Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger
America has the world’s highest rate of incarceration, currently 738 per 100,000. Our nearest competitor for this dubious distinction is the Russian Federation with 607 and Cuba with 487. “The US incarcerates at a rate 4 to 7 times higher than other western nations such as the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany and up to 32 times higher than nations with the lowest rates such as Nepal, Nigeria, and India.”
http://www.nccd-crc.org/nccd/pubs/2006nov_factsheet_incarceration.pdf Despite possible protestations that this is because we have the best law enforcement, my sense is that the reasons lie more in the system, than those who enforce it. No one ever lost an election in America because of the perception they “were tough on crime”.
“Race: Black males continue to be incarcerated at an extraordinary rate. Black males make up 35.4 percent of the jail and prison population — even though they make up less than 10 percent of the overall U.S population. Four percent of U.S. black males were in jail or prison last year, compared to 1.7 percent of Hispanic males and .7 percent of white males. In other words, black males were locked up at almost six times the rate of their white counterparts.” http://www.nccd-crc.org/nccd/pubs/2006nov_factsheet_incarceration.pdf
Despite possible protestations that this is because we have the best law enforcement, my sense is that the reasons lie more in the system, than those who enforce it. No one ever lost an election in America because of the perception they “were tough on crime”. “Race: Black males continue to be incarcerated at an extraordinary rate. Black males make up 35.4 percent of the jail and prison population — even though they make up less than 10 percent of the overall U.S population. Four percent of U.S. black males were in jail or prison last year, compared to 1.7 percent of Hispanic males and .7 percent of white males. In other words, black males were locked up at almost six times the rate of their white counterparts.”
These two sets of statistics when viewed together tell a terrible tale of how racial oppression still exists in this country despite our Black President and Black Attorney General. This Administration hasn’t caused of this problem, but they don’t seem to have made any progress dealing with it. We do know that there has been a widespread effort to play down the racial division that continues to plague this country. This continues despite Civil Rights Laws, Martin Luther King’s Birthday and TV beer commercials that always include at least one black male friend enjoying the camaraderie. Clearly there is a disconnect between how we Americans want to see ourselves and the reality for many Black males. I’m focusing on the problem of black males in this piece, rather than the general oppression of Black people, because the effect of this process is a function of the general racist climate of this country and is a major contributor to the continuance of this oppression. There have often been discussions on this blog about the devastating effects of the “War on Drugs” and this quote is illustrative of the tenor of theses discussions. “Nationwide, black males convicted of drug felonies in state courts are sentenced to prison 52 percent of the time, while white males are sentenced to prison only 34 percent of the time. The ratio for women is similar – 41 percent of black female felony drug offenders are sentenced to prison, as compared to 24 percent of white females. With respect to violent offenses, 74 percent of black male convicted felons serve prison time, as opposed to only 60 percent of white male convicted felons. With respect to all felonies, 58 percent of black male convicted felons, as opposed to 45 percent of white men, serve prison sentences”. http://www.civilrights.org/publications/justice-on-trial sentencing.html
It is clear to me that racism exists today in America, despite supposed gains and that this disparity in the treatment of race is not only devastating to Black people, but its continuance is disastrous for our entire society. The degeneration of our political system during the last five decades may not be solely due to racial prejudice, but those who have helped bring it about certainly have used racism to empower their viewpoints, even as their rhetoric has shifted from overt to covert. I’m moved to write this because I believe that unless this problem becomes accepted in our public consciousness, there will be no escape from the downward trend of our nation towards political and economic disaster.
I’ve presented enough evidence of the racialist tendency of our system and the reader either will accept what it suggests, or substitute their own pre-judgments of what these statistics mean. My discussion focuses on how this reality impacts upon Black people in America and thus impacts us all, despite our race and/or ethnicity. What set me off thinking about this was a TV Program called “Our America” with Lisa Ling. The episode was entitled “The Incarceration Generation”. http://www.oprah.com/own-our-america-lisa-ling/our-america-video.html
Personally, this episode brought up an admixture of tears and anger as I watched. It showed the life arcs of some Black males about to be released from prison, the effects on their families of their incarceration and then by their release. The premise, which I endorse, is that this generation of jailed Black men will, and has already impacted on the coming generation of Black men. The message was we must somehow stop this cycle, but the solution to stopping the cycle is not clear macro-cosmically and too slow if change is measured person by person.
