“I’m Not Racist, but . . .”

Enough stop racism

I grew up racist. I didn’t understand why. It took me well into adulthood to figure that out. My parents were good people. They raised their children with values. They never talked badly about the black people in our town. We also had some Italians and I heard other people call them Wops and Puerto Ricans were called Spics. There were no Hispanics. No Mexican food. Not even a taco. Looking back I can see that segregation and the lack of blacks and whites mixing socially caused my racism. I was scared to death of black people and there was no one who talked to anyone about this divide.

I grew up in Pa in the 50’s thru the early 70’s then left to go to school. My town had a clear line and white families lived on one side and black families on the other. I learned many years ago that black families couldn’t secure home loans on my side of the line. I remember hearing if a black family were to move into the neighborhood property values would go down because those people don’t take care of their homes and would trash them. “Just take a look at how they live.” But they didn’t own the homes they lived in. They rented from white landlords who felt little need to keep their properties in good shape. They had approval from the government.

I read an article on Moorbay’s Blog, about the fairly recent history of the last 100 years of housing segregation that forced black families to live in substandard housing. Read this article for yourself and learn. It caused me to respond with this post.

I came from a lower income family who didn’t live in the best part of town. My parents worked hard to provide a good home. There was an empty I’ve cream factory across the street and a big park a half block away. Often in the summer black children wanted to play at the park and had to walk through white neighborhoods to get there. They walked down my street. Not my side of the street but stayed close to the factory. They were as scared of us as we were of them. We didn’t call to each or attempt to make friends.  I had never touched a black person and wondered if their skin felt like mine. I wanted to feel their hair. There was no effort to bring the people together. When I say, no effort, I mean absolutely none, ever.

Today many white parents are raising their children to be racist. Maybe not overtly, but by comments inserted into conversations that put white people on a rung that black people don’t deserve, so white kids learn in subtle ways that they are better than others. These kids grow up saying things like, “I’m not a racist, but . . .” and go on to say something disparaging about that race, be it black, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Guatamalen, Honduran and many more. White is superior in their minds.

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Today these kids are recruited on college campuses. Kids repeat what they hear and some become violent adults, like shooting at a teenager who knocked on your door for directions, and the man was a retired firefighter who saved people. A man who lied and said his gun went off accidentally. He couldn’t take responsibility for his actions.

After all this time how can this racism be continually perpetuated and not understood it is wrong. Everyone is human. No one is a superior human. Humanity comes from inside. It doesn’t come from skin color. We all know this so why do we continue to say, “I’m not racist, but . . .”

Since Trump, the rise of hate crimes has become staggering. People can openly hate now and the President of this country has called them ‘good people’ and mocks people of color. They use his show of support at their white nationalist rallies. Any race other than white is disgusting and inferior to this deeply flawed man. White people all over America are sucking it up like babies to a breast. It is nauseating to me.

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Last night my ten year old granddaughter needing a shower said, “At least I don’t smell like a Mexican.” That quickly got my attention. We had talked before about racism and racist comments but she had trouble understanding how she had slandered an entire race of people with her remark. Mexicans stink. “I didn’t mean that!” she said. I told her, “Maybe not, but that is what you said.”

My son works at a boat marina. Hot, sweaty, dirty, smelly work; a mixed race of workers. They joke among themselves calling each other names. They know they’re joking in good nature. My granddaughter overheard. She wasn’t trying to be disparaging but needed to learn if she used that among school friends how wrong it was to say that.

So many of today’s children are rude, undisciplined, smart mouthed and think they have a right to backtalk and argue and cuss at you. It is what they learn at home. Many parents are not teaching their children right from wrong. New racists of all ages are being raised thinking white people should be dominant – because their parents taught them that. I fear it will get much worse.

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Michael Jackson -They Don’t Care About Us

 

michael-jackson-1194269_640When I watched this video today I didn’t remember hearing it before. I wasn’t a die hard MJ fan so although I have heard many songs throughout the years, this one passed me by. Maybe, at that time, it didn’t have the same meaning to me then that it does today. The message is powerful.

The irony, though, is that he is talking about the black man, and the underclass of minorities, yet he did everything he could to alter his physical self to look as white as possible because he didn’t like being black and having black features. He even tried to pass off his whiteness as a skin disease instead of it being what it was – lightened skin – he wanted to be white. To sing a song that says, “They don’t care about us,” never applied to him and his privileges. He never lived as an invisible black man no one cared about. But many do.

