Racism and the Death Penalty in the United States
Films Media Group
Network Ireland Television
July 4, 2007
Challenging viewers to look beyond mainstream media treatment of the death penalty, this program portrays capital punishment as a blunt instrument that disproportionately targets racial minorities and the poor. The film highlights several difficult issues, concepts, and social conditions—including statistics on the racial makeup of America’s death row population; questionable convictions resulting from mistaken identification; the emotional and psychological toll on those wrongfully convicted; and the lingering effects of the Jim Crow era—or what many have called America’s 20th-century apartheid system—in which lynching functioned as de facto capital punishment.