“Arguably the most important parallel between mass incarceration and Jim Crow is that both have served to define the meaning and significance of race in America. Indeed, a primary function of any racial caste system is to define the meaning of race in its time. Slavery defined what it meant to be black (a slave), and Jim Crow defined what it meant to be black (a second-class citizen). Today mass incarceration defines the meaning of blackness in America: black people, especially black men, are criminals. That is what it means to be black.”
― Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
“I contend that the cry of “Black Power” is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.”
— Dr Martin Luther King Jr. on 60 Minutes Interview, 1966
Mass incarcerations which are strong symptoms of the prison industrial complex are extreme problems in America. We must come to grips with this and understand the lack of sound judgment in putting people away for nonviolent offenses and also anyone who is a first-time offender. It can also be said as well, the nature of the crime doesn’t justify the disposition of the case to the matter or longer sentence for less advantage people. Are these the answers of an empathetic yet logical society?
If you choose for this to be an asset in constructing and reaffirming law and just order then we need to look at ourselves as an authoritative driven society with the affection for a militarized police force. Then the last question is–are you looking for a new world such as a progressive society with goals of life or do you model towards a prison world?
The prison industrial complex, to put it in its crassest term, is a system of industrial mass incarceration. So there’s what you call bureaucratic thrust behind it. It’s hard to shut off because politicians rely upon the steady flow of jobs to their district that the prison system and its related industries promise.
“You can kill someone in Kentucky and be eligible for parole in 12 years, but we have people in jail for marijuana sales for 55 years, life, 20 years, 25 years. We’ve gone too far in all of this and then when you add up the numbers, even the white kids and black kids use marijuana at about the same rate and in national surveys the arrests and incarceration rate is four times greater for black males than it is for white males.”
-Rand Paul (KY Senator-Republican)
“I believe that there will be ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those who do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the system of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don’t think it will be based on the color of the skin…”
― Malcolm X