Thanks to pushback.com for airing it again. If you don’t already know about this website they publish much about black history I never knew. Having black grandchildren it’s important to me to know so I can teach them. They sure won’t learn it in their classrooms in Texas schools.

 

EJI’s New Museum on Slavery to Prison

 

Enslavement to Incarceration

Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative has been a strong figure in today’s fight for equal justice. In a society that proclaims all men are created equal, many white people have made a mockery of it’s meaning.

When all humans are born they are born with equal possibilities that are crushed through every step of life. If their skin isn’t white, there is no equality. All non European white people learn very early in life they are superior to others. Does that mean they ARE superior? No, but it is shoved down their throat with the same absolute sureness as when people thought the world was flat and they were scared they would fall off if they sailed their ships to close to the edge.

Even when it was proven there was no edge to fall from, many people wanted to believe that truth was wrong. They declared, regardless of the truth, the world was going to stay flat no matter what. They wanted their belief to hold true because they has believed it so long.

Far too many people don’t want to give up the believe they are special and privileged, with superior intelligence; more deserving in any way. Some, like Ben Carson, the “See, I have a token black man in my administration’s cabinet,”  man who was willing to speak aloud the words that tried to make a new truth by saying, “Slaves were really immigrants.” as if they voluntary came to America to start a new life volunteering to be slaves. The fact they were chained lying side by side in the belly of ships, kidnapped from their family and land, dying in their own filth didn’t matter.

Lost forever was any respect the white man thought he deserved over and above any other human of any  race and color. In fact it makes the skin of those white people who believe they deserve privilege,  a boring skin of non color because the ugliness of their nature shows in all aspects of the nature of their life.

I can say these things about my fellow man because I am white. I am ashamed of those people of my race. I am thankful not everyone of my race believes with the ignorance of those who do and that gives me hope.

We see many things of color and exclaim, “Oh, how beautiful. The richness, and warmth of the beauty of color can bring tears to our eyes. Like the opening of a flower, color can warm and melt our hearts. From the music and passion of cultures to the tastes of  exotic mixes of foods. The stories of centuries of history. The children, all with slightly different shades of color – and what do we white people want to do with that?

Kill, enslave, mutilate, rape and incarcerate. Hide it away and make ourselves believe that what we did was . . . okay. We had a right. We were superior in every way. We said it enough until we believed it until we could not see we were ultimately responsible for creating the cause that has led to the death and destruction of any race that challenged any people who dared make the white man understand they are NOT the superior race they think they are.

They are poor. They are lazy. They don’t want to work. They want to suck off the the government’s teat so they can produce more babies and rape us of our hard earned money. Feed them for free.  Clothe them with money from free government checks. They don’t want to go to school. They could rise up if    they wanted to even though our shoes are standing on the back of their necks, face down in the street with a gun aimed to kill if they move a muscle.

This white man has no depth of heart and soul. They have only fake happiness that  comes with acquiring “things” that make them look rich. How empty is that life?  There is no unshakeable, absolute happiness that comes with the sureness of knowing from where you come and who you are.

Too many plastic pale faces trying to ignore the pain the white man inflicted. They want to erase that from  and pretend they didn’t beat, enslave and rape stolen people. That will no longer stand. Later generations stand as new generation of white people still try to manipulate their lives and make it look as though the condition of their lives was caused by them.

Keep trying to put the supposed superior race at the to of the list if you can, but the only way respect can be regained is by embracing the truth of what was done. Elevate their history and make amends for pasts mistakes and apologize by treating each person with the respect they deserve simply for being human. Wipe the arrogant look off your face.

The black man is not yours to use as a tool to create wealth. Our country is failing on many levels because of greed that puts the wealth of the few above the lives of many. Our world can no longer support this way of thinking.

This needs to be a museum of PAST history not current daily life.

Me, A Racist? You’ve Got To Be Kidding!

Letter date – Aug 29th, 2016

Hello mom,

From reading your letter it looks like your hands have been full. You do so much on the computer and I have never messed around on it.  Of course, it was never like it is now. Back in the 90’s we had a computer but we didn’t have internet.

time-cover

I was just reading the new issue of Time magazine you got for me. On the cover was little furry monster with horns, a big grin and a laptop on his lap.  the article speaks about all different websites, what they are used for and so on.  However, the main topic was about the hate in the internet world. It’s everywhere and it’s crazy.  I thought about what you said about me being called a racist and that is why I had no visitors.  Someone had spread rumors about me to people and maybe that is why nobody wants anything to do with me. Could this be the excuse I get now when there is still no visit? Like you, even though I know I can’t change anything with my family I can’t help but still think about it.  it seems as thought there should be a reason I could understand. Maybe I don’t agree with what is said but I don’t have any way to prove that it is not the way I am.

