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Black Boys and Prison

Essay by   •  March 29, 2012  •  Essay  •  421 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,677 Views

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In the past few years there has been an increase in scholarship that critically studies the conspicuous rates of blacks and Latinos in the U.S. prison system. These leading scholars contend that the laws and policies in place to maintain the subjugation of black and Latino inmates mirror the conditions of slavery and Jim Crow. Due to the undisputable fact that America's prosperity is and has always been grounded in free labor and capital as shown in the institution of slavery, sharecropping, convict leasing, and the mass incarceration of black bodies.

Due to the blood work of blacks and many other minority groups, America was able to stabilize itself as the superpower it arguably is today. Hence, the success of white men in executive suites is dependent on prisons and other slavery-imitating systems that have become naturalized in American society. To confine colored bodies to use for profit, prisons (corporations) depend on racialized assumptions of criminality to assure the "safety" of the populace (white majority) - such as images of black welfare mothers ('welfare queen') producing criminal children (young black men). The conflict at hand is that the racialization of crime did not disappear as the country became more removed from slavery; instead it has been upheld by racial profiling and other racist practices in arrests, sentencing patterns, and even the education system.

Furthermore, mass incarceration is being used as a solution to the vast array of social problems. Prisons are undeveloped and out-of-date applications that deal with social problems; and are protected by the pervasive racist and classist psyche of American society. In fact, there are more people with mental disorders in prisons than in mental institutions. Therefore, the problem at hand is not the so-called crime rates but instead it's the prison industrial complex which has created a cycle of punishment where the impoverished stays disadvantaged.

The culture of crime for young black men is that it's not if they'll be locked up, but when. In addition black America has become a part of the problem in our complacency with the matter. This is a result of being us products of a larger society that is anti-black. A part of what I'm enquiring is: where does the young black male play in all of this? How does the education system nurture black boys for jail? How has this internalization of criminality and inferiority aid in the complacency of black America? What is the history of the government's racist stabilization of black communities? And finally, are prisons obsolete? If so, why?

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