So my friend put me on to this article that truly appalled me.
The main take away of the article is that there are more black men in prison today than there were enslaved in 1850.
Now let’s be clear, there are some circumstances that make this fact more realistic. One mainly being that the population of African Americans is higher than it was over 150 years ago. But black males make up about 40% of the prison system, while I don’t believe we even make up 15% of the population in this country.
The author behind this information suggest much of this imprisonment is the result of the War on Drugs and its clear to those who have done the research that there is a bias in certain punishment for crimes usually perpetrated by blacks as opposed to whites (ex. The great crack v. cocaine debate and their differing prison sentences). Now I could go deeper and write a dissertation on why I believe more black men are incarcerated than ever before (the effects of slavery, one parent homes, economic injustice, slave mentality- take your pick) but I just want to focus in on the effects of this statistic.
1) Prison has the same effects as slavery; most importantly one becomes disenfranchised. With so many behind bars and the fact that we have lesser numbers, it is more important than ever that the few of us who can, vote. The 2012 Presidential election isn’t so far away…
2) Continued rise in low numbers of black women reaching the alter and kids having a biological father in their lives. (That’s assuming you are only interested in dating within your race, if so, the outlook can be cloudy with a chance of rain). How encouraging is it to say that you’re dad is in prison?
3) Continued overall lower education of a group which naturally leads to less socio-economic power and, for many, crime/prison.
4) Growing pattern of stereotyping and racism. Because as we all should know, if something is done enough times by a person or a group, the expectation will become that many members of this group are similar.
I work in an aspect of civil rights and matters regarding discrimination often plague my brain. I watch the news and hear about how two black men murdered another pizza delivery guy for $13 and I ask myself why? Our ancestors fought and died for our freedom yet it seems many are voluntarily, for no righteous reason, putting themselves back into that same type of system.
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