Being accused of being a racist when you know you have never said anything that could be taken as a racist remark makes me very angry. I have no way to defend myself. I can be accused of anything and those stories can be spread. People will believe these stories I am not this young immature man anymore. I am a man who has been through a lot these past ten years.  I have had to take responsibility for my actions and also take responsibility for things I didn’t do and was accused of doing, but I will be damned if I am going to take responsibility for being a racist.

It’s bad enough to be in here in the first place with other “charges” being added to my time.

***************

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Why is a Half White, Half Black Person Always Called Black?

abagond.wordpress
photo source: abagond.wordpress.com

As more years go by the races become more mixed.  Really there aren’t many people who are entirely one race anymore.  Most whites are a combination of at least several different white races.  I am English, German, Irish  and Welsh, maybe more.  But it changes when the races are mixed with dark skin.  Then any other country involved in the DNA disappears and they become just black.  Obama is half white, but people don’t refer to him as white, even though is skin is lighter because of his whiteness. He is only black.  He isn’t our first mixed race president, he is our first black president.  This way the racists have more to feel negative about.  So the white part of him is never talked about.  His daughters are 1/4 white.  Does that not count either?  Does being mixed mean nothing?

Two of my grandsons are half black and half white, with a small part of American Indian, English, Irish, German and Welsh. Doesn’t that count?  Are they only black?  One has lighter skin and one doesn’t.  Jamie has his father’s skin and hair.  I have a half white and half black teenage granddaughter.  Her black side is half African and half Island black.  Her skin is fairly light and has beautiful curly, not kinky hair.  I remember that her mother wanted so much for her to be white.  She had white dolls, not black dolls.  I have another grandson that has enough Hispanic in him that if he is with any number of races he can pass for them.  Now all of my grandchildren have the same percentage of Chactaw Indian in them, too, which is very evident in my daughter because she takes after her grandmother, who isn’t full blood Indian.  It was her grandmother.  But some races are more dominant when the genes are passed.  The black race is very strong genetically; stronger than the white race and so is American Indian.

I have also seen mixed race couples have twins and one comes out white and one comes out black.  What are these kids called, because they both have the same genetics? will one girl have a harder life without the same privileges as the white sister?  How do the introduce them without getting weird looks from people? This is my white daughter and this is my black daughter? How can one daughter have racism directed at her and her blond haired twin have a privileged life – unless she met someone, for any reason who couldn’t handle that there was black blood in her – perhaps the parents of a possible spouse because there would be a pretty good likelihood that she could have a black baby.  OMG!  And there are people who would think that way.

mixed race twins
source credit: snoopes.com

I don’t care if my grandchildren represent multiple races, I refer to them as my grandchildren. But when I show pictures of them to people and I clarify that they are my grandchildren I can see the look they give because it is obvious they are black. but what if I chose to introduce them as my white grandchildren, because they are, after all, just as white as they are black, and Jamie, who is the darkest of the three could very well have white children, too.

To me, the entire subject of racism is absurd because as the years go by it will get harder to separate people by their race.  All of the ugly things white (privileged) people say; like black people are dumber, but it’s not their fault, it’s in their genes (or lack of decent schools and teachers) or that black people have a higher tendency to be criminals or black people do more drugs (statistically proven to be untrue) or black people want more handouts because they are lazy and all the rest of these things that are printed so white people can continue to believe they have a right to be privileged. If black people succeed I often read it is because it was given to them, bot that they earned it.  The horrible things said about Malia Obama when she was accepted at Harvard is a perfect example.

So where is it all going?  I’m in the middle of writing a letter to Jamie at prison.  He wrote to me about the limited information they get about things on the news and wanted to know what was really going on.  I told him, “When you get out, the world will not be what you remember.  You have lived on the outside so little since you were a young boy, so what you remember doesn’t apply to what is happening now.”

That uncertainty must bother him not knowing what he will have to deal with – and knowing so many people are going to be hostile.  The world is changing and not necessarily for the good.  He will have to treat life so carefully to not end up back inside. He won’t have to intend to do anything wrong for someone to take it as such.  He knows that from dealing with the institution inside the gray walls he is locked up in right now. He doesn’t have to do anything to find himself in the wrong.