As much as I’m prone to pontification, I really can see only one way that this continued racism is ever going to change. To the possible delight of our more conservative and/or libertarian commenter’s, I don’t believe that the first step towards this change would benefit from government intervention via legislation or fiat. While the original issue decided in “Brown vs. Board of Education“, that Blacks and Whites were receiving unequal schooling due to segregation and unequal funding, the general judicial remedy which became School Busing was not only in hindsight a failure, but actually increased tension between races and diminished White support for Civil Rights. It was a decision that tried to solve the problem cheaply, rather than first ensuring that the funding for Black and White (indeed all) schoolchildren was equivalent. How much more elegant to have hoisted the segregationists on their own petard of “separate but equal”, than to have demanded and overseen that they indeed provided equal funding
and support to Black schools. I understand that this was not the remedy being requested in this suit, but looking back it might have been a far more effective strategy. All of the gains in White sympathy for the struggle of Black people for their Constitutional freedom, were negated when the sad results of hundreds of years of slavery was dumped upon the educational systems specifically of the working classes. It resulted in the “Southern Strategy” that got Richard Nixon elected, using code words in place of outright racist rhetoric. Fighting crime became the code for cracking down on Blacks and the upward spiral of the incarceration of Americans began with the inception of the ridiculous “War on Drugs”. When people are steeped in false, bigoted notions of the “other”, reinforced by a corporate media that finds sensationalizing crime garners profits, minds won’t be changed by legislation.
Certainly, steps must be taken to end the “War on Drugs”, to deal with racist law enforcement issues and to ensure that each American, regardless of skin color and/or ethnicity, is afforded equal rights under our Constitution. But first, before any palliatives are presented by our politicians, the problem of America’s continuing racism and its disproportionate effect on Black males must be brought into the open, discussed and hopefully acknowledged. Without that nothing changes since racism cannot be obliterated by enforcement, it merely morphs underground where it nevertheless festers. It is preferable to directly know ones’ enemies by their words, than to have those beliefs covered up.
Among the great ironies of modern America is how bigots have learned to couch their bigotry in terms that are inherently dishonest, yet provide them verbal cover when challenged. At times, among the less controlled public voices like Limbaugh or Beck it, their bigotry comes through, but even then they will cry foul if they are called on it and pretend that charging them with bigotry is absurd and bigoted in itself. When people are accused of “playing the race card”, the accuser is probably racist, knowingly or unknowingly. I think that many refuse to personally acknowledge their own bigotry, knowing rationally it is wrong, yet they find comfort and cover in the hypocrisy of code words and denial, from even themselves.
The other effect of incarceration of Black men disproportionately, is that it then becomes extremely difficult to obtain jobs after their release. As one man put it on the Lisa Ling show “Would you hire a former felon?”. We’ve set up a system where recidivism is the norm for all prisoners and this is mainly because after serving ones sentence, there are far less opportunities to find gainful employment. I know this from personal experience since my father served time for a “white collar” crime before my birth and his whole working/economic life was affected until his death 20 years later. He was White, had a massive vocabulary and a dynamic personality. He could never get credit and a family member had to co-sign in order to get a mortgage for our house. My father earned a good living as a car salesman, but his many attempts at starting his own business was affected by an inability to obtain adequate financing due to his prior incarceration. My father had many advantages over many black men with criminal histories, but the primary one was his skin color
When you perpetuate a system that incarcerates such a large swath of the Black male population, sentences them disproportionately to other racial/ethnic groups and prevents them from going straight after they’ve served their time, you create instability and chaos within the Black community. The evil history of slavery and racism remains with us today. Until we acknowledge the reality of how it perpetuates itself, it will never cease and our country will continue its’ downward spiral of economic disparity and debilitating racial/ethnic tension.
117 thoughts on “The Incarceration of Black Men in America”
I have to disagree that there is a big difference in the terms. Racism is in fact a subset of prejudicial behavior by definition.
prejudice \ˈpre-jə-dəs\, n.,
1: injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one’s rights; especially : detriment to one’s legal rights or claims
2a (1) : preconceived judgment or opinion (2) : an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge
b : an instance of such judgment or opinion
c : an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics
racism \ˈrā-ˌsi-zəm also -ˌshi-\, n.,
1: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2: racial prejudice or discrimination
Contrast with . . .
preference \ˈpre-fərn(t)s, ˈpre-f(ə-)rən(t)s\, n.,
1a : the act of preferring : the state of being preferred
b : the power or opportunity of choosing
2: one that is preferred
3: the act, fact, or principle of giving advantages to some over others
While preference can (but not necessarily) result in prejudice, racism is a consequence of prejudice using race as the determining criteria for differentiating, i.e. prejudice has the negative elements required to form racism whereas simple preference does not. You skated right up to the edge of this distinction when you said ” As All people have their preferences, the difference is stopping or excluding a person from working, living, eating, breathing because of it”, but as a matter of language, I don’t think there is much of a difference in prejudice and racism at all. Where the line really gets blurry is between preference and prejudice. For example, I prefer red heads, but that does not mean I won’t date a blond. That’s a preference. If I preferred red heads and would only date red heads exclusively, that would be a prejudice.
