Vulnerable Populations in the United States

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A Summary of the Book: The Divide: American Injustice In The Age Of The Wealth By Matt TaibbiIn Matt Taibbis book The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth, the author sheds light on the injustices that face the less fortunate people in the United States. Inequality in the provision of justice is highly experienced because the rich walk freely even after committing crimes whereas the poor are charged and sentenced. In most instances, the rich are assumed to be innocent and bribe their way out as opposed to the poor who are seen to be guilty of any crime they are charged with. The justice system is seen to favor wealthy white Americans and oppresses the minority mainly based on race and financial status.

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In the book, Taibbi looks at the society in the perspective of moral decay and unhealthiness because; institutions such as the court seem to worship the wealthy and successful men. On the other hand, the same organizations despise the poor by viewing them as failures and losers. Therefore, the rich steal more and walk out through the corridors of justice while the poor go to jail because of petty crimes. These acts, therefore, bring a divide in population due to inequality (Gordon, 2016).

To shed more light on the split of justice dispensation between the rich and the have-nots, Taibbi takes us through some of the instances which depict how different people and institutions are treated when it comes to justice. Some of these cases include HSBC bank which was let scot free after being found guilty of laundering huge sums of money belonging to drug cartels and also working with banks founded by criminals who financed terrorism. Because of the high income generated through fraud and illegal dealings, the banking corporation opted to pay a civil penalty of 1.9 billion dollars and no one was charged after that (Gordon, 2016). This instance is a clear indication of how justice can be bought.

Andrew Brown, a black man, was struggling to lead his life on the right path because he had been encountered with law breaking and drug charges in the past. Despite his efforts to change his way of life, the police found him outside his apartment as he was talking to his neighbor and accused him of obstructing the movement of pedestrians. Brown found this accusation so outrageous and tried to retaliate as he found nothing wrong in standing outside his apartment and talking to a neighbor. After several consultations with lawyers, they advised him to plead guilty and accept the fine. Since Andrew is a black man from the low-class, he was charged with obstructing the pedestrians as opposed to the whites who could not be charged with such petty crimes.

In the book, a story of Ann Marie who is a teacher is also reviewed. Ann was not able to catch the bus on her way home and was halted by the police and accused of prostitution. The police said that she was trying to get attention and lure people to get involved in her business. Ann explained that she was from the spa and even proved her allegations by producing a receipt which was then taken from her. This was the only evidence she had and so became more vulnerable to the charges when taken to court. She tried to retaliate, but more charges were laid against her. The police use the power bestowed upon them to harass and oppress the less fortunate instead of serving them with due diligence (Gordon, 2016).

In the book, therefore, poverty is seen to have been criminalized. The poor and the blacks are the ones targeted by the justice institutions and afterward sent to prison while those engaging in the white color crimes are viewed as heroes because they bribe their way out. People in the banking institutions commit felonies, but they end up paying civil fines to offset the charges. This means that they will continue with their criminal activities while the poor will always end up in prison and a majority will remain more inferior.


Gordon, G. (2016). Matt Taibbi, The divide: American injustice in the age of the wealth gap. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology.

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