Yes, I know he is very aware of being racially targeted.  That is how he ended up locked up in the first place.  And being racially targeted, even in juvenile detention,. where being called a nigger by white staff was not unusual.  Of course, a teenager is going to have a temper when he is lied to repeatedly.  Solitary confinement was used liberally to teach these niggers how to behave. No one was going to believe his side of any story.  Black teens grow up knowing they will be lied to, lied about, and will always come out on the wrong end of the stick no matter what they say or do. White people have absolutely no idea what having to live like that is like.  Maybe if they did they would learn not to judge so quickly. White people are NOT special people.  They have just fooled themselves into thinking they are.

Because racism is through the roof with cops, black people  have to worry still about getting killed. Don’t get indignant and insist it isn’t true. It is not the white people who have to fear for their lives from the cops in the same way. Do I have to worry about my grandsons?  Does Jamie have to worry about his half white son. Will my other grandson have to worry have to worry?  Will this boy’s father have to worry? My daughter isn’t worried because she is teaching them respect, but who is teaching the cops to have respect?  I don’t see that happening.  Who is teaching the judges to have respect who refuse to convict a cop when he murders yet another dark skinned person and uses the phrase, “I was afraid for my life, so I thought I’d better shoot him in the back before he turns around and tries to hurt me with the gun he isn’t carrying. Statistics about cop killing people have not been gathered in any kind of consistent manner until now.  It is being fought for now. We need to know what is happening.

WHEN JAMIE IS RELEASED FROM PRISON

When Jamie gets out of prison, what will his world look like?  How will he be treated?  This hate that has been unleashed by Donald Trump who has whipped up his supporters into a frenzy of hate has made it okay for people to take matters into their own hands and shoot people they think is okay to shoot.  When I think back to the history of Germany, did the German people just wake up one day and hate Jews?  No. They had a leader who worked them and blamed them.  He told his white Christian followers they were the privileged chosen race that God intended and he was such a devout Christian.  Religion was used to pit people against people.  This is what is happened with the Christians in this country.  They are special.  God loves them.  Trump tells them over and over that hate is good.  How do we put hate back in the bottle after the election?

Jamie wants to have a good life. Will he be allowed? He wants to help others to not have a life behind bars.  He wants to be a father to his son.  He wants to go to school.  He wants a chance. Will he have that chance? Will the United States come to it’s senses before it reaches a point where it is impossible before it ruins my family, and many other families. It took a long time for me to understand what it meant to not be white.  I didn’t know I had privileges that everyone didn’t have.  I didn’t know I was “special”.  I didn’t feel special, but the cops know I’m special.  Growing up I knew I was different, but I didn’t know it came with privileges.  That only makes me feel shame that some of my grandchildren are not privileged like me.  It should make you feel shame, too.

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David Snape Show 2 (4.4.16)

I did an internet radio show on the David Shape Show about the US prison system, Jamie Cummings and how he deals with epilepsy in a system that doesn’t care about medical care for the inmates.  When you go to the show it is quite long, a little over two hours. If you move the bar ahead one hour and twenty minutes it should be shortly before the interview starts.

We also talked about the youth in juvenile detention and how children are treated in schools using cops for discipline instead of detention, and putting handcuffs on them and seating them in the rear seat of a patrol car.

We talked about the book I’m writing about Jamie’s life, “Inside The Forbidden Outside”. You can find chapters on the blog. It’s more than half done and the editing process has begun.

We also discussed the piano music I’m writing for the book which will be included inside the back cover. At the end of the show one of my more recent pieces will be played.

This is the first of hopefully more media I will be doing over time to advertise the book that I hope will lead to being able to lecture on the prison industry. When Jamie is finally released he will be able to join me. He wants to work with the youth using his life as an example, in hopes of being able to turn their lives around before they, too, end up in the system. One in three black males end up in prison. Contrary to racist belief it is not because crime is in their genes. It is because of government pushing the War of Drugs on to black men’s shoulders making you believe through the media that they are dangerous.

Kids don’t understand the ramification of their choices until it’s too late. When someone has been incarcerated for a long time, and Jamie has been locked up for 14 years counting time in juvenile detention. Unfortunately, the four years in juvy was not because he committed a crime. It was because he defended his mother from a cop who illegally entered their home. He injured his mother and she was taken to the hospital by ambulance. He hit the cop with a broom. It cost him the rest of his high school years and four years of his life.

