Mythbusters: Mass Incarceration

For most of the 20th century the prison population in the United States remained below 300,000 prisoners. By the year 2000 the population rose to over one million prisoners. When numerically compared to other western nations, the US prison population rises to the top. The racial disproportion in prison populations is unmistakable; African American men make up 39% of the prison population though they represent less than 12% of the total adult male population. (Bobo and Thomson, 2010). The heavy presence of incarceration in the United Sates might seem to reflect high crime rates and a successful police force, where … Read more

Mass Incarceration: Not Just a Social Problem

https://www.flickr.com/photos/breadfortheworld/21685440474

Today when we talk about mass incarceration, many people may think that we are talking about a social problem. Yes, it is a big social problem, since America has become the country with highest incarceration rate for years, which is much higher than the incarceration rates of all other western industrial countries. Although each year the United States federal and states government spends about 70 billion dollars on incarceration, some prisons like which in Texas and California still got overcrowded as there are too many prisoners. However, people often put too much attention just on the population and life quality … Read more

Not the First, Not the Last

Stephon Clark is not the first Black man to be shot and killed for posing an imaginary threat to the nearby community. Unfortunately, he will most likely not be the last person of color to fall victim to police brutality and ignorance. The police officers claimed that Clark was facing them and seemed dangerous and like he was holding a gun. Contradictory to their statements, the autopsy report says Clark was shot from the back 8 times. In past police shootings, the court has typically sided with the officers when there is clear evidence that the officers shot because they … Read more

Common’s New Album is Anything But

This week, the rapper Common released an album titled Black America Again. It’s genius. Pure activist genius, right before Election Day. His music is complex and interesting, his lyrics exploring the nuances of systemic racism in the United States. He focuses on an array of issues, including mass incarceration, the injustices occurring in Flint, Michigan, and cultural stereotypes, which marginalize people of color and perpetuate systemic inequality. “The Day Women Took Over” highlights the accomplishments made by black women, from Michelle Obama to Rosa Parks to Maya Angelou. “Letter to the Free” focuses on the New Jim Crow laws, with … Read more

Disenfranchisement in the Era of Mass Incarceration

In light of the upcoming election, I think it’s important to talk a bit about the connection between disenfranchisement and mass incarceration in the United States. Since watching the 2016 Netflix documentary called 13th and reading Michelle Alexander’s fifth chapter from her book The New Jim Crow, I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways mass incarceration will affect the results of the election in just a few days. Here are a few things that I never knew about mass incarceration and felony disenfranchisement that I believe are important to share with you: Although the United States holds only 5% … Read more

When Law and Order Hits Close To Home

In “Law and Order SVU: Season 13, Episode 6“ there is an episode involving a complicated situation regarding race.  In this episode, a college-aged white girl is raped at gun-point by a black male.  Throughout the episode they begin to question the girls story, learning that she is dating her piano teacher and cheated on him with another black male the night before.  The lawyer hired to take on the rapists case is a black male, who claims that SVU is basing the investigation on stereotypes, and insisting that he did not commit the crime.  The episode ends with the … Read more

Fostering Racism

For our final project for Contemporary Racism, we were placed into groups, asked to pick an interesting topic concerning race, do individual research, and record a podcast with our group. My group chose to look at racial disparities in the American foster care system, a subject about which I had no prior knowledge. At first, I was uneasy about choosing a topic that I knew nothing about, feeling as if my unfamiliarity would provide me with some sort of handicap.  However, in retrospect, the experience was a very appropriate way to conclude my time in Contemporary Racism; it allowed me … Read more