I just have to add; there is a Big difference between being Racist and being Prejudice. As All people have their preferences, the difference is stopping or excluding a person from working, living, eating, breathing because of it. So in order to do this you have to be willing to look at the Subject Matter Clearly
“I’ll bet you’re one of those high metabolism people that can eat anything.”
I wish! lol I have to be careful what pictures of food I look at let alone what I eat. No, that recipe is like a once a year dish. If consumed on a regular basis, I’m pretty sure that M&C variant would quickly be renamed “The Artery Glue Special”. Good luck on the weight loss. It can be difficult during the holiday seasons, but I know what a struggle it can be. My father had a “yo-yo” weight problem after his by-pass surgery, but he finally managed to get it under control. I’m sure you will too.
Like with all things religious, some people don’t follow all the tenets of their religion. Many Jews do not keep Kosher. I don’t, as Gene mentioned, but I grew up in a Kosher home.
“2ndly thinking someone is Racist is not the same as knowing someone is racist, but unfortunately lots of people know other people who are racist but say NO THING about it which in my opinion is much worst and why our nation is in such a state. Racism must be confronted and unfortunately the ones who breed it, will never admit it and will fight tooth and nail in Court to make you prove it.”
I agree. I don’t claim moral perfection, nor am I free of all prejudice, but when it comes to racist prejudice I am adamant. I’ve lost many friends through the years because I couldn’t abide their prejudice ad I don’t regret it.
Sounds like a great recipe, but I’ve got a new heart and don’t intend to screw it up this time around. Great recipe, great fat content and huge amounts of cholesterol. I’ll bet you’re one of those high metabolism people that can eat anything. I’m now trying to lose the twenty pounds I’ve gained since the transplant.
Thank you. I always enjoy your comments and especially the information you bring that rounds out a topic so well.
I was going to say using Bill Bennett as an authority (on anything) is pretty weak, but Mike beat me to it as well as summing up accurately why I think prohibition laws are all ultimately doomed to failure. Since the behavior cannot be eliminated or effectively mitigated by a legal tool (because all current evidence shows that drug laws do not mitigate the negative effects of drugs on society but rather exacerbates them), then a legal tool should not be used to address the problem. Instead, use a paradigm that does have an effect on reducing drug use and mitigating the social costs with less damage done to the social fabric than turning the country into a police state in the name of the Ware on Drugs, namely the combination of education and medical treatment.
I think you are wrong and that your analysis leaves much to be desired, but I shouldn’t have said it like that. My apologies.”
You were somewhat nasty, but had that bothered me I would have replied i kind, so no apology is needed. I think you need to understand the role of a guest blogger here and indeed the purpose of all the articles. While the writer’s opinion is integral to each piece, they are meant to stimulate discussion and not as authoritative tomes. That is why at one point I thanked people for adding weight and depth to my original premise. While all guest bloggers comment frequently on their posts, the real pleasure in the work comes from getting a good discussion going.
“That said, the economic prospects of many in the poorest areas of the United States makes dealing drugs a perfectly rational choice.”
To Puzzling’s quote above you replied:
“No, it’s not. That was the point of Freakenomics. It’s NOT rational. Even getting a steady, low paying job provides more stability, less risk, and (wait for it…) more money.”
I think you ascribe far too much credibility to Leavitt’s work. It is a good read and certainly Dubner is a good writer, but it is a work of “pop culture” economics, about the work of an economist who has come under a fair amount of criticism for his trying to extend economics into all areas of social science. I read the book and enjoyed it but came away vaguely unsatisfied due to its superficiality. Even though I have an advanced degree in a field of social science, Social Work, I am quite dubious as to the use of the term “science” to describe such work. My dubiousness reaches incredulity when we come to Economics, which in my opinion is really a argument between people of various opinions, who marshal studies that are interesting, but shallow and allow their pre-judgments to color their results.