This story needs to be shared. Unfortunately, it happens far to often to too many black youth. I am asking for you to please share this on your own social media. The success of the book will be determined by how well this info gets pushed through sites on the web. It bring so much encouragement to Jamie as he sit in his cell 23 hours a day, working his way again, up through the levels. He has received letters from some of you. Knowing someone cares enough to write matters more than you know.

Thank you for tuning in to the show. Let me know what you think.

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David Snape Show - Bourne and Beyond

On the show, we look back at the career of Ronnie Corbett. Why both the UK steel industry and Qatar’s World cup are in tatters. And can Rihanna make it 3 weeks in number 1 in the Itunes Power rankings?
All that plus this weeks post of the week: What Am i reflecting by Nancy Ruminski.
This weeks new artist showcase: The Ellipsis, Robyn Sherwell and Mt.Wolf
Two interviews: one with last week’s new artist showcase star, Salix Willow. And Sonni Quick with one of the most hardhitting interviews we have ever done, talking about the US prison system and Jamie Cummings who has epilepsy and how he’s been treated in there.

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Reflections, Caused by the Late Disturbances in Charleston: “White men will be as cheap as slaves.”

It was said it was beneficial to get rid of the black man because if there were too few to revolt then they would be saved from being caught and tortured – so it was for their own good to be removed – unable to earn a living in a trade a white man would enjoy. The more I learn, the more ashamed of my race I become, because it is these men who destroyed lives. This deep-rooted racism eats away their decency. Their objective is to keep the black man down – remove him from caring for his family.  Continue slavery in the prisons.  How dare the black man assume they are on the same level of intelligence as the white man! So sad that there are still vast numbers of men who still think the same way

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Art by Rob Goldstein

Reflections, Occasioned by the Late Disturbances in Charleston

Denmark Vesey, (1767 – July 2, 1822) was a free black and former slave in Charleston, South Carolina.

Vesey was one of the founders of the AME Church.

Vesey had many followers among the mostly enslaved blacks in the Second Presbyterian Church, which became the independent AME African Church.

The congregation represented more than 10% of the blacks in Charleston.

Vesey compared the freeing of slaves in the South to the story of Exodus.

Vesey gained the support of slaves and free blacks throughout the city and beyond.

Thousands of slaves pledged themselves to the cause.

Vesey and his followers planned to kill white slaveholders throughout the city and liberate the slaves.

One of the slaves who was approached to join the rebellion told his master who informed the Mayor who organized a citizen militia.

Vesey was captured and sentenced to death.

Before his execution…

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The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration

I read this article in the Atlantic before I saw this post. If there are still people out there who choose to believe the atrocities done to the black race were okay because they think they are better because they are white – then I do feel sorry for them. It is that kind of negativity toward another man that eats away at their humanity causing a cancer to grow. It is time to stop that cancer and respect all life. I say that knowing it probably isn’t possible. There are people who simply enjoy wallowing in their negativity. These people are too damaged and too unhappy to ever be able to change.

What that means is more people who understand – more white people – need to stand up and be counted. It’s not good enough to silently tell yourself it isn’t right what we continue to do to black families. It’s not good enough to say it isn’t your fault – you didn’t do it. You need to be vocal. You need to tell your friends and your politicians it has to stop.

The media has portrayed the black man as being more dangerous – of having a greater tendency to commit crimes. When the media – owned by one of several white corporations tells you that over and over, in your mind it becomes truth.

The rest of us need to stand up and say “ENOUGH!”

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The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration

American politicians are now eager to disown a failed criminal-justice system that’s left the U.S. with the largest incarcerated population in the world. But they’ve failed to reckon with history. Fifty years after Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family” tragically helped create this system, it’s time to reclaim his original intent.

Never marry again in slavery.— Margaret Garner, 1858Wherever the law is, crime can be found.— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 1973

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Game – Playing History 2 – Slave Trade – Disgusting

slave trade computer game
This morning my husband showed me a computer game he saw being advertised on Steam – an engine that sells and plays computer games. It is made by Playing History From EU – (European Union) My jaw literally dropped. Maybe because it wasn’t made in America they could get away with it. To make and sell a GAME about enslaving another race, especially because it is a direct hit on our history is a slap in the face on a very high number of our population who have grandparents and great grandparents in their families who were slaves. How would people feel if they made a GAME out of being a Jew during the holocaust and see how many you can send to the gas chamber? What is the difference” In SLAVE TRADE a young black boy finds out his sister has been captured and is going to be raped. He needs to try to save her.

