When he is faced with a trial which could cause him to lose his freedom and a promising future he decides to write on what’s happening, with the hope of turning it into a movie. His reason for doing so is to show how racial prejudice so often affects courtroom decisions.
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The first evidence of theme comes from page 79: “It’s on how the jury sees the case. If they see it as a contest between the defense and the prosecution as to who’s lying, they’ll vote for the prosecution.” (Myers, pg.79). It should be noted that when contesting the question as to who is telling the truth, then the prosecutor will win without a doubt because they are already prejudging Steve according to color and the false accusations against him. Steve is now marked as a “monster”. This characteristic enforces the theme, as the courtroom prosecutors try to influence the jurors to believe that Steve is a terrible person, based on the criteria that he is a young African American male who is committed the crime of murder.
In addition to his courtroom testimony, in his jail narrative near the middle of the book, he states, “What did I do? I walked into a drug store to look for some mints, and then I walked out. What was wrong with that? I didn’t kill Mr.Nesbit.” (Myers, Pg.140) Most people who are found to be at the wrong place and at the wrong time wouldn’t be faced with a trial of life or death on their hands. Steve was just there to get some mints, and merely the fact that he is young, African American, and living in the Bronx made him a pray for this case. He leaves the store with no further actions taken, however, Steve ends up being accused as a killer. Steve is sixteen in the entirety of the book, and he is just like everyone else going to school in his city: He played sports, and he liked to have fun with his friends. On page 248, O’Brien states “And tell me, how many young black men went into that drug store that day and walked out? Were they all guilty of something?” (Myers Pg.248). Conveying this quote suggests how the prejudice against the young and vulnerable African American teens in the Bronx affects courtrooms today, by displaying the fact that this minority of people are the first to be arrested as culprits. The theme of racial prejudice affecting courtroom decisions was depicted in the case of Steve Harmon, however, fortunately, his case turned out well.
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