The idea that people who become drug dealers are “not rational” is absurd on its face. Was Henry Ford rational when he endeavored to produce a mass produced automobile, or was Preston Tucker irrational when he endeavored to do the same thing? Ford succeeded, Tucker failed, both were following the myth we know as the American Dream. The American Dream is a myth because it ignores that for every great success in an endeavor there are 100,000 people that fall far short of success. So while many poor Black kids aspire to be the “Big-Time Dealer” driving the BMW, most wind up a “soldiers” in the gang, earning pittances. The “Costra Nostra” follows the same model, as do many legitimate endeavors.
When you are poor, black and living in horrendous conditions, with little hope for your future, you grasp at chimera’s of success. What most poor, Black males have to look forward to based on their experiences is success through sports and crime, with the latter having the possibility of prison hanging over it. To make it on the streets one has to subsume them-self with bravado, or suffer physical punishment. It is silly to think that one becomes a drug dealer through rational choice, or that the other options are even apparent to them. Leavitt’s mistake is not in the fact that probably drug dealing is not as lucrative in the end as a low paying job, but in his assumption that this information is available to those who make the choice to deal drugs. This lack of understanding options is not about intelligence by the way, it is about the perceptions available to those on the bottom of the economic barrel.
“If you legalize drugs, their uses will increase (Bill Bennett did an interesting piece on this the past couple months). And, so will those externalized costs. I don’t dispute the war is expensive, but my prediction is that the societal costs would actually be greater. Now, I don’t know that…but that’s my hunch.”
First of all Bill Bennett, former US Drug Czar under GHW Bush, is an ass with an agenda. His perceptions are not only formed by his moral judgments, but by how he makes his living. Your “hunch” is valueless in the face of real evidence. That evidence is Prohibition. “Wars on Intoxication” simply do not work and in the process form powerful incentives for people to deal in them. The historical truth is that humanity has been using intoxicants for tens of thousands of years and to the extent that we should classify it as normative human behavior. The banning of intoxicants is really based in some religions that do not
believe that humans should lives lives with pleasure across the board.
Banning normative human behavior simply does not work and never has, no matter how severe the penalties. Repeating behavior that thousands of years of history has shown not to work (i.e. legislating morality) is ultimately an act of insanity. This is true of the “War on Drugs”.
Mike: Thanks for letting me know about the Dairy thing. I cant tell you what I thought at first, but I’ll suffice to say, that why Race needs to be talked about.Some people eat M&C as their meal and as some Jewish people I know who had black maids, I’m sure they fixed M&C for them.
2ndly thinking someone is Racist is not the same as knowing someone is racist, but unfortunately lots of people know other people who are racist but say NO THING about it which in my opinion is much worst and why our nation is in such a state. Racism must be confronted and unfortunately the ones who breed it, will never admit it and will fight tooth and nail in Court to make you prove it. If someone brings a Racist to the EEOC nothing happens and IF they can find a lawyer to represent them and they Win; they get less than a white person would get because hell they are Black. Besides that if they win they still will have to sign some sort of privacy agreement saying they wont let other people know how racist, sexist, corrupt a system or organization has become.
3rd Most of the congress are lawyers whose daddy was a lawyer etc making the laws that ensure they will never get caught for their corrupt practises.
4th According to Time magazine from like 1970’s the oldest bones discovered were in Africa and they did a big spread on it which let everyone know we All Come From Africa and then spread out, after parts of the earth broke up etc.
5th How long do judges sit on a Court acting like they dont stuff that’s been going on, because Nobody knows what happened like who was abused, raped, harrassed, etc. It’s gotten to the point most people think Lady Justices is not only Blind, but Deaf, Dumb and also a Blond when She is NOT. What She and Her Gender is this; Severely handicapped, Retarded and Statutorily (by law) Raped from Equal use of the Swift sword of Justice promised US all because of a damn blindfold put upon by her masonic forefathers and brothers.
6th the main reason so many Black men, women, or darker color people are in Jail is because the White Man is Scared. They know whatever they realize what was Taken or Stolen from them; One Day Justice will finally Come Around and get back to them.
7th What would be the consequence if the Bible that was used and them removed from Public views turns out to be Absolutely True and because they Believed A Lie; many poor innocent sheep will Die. The GOP and even the Mormans like Willard Romney always knew Cain was the 1st Black son of Adam and Eve and since than started waiting for some Fat Lady to Sing. But low and behold; as Thomas Jefferson Feared; instead or by a revolutionary Turn of Events; the Fat Lady decided to send Her Evil Lunatic (moonlike) Daughter instead as Satan Risen and Reborn in the Flesh as the Daughter of GOD, sister spirit and wife of Jesus Christ. I said that to says this; Satan Needs a Lawyer for Her Extraordinary Writ of Certiorari asking for Man-Damn-US and Prohibition of them passing gender specific discriminatory laws affecting the Health, Safety, Voting and Welfare of Women. So Tweet me at MrsJesusChrist if you dont believe this story is True & in the Good News Gospel aka the Holy Bible.
