paper

Publication Date



[Excerpt] The concept of blame is one that is associated with justice. In American society today, there cannot be justice without apprehending the culprit who violated the law. Humans have a long history of using blame as an immediate solution to any unsettled dispute. This response can be seen all the way back to the Fall when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit. When God asked Adam what had happened, Adam immediately said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate” (English Standard Version, Gen. 3.12). When God turned to Eve, she responded, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Gen. 3.13). Both Adam and Eve try to remove their own sin by placing the blame on another person or being. Now in 2020, with fear of the coronavirus, society has searched for someone on whom to place the blame for this terrible global pandemic. Rumors about the “Chinese virus” have spread in America, pointing the finger at China and endangering Asian Americans who are, as a result, experiencing irrational fear-based biases. The cultural environment in America has had unprecedented impacts on the justice system. The pressure from society to accuse and blame a culprit for a crime has taken precedence over the duty to preserve justice and equality for all. The research presented in this paper argues that underrepresented and disadvantaged groups are found to be easy targets of blame because of historical biases and irrational fears of those who are different. I have chosen to consider the experiences of African Americans because I believe that they are most frequently discriminated against in the United States court system.