Saturday, December 13, 2008

WEEK 13: Incarceration and Slavery

From the beginning of this country, the people in power have been trying to keep people of color locked down and under close watch. From slavery to the prison industrial complex to urbanization, all help the government keep a close watch on people of color and in a way, keep them locked up. A fact that a lot of people might not know is that prisons didn't come about until right after slavery was abolished. Coincidence, I think not.

It went from black folks being slaves to being forced into chain gangs, which eventually evolved to actual prison complexes. All of these excuses for the people in power to keep people of color oppressed. Our country always talks about how much we need to get out of this economic drought and how our society is in a horrible place right now, but yet they continue to spend millions and millions of dollars just to make sure the people of color are kept in prison. It seems like our governments motives are selfishly driven than economically driven. If they really wanted to save our economy, they would spend money educating kids before they get old enough to go to prison, and they would use the billions of dollars spent on incarceration and war and put it into our country. It seems to me that the government would rather win a self-moraled victory by keeping people of color locked up than win a victory for our country by using money in a different way.

It seems like every century, we find a way to break the oppression, than a couple years later, the people in power find a way to oppress us again. After slavery was abolished they came up with chain gangs and prisons. Then as segregation and Jim Crow became closer to ending, they came up with urbanization. They moved all the people of color into the urban centers not for any purpose but that it would be easier for the government to keep a close watch on us. It was sort of like a diaspora within our own country. Now people of color who live in urban centers face constant surveillance from cops, for no reason but just to keep watch, as if they are predicting that something illegal is going on. Sounds pretty stereotypical to me. It isn't even the government who runs prisons, it is private corporations. This basically made the prison industrial complex a business that makes money, and that people can invest in. So basically, the more people the prison held, the more money the owners of these corporations made.

The penalty for crack, the poor man's cocaine, is now a lot worse than that of cocaine. Coincidence that crack is running through the urban streets where yes, people of color live. Illegal drugs kill about 11 thousand people per year while cigarettes, alcohol, and pharmaceutical drugs kill near a million. The government works in mysterious ways, and every way they work is a way that is trying to oppress people of color. Our country continues to deny it, but all their agendas seem to work against people of color.


Ahma Daeus said...

The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons

The criminal indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney and his crime partner Ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is yet another sad and shameful indictment of the corrupt and supremely arrogant Bush administration. These injudicious hypocritical bullies are not above the law; they need to be held accountable for the innumerable unconscionable lies they have continuously fed the American people. However, as one of the founding members of The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP) I have to admit, I could not be happier about this generous and unprecedented gift the Vice President and his sidekick have made in support of our efforts to abolish private “for profit” prisons in America. It is in this spirit that I extend my immeasurable thanks and appreciation to Vice President Cheney and his #1 inhibitor
Ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for their unspoken proclamation highlighting both, the reason and the unquestionable need for Congress to dismantle, deregulate and ultimately abolish the immoral and criminal private “for profit” prison business in America. In light of the details surrounding Cheney’s criminal indictment on charges for prison profiteering, the government is really without choice, -ethical choice anyway- in how it chooses to address this atrocious dilemma. The beacon light of truth shining on this cancerous two-headed monster as a result of the Cheney indictment clearly reveals that the original blueprint used to erect this shameless industry was an inherently flawed malignancy, rooted in greed. This sordid, and contemptible private "for profit" prison system must be terminated immediately. It cannot be repaired, treated, or cured. Our only hope of surviving this contaminated darkness begins and ends with the surgeon’s tool. In fact, resolution demands and urgently calls for the scalpel. This immoral industry is a lethal toxin whose existence annihilates the possibility of impartial and uncompromised justice. It is a proponent and perhaps, the chief agent for “legalized slavery” in America. These “thieves in the temple” rob our nation of moral integrity and our association with them makes us complicit in compromising any hope for being or becoming a just and democratic society. There is no cure for this cancer that threatens and promises to destroy the infrastructure of our justice system. Only the surgeon’s tool can save us. It is na├»ve to believe that we have options; we cannot question what we know. This is a challenging moment for our nation, a moment which compels us to remind our government that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the guiding light and moral conscience of the land. The sword of justice must be raised to a higher level and the blow we administer must be swift and mighty – as mighty as our collective destiny and the burning desire we possess to fulfill it, as one nation, one government, of the people, by the people and for the people.



Add your voice To Abolish Private -for profit- Prisons Visit:

Samantha Loen said...

This post was outstanding! The video needs to be shown in classrooms. Although it is so sad and infuriating that this is going on, that fact of the matter is, it is!! It needs to be dealt with. You can have a black man in prison for ten years for selling cocaine and a white man in prison for three years on rape charges and no one will think twice. When are americans going to open their eyes and face the fact that we are a white supremist, oppressive nation on a whole. Our whole system is set up to cater to the white man and oppress the black man. If we cant have slaves, you can bet your ass we will throw every black man we can in prison and make as much money as we can off of them while they are in there. these peole have families and lives just like everyone else. When is the American society going to stop taking that away. Open your eyes America... its time for a change.

ledholm said...

I'm still shocked at how prisoners are exploited and forced to work while incarcerated. Unfortunately, I grew up pretty naive about prisons, assuming that everyone in prison was there because they were a "bad guy" and had hurt someone, never knowing that the legal system was being exploited in this way. Until more people are educated about what is really going on, this atrocity is going to continue, allowing for whites to get away with heinous crimes with minimal punishment, and forcing marginalized groups into more oppression.

LNFAW said...