To understand how racial prejudice is channeled through the drug wars and the justice system one needs a case study.Either of these books on the Tulia Texas cocaine prosecution scandal can serve as case studies:-
1/ “Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town” by Nate Blakeslee;
2/ “Taking Out the Trash in Tulia, Texas” by Alan Bean
In my post two before this one I messed up the link meant to be to Alan Bean’s friends of justice website. Here is the correct link..
In my preceding post the word “Negroes” should have followed “against”.
For those who want to read further I suggest “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander.
Another source of articles which illustrate the vicious bias of the justice system against is the archives of Alan Bean’s excellent Friends of Justice blog.
I think you are wrong and that your analysis leaves much to be desired, but I shouldn’t have said it like that. My apologies.
“That said, the economic prospects of many in the poorest areas of the United States makes dealing drugs a perfectly rational choice.”
No, it’s not. That was the point of Freakenomics. It’s NOT rational. Even getting a steady, low paying job provides more stability, less risk, and (wait for it…) more money.
If you actually read what was written, it’s pretty obvious that the reference was to those that enter “into the criminal field.” Seriously, go play the race victim-in-waiting card elsewhere.
Frankly, I don’t care much to stop someone from extracting themselves from the gene pool. The problem is that thus far, there has been no way of stopping the external costs or limiting them in any meaningful way. For example, look at the costs associated with alcoholism. They are tremendous, not only in time, productivity, and money, but also lives. If you legalize drugs, their uses will increase (Bill Bennett did an interesting piece on this the past couple months). And, so will those externalized costs. I don’t dispute the war is expensive, but my prediction is that the societal costs would actually be greater. Now, I don’t know that…but that’s my hunch. Let’s also note that the war on drugs itself can be managed better to get better results at lower costs. The typical binary evaluation of “we do or we don’t” is inherently problematic because it forwards a false dilemma. The truth is there’s always a third option: “we do, but we do better.”
I know you’ve said you don’t eat Kosher now, so I’m going to share a M&C variation that would make your cardiologist want to punch me in the face. I call it the “Special Occasion Gorgon Mac & Cheese” and it’s a variation I came up with based on having an excellent example of one the key ingredients: Fresh Gorgon. But it works even better double cream Gorgonzola and you don’t run the risk of being turned to stone. It goes great with steak, lamb chops or pork roast.
Make a standard issue Béchamel sauce and incorporate equal amounts of double cream Gorgonzola and shredded Fontina (ratio 2:1:1). Mix with pasta shape of choice (I suggest cavatappi), cooked al dente. Put mixture in casserole dish. Top with mixture of Italian seasoned bread crumbs and shredded Parmigiana. Bake at 375 for 25-30 min. or until desired browning is reached. Optional toppings include finely chopped oven roasted walnuts (may be added pre-bake) and/or a chiffonade of fresh basil (post baking).
It’s mac and cheese that’s way too good for amphibians, their namesakes or any politician.
Hey Mike; how come you cant have M&C or what ingredient cant you eat? As much as I could let you blame Newt, it wasnt him that asked the question. I think it was Pat Robertson after his cohost interviewed Condellisa Rice who had M&C on Thanksgiving. She was absolutely wrong to lable it a Black thing! I thought she was kidding and would tell him as much but then He went on to say; how He never heard of it before?…. What????? You are right We All are Humans. I heard said; the whole race began in Africa. I might be wrong but I think when anyone uses an attribute to discriminate such as color of skin; its just a way to lable folks, put them in a box; pick the color they want and to make themselves feel more comvrtable.
I’m in my late 60’s.. Back then we had meat at dinner. If you keep Kosher you don’t eat dairy products with meat. Also back then there were no kosher M&C products that I know of as there are today.
I didn’t realize that it was Robertson, not Newt. My mistake but I like Pat even less than I like Newt and I think they’re both racists.
Humanity did begin in Africa, but the problem with racism is it’s not based on evidence, but hatred.
Thanks for the history. Until I started working with Black people, during celebratory office parties, I never realized that macaroni and cheese was a popular dish among them. While we never ate it in
my house, being Kosher, I was familiar with Kraft TV ads and thought it a WASP dish. It has become a quintessentially American dish. For Newt to consider it a “Black Dish” says as much about his contempt for the 99% (since it is so inexpensive) as it does about his racism, which has always been there.