slave trade computer gameDo you think this depicts the conditions on a slave trade? Do you see any dead bodies? Why don’t they show them being thrown overboard when they die, or is that a little too real?

slave trade computer game

This is the synopsis the game makers put out: Travel back in time and witness the horrors of slave trade first hand. You will be working as a young slave steward on a ship crossing the Atlantic. You are to serve the captain and be his eyes and ears. What do you do when you realize your own sister has been captured by slave traders?

slave trade computer gameOne of the White man’s proudest moments!

slave trade computer gameBuying human flesh.  Gee lets have fun!  How much money can we make today?

slave trade computer gameThis is where his little sister gets caught by slave traders. I know there have been many movies made about this part of history, but no one has ever tried to make fun and games, a way to entertain yourself.  So tell me folks how does this game grab you?  Does it make you want to go out and buy it so you to can pretend to be a slave trader, too?

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Yep, Slavery is Still Legal – The 13th Amendment

13th amendment

 

Stop slavery

Jamie’s last letter also has a newspaper article included with that title. Parts of the article resonated with him and he underlined those places. Because he is living through what this newspaper is writing about it must have resonated fairly strongly with him. He carefully tore out the article to send to me.  I think it came from a USA Today by Jim Liske, the president of Prison Fellowship.  I don’t know the date except that it is fairly recent.

“13th AMENDMENT – Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted shall exist within the United states, or any other place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Black vs White death penaltyWhen slavery was abolished there were many ways it could be worked around by increasing what was a crime for black people. The most glaring was the death penalty. There was only one crime that would send a white man to death row – Murder. Not so for the black man. There were dozens of crimes that would get him hanged. When we look at our prisons today and see the percentage of white vs black not much has changed.

A compilation of newspaper articles of glaring racial discrimination startingin 1961, which still exists today in the form of “white privilege”.  An interesting read by the Equal Justice Initiative – A History of Racial Injustice –  http://racialinjustice.eji.org

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/race-and-death-penalty

“On Sept 15, 1963, the bomb that killed four girls at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala, showed America just how far we had to go to fulfill the promise of justice and equality for all, even a century after the 13th amendment ended slavery. Half a century after the bombing, the struggle is not over, in part because language in that same amendment still undermines the equal humanity of more than 7 million Americans who have been convicted of a crime

Ratified at the end of the Civil War, the amendment abolished slavery with one critical exception: Slavery and involuntary servitude actually remain lawful “as a punishment for crime”. In other words, according to this punishment clause, with the wrong controlled substance in your trunk,  there is nothing in the 13th amendment to ensure you won’t be considered a slave of the state. The language was ambiguous enough to be grossly abused. Son the clause was being used to reinstate slavery under another guise.

In 1866, just a year after the Civil War, a black man convicted of theft in Maryland was advertised for sale in the newspaper as punishment. The word “vagrancy” was code for being young, black and unemployed -could yield similar results.

Decades later famed abolitionist Frederick Douglas described how the widespread “convict lease system” exploited the punishment clause “States claim to be too poor to maintain state convicts within prison walls, Hence the convicts are leased out to work for railway contractors, mining companies and those with LARGE FARMING PLANTATIONS.” These companies assume control of the convicts, work them as cheap labor and pay the states a handsome revenue for their labor. Nine-tenths of these convicts are negroes.” So many blacks were behind bars because law enforcement tended to target them.

Importantly, Supreme Court decisions ensured no one today is sentenced to actual “slavery” as a form of capital punishment but Douglass’ critique still rings true. Black men are incarcerated six times the rate of white men, thanks in part to uneven enforcement and sentencing in the “war on drugs”. While drug use rates vary little among the races, people of color stand a much better chance of being searched, prosecuted and convicted than whites and government studies have shown they serve longer sentences.”

Whenever corporations have taken over any institution and it became “for profit”, quality went down and prices went up. Two other good examples of this is education and medical care. The prisons became an excellent source for free, or nearly free labor. There are so many American corporations as well as foreign corporations who benefit from this. There is a lot of talk on the internet about lowering the prison population. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. I don’t believe it will amount to much. All corporations have stockholders to appease. Arrests may go down but sentences will go up. Our government has 20 year contracts with the corporations that run the prisons. That contract demands 90-100% capacity or they will have to pay the corporations money per empty bed that could amount to millions of dollars.

Slavery never ended. It’s time we do something about it. It is an ugly side of America.

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