Amistad Reviewed

One knows that eyes can be deceiving and one can observe this practice take shape through the judicial systems sway of opinions. As stated by John Quincy Adams in the movie Amistad, You know what they are...what you dont know is who they are. This quote reigns true in the sense that the classification of justice is determined by what is presented upfront henceforth making the internal details secondary or obsolete. This characteristic of justice can be associated with the trait of blindness. The only way to escape this physical blindness is to further analyze the evidence put forth, initiate a clean bias or unbiased state of mind, and create a greater comprehension of human beings internally.

To begin, the reason many hasty decisions are made, especially in the field of Justice, is because of the idea that physical truth is enough evidence. This is where this assumption leads to the concept of blindness. Since physical evidence provides ones eyes with actual or concrete objects, it is bound to be seen as a reliable source which is where the deceiving takes place. The thing about physical evidence is that it is not hard to forge or manipulate. When viewing said evidence, one would have to understand and further analyze the evidence being presented, for one can never be sure about what is true and what is not which is also the deciding factor in whether or not justice can truly see. For example, in the movie, Amistad, the viewer was showcased a scene in which papers of the slave count on board the Amistad were exhibited to the court. It stated that a significantly smaller number of slaves were present on the ship despite the fact that hundreds of slaves were transported to and fro from different slave locations and fortresses such as the Lomboko. Since this piece of paper indicated a more concrete piece of evidence rather than a state of mind or pure common knowledge, it had more authority thus increasing the edge the Spaniards had and further blinding the court.

Next we have the idea of biased ways of perceiving information. As previously stated, Slavery was an industry of the time that was at its prime and definitely seen as a source of economic supremacy. One can identify as to why justice may have turned a blind eye to the releasing of potential income in a period where money depended on labor. Justice is a topic that is initially supported by the concept of fairness and equality as showcased in the phrase, Innocent until proven guilty, yet in the sense of the Amistad, this concept seemed to be non existent or of little relevance. When and only when Justice initiates/ fulfills the duties previously stated, can there actually be a clear comprehension and vision as it applies to rulings and accurate judgements.

Lastly we have the concept or realization of the human being. Human beings, despite race, ethnicity, religion, gender, origin, etc., are still humans all the same. Unfortunately in the field of Justice, that is not always true. This concept ties back into the idea of bias states of mind, for Justice only sees what is static not what is dynamic or of actual depth. In Amistad, John Quincy Adams discusses the heroism displayed by Cinque aboard the Amistad ship. Consequently, it is not initially seen as such due to his skin tone and origin, but through conversations with said Cinque, Adams was able to identify the quality that may have been overlooked which is that of an actual human. This, however, brings forth the idea of who Cinque really was, for he along with La Amistad, according to, are not documented. In order to truly appreciate and commence this concept of Justice, Adams and anybody else would have had to have someone to represent. Although Cinque was not in the databases of, there was still hope of his existence through the vessel, Jesus Maria. I would argue that this ship would represent that of La Amistad, for with the information presented by the movie and detailed research from and, I was able to identify some fairly unique similarities. Both ships arrived in Sierra Leone, were meant to arrive in Cuba, had a slave uprising, were sent to a court, and were disembarked in the Americas. Unfortunately, still had no source of information dating back to the idea of Cinque, or his Africcan name, Sengbe Pieh, which led to some controversy debate as to if Cinques presence was even documented even though other sources indicate his significant role in the freeing of his fellow tribe.

As a further thought, despite the presence or lack of presence of Cinque or LA Amistad, the idea of Justice being able to truly visualize rather than seeing still lives on. The events that occurred on the said La Amistad, or Jesus Maria, and even afterwards, with the continuous trials, showcase a side of Justice that is blinded by what they initially perceive, but through further analyzing, unbiased mindsets, and internal human comprehension, justice can actually come to a point where seeing clearly can be a reality.



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