While I shared my distrust of the use of the term “race” in these discussions, I understand that it is ubiquitous at this point, can’t be avoided and must be discussed. I don’t like the reality of having one’s opponents framing the debates language. Jews, my people, are called by some a “race”, even though we are merely an ethnicity and a religion. The eugenicists in the 1800’s and the NAZI’s later, used race as a means of condemnation. The same definitional methods are used here to justify the genocidal activities against Blacks and Native Americans.
It may be ageist to say so, but I’ve always considered macaroni and cheese a grandma thing. They do tend to make it best. However, let’s look at Newt’s claim. If you Wikipedia macaroni and cheese, this is what the entry has to say about the history of the dish:
“Macaroni is mentioned in various medieval Italian sources, though it is not always clear whether it is a pasta shape or a prepared dish. However, pasta and cheese casseroles have been recorded in cookbooks as early as the Liber de Coquina, one of the oldest medieval cookbooks. A cheese and pasta casserole known as Makerouns was recorded in an English cookbook in the 14th century. It was made with fresh hand-cut pasta which was sandwiched between a mixture of melted butter and cheese. It was considered an upperclass dish even in Italy until around the 18th century.
Thomas Jefferson, who called all pasta “macaroni”, is known to have had a pasta maker as early as 1793 and to have served a macaroni pie at the White House in 1802. There are also records of his purchasing, or attempting to purchase, imported pasta after his term as president.
The dish has been popular in the United Kingdom since the Victorian era.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macaroni_and_cheese
Although I knew Jefferson had served it at the White House, I was surprised to find that similar dishes appeared in 14th Century medieval cookbooks. I’ve learned something new today, so it hasn’t been wasted.
But as to Newt’s statement, it displays a lack of culinary and cultural knowledge that can either be attributed to simple ignorance or racism. Given Newt’s history of making racist and bigoted comments (http://mediamatters.org/research/201009130054), I’m going to say his comments deserve criticism for being both racist and ignorant.
I agree with you Mike and I also think the reason the GOP is so hard on President Obama because they know exactly what his election means to so many big, little and medium size black kids. Many of our parents told their children in preparation for living in two worlds that “you’ll have to be twice as good to get half as far” as people like GW Bush. One thing for sure our History shows; when Blacks are just given the chance to compete they outshine the rest. Hopefully the powers that be can admit although GOD made man 1st and all men were created equal, that since GOD created women 2nd that they were created greater and better than men.
One of the things I find difficult about the race discussion is that we are all one human race. Skin pigmentatiotn is not a decider of worthiness. Humans may differ in ethnicity and/or religion, but beyond that there are insignificant differences. We consider the President a black man due to his skin Colorado, yet genetically he is 50% White. It’s all bullshit in my opinion brought about by people seeking power and choosing an “other” group to vilify and victimize.
I understand what you said is true, but its really moot considering all of the privileges allowed to whites and oppression of those who are black is ingrained in US citizens over the age of 20 years old who have not been whitewashed by the media. Most people will claim they are not racist because they dont really know what racism is in the first place. No one should be put down for asking a question like “is macaroni and cheese a black thing”? This country sure could use an honest discussion about it, because that’s the only way to fix it.
I havenot read all comments so apologize if just repeating someone else’s idea.
It seems to me a lot of it is related to the “war on drugs” where a tiny amt of cocaine, etc can get you locked up for a long time, thanks to draconian sentencing laws.
OK; lets face facts, the population of Black and Brown people put in prison was the Whiteman’s way to keep the free labor lost by the end of slavery. Every since then Men with all power to make laws and wars turned their backs on the wills of Abraham Lincoln to keep their sons of guns employed with high ranking government official asskissing jobs. Now the ones who are called monkeys are caged by men who hunt them, wont befriend them or lead them like Tarzan.
I agree with your post Civil War premise about the labor market and incarceration, but I would add that it’s motivation was to keep the inequality of the races as close to slavery as possible. By focussing upon the black male they destabilized the family unit and they have continued to do so ever since. A stable family unit is what has allowed many ethnicities to succeed. By imprisoning the Black man and focussing law enforcement on him, it limits employment possibilities makes illegal activities a viable choice for survival. This process also destroys aspiration by making life seem hopeless. That despite this societally imposed handicap so many Black people have been successful in all fields destroys the myth of their inferiority.
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