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Black Male Incarceration in the United States is alarming.

This disturbing trend is alarming. The solutions, however, are within African-Americans as well as within the police force and within the Justice Dept. African-Americans have made significant changes in the US. Their contributions, both in the building of America through slavery and the continuing financial efforts/contributions to science, entertainment, education, sports, and popular culture is to be respected.

A major positive change in the system should come about when more African Americans return to the universities to take on first, second, third degrees, which includes a Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD in order to take leading roles in decision making. Making the attempt to create positive relationships with the police and among our family members via public and private conduct/behavior is crucial.

Being at the right place at the right time will help. Dress code, politeness, proper social etiquette will add to a new face-lift for African Americans to be respected. Male parents should endeavor to return to the family center in order to contribute to the decorum in raising black male teenagers.

One thought on “Black Male Incarceration in the United States is alarming.

  1. Emil Harper

    I respectfully beg to differ to your solution to the Black male incarceration problem in the United States. Due to the intuition of slavery Male parents were often not allowed near the family center. Yes, their participation in the family group would contribute to the decorum in raising black male teenagers but that is the tip of the iceberg. I take it that a dress code, politeness, proper social etiquette will be cover under education but education alone in this case is like a drop in the bucket. The schools from which the majority of Black students come are in serious danger of failing.(if they have not done so already) A large percentage of Black students are “graduating” High School without the basic skills for life much less going to college or further. A disproportional percentage of Blacks live in poverty. Unemployment hits the black community disproportional hard. All these must be addressed to create a positive culture.
    Making the attempt to create positive relationships with the hostile occupying police is scary when you are often harassed and attacked. While public and private conduct/behavior is crucial it is often ignored by “bad” police thus making it hard to trust all the law enforcers.
    The term trend is not correct when talking about Black male incarceration. Black males within the United States have always been in large numbers since after the end of the Civil War. This problem is nothing new to Black society what is new is that the incarceration is being tracked and reported on by sources. The problems tied to these problems are ones of cultural development/growth and housing and economic equality. The promise of freedom was a like a ghost visible when promised but when the time came to be given it became invisible. Parceled out in small portions, freedom for the Blacks has always had limitations. When conditions became unbearable to the point in which a new portion was given the administration rules have always been changed. An example is when fair housing was “given” to the Civil Rights Movement, it meant anyone can live anywhere they can afford to live it did nothing for the majority of the Black population who have been kept on the bottom of the economic heap. The only thing that ended was the overt racism. After slavery there was Jim Crow which went hand in hand with the enforced labor. White Southerners were utterly unwilling to accept the fact that African Americans now owned their own labor and they deeply feared losing their monopoly on economic as well as an instant political power.
    In response to their fear of losing their cheap labor force, Southern whites turned to the criminal justice system in order to maintain both profit and control. Indeed in the first decades that followed the Civil War, whites completely changed the local and state laws so that, eventually, even the most nonthreatening actions and words of newly freed Blacks had become a “crime.” As the numbers of convicted Blacks subsequently soared, whites then leased these Blacks and proceeded to exploit these prisoners’ labor as they wished.
    The post-Civil War practice of forcing convicts to labor for white profit was more directly rooted in the infamous institution of slavery, more widespread a practice, and much more devastating to ordinary African-American lives, than we had yet grasped. This practice shaped Southern economic, political, and racial relations over the course of the 19th, 20th and even the 21st centuries. Scores of poor Southern Blacks who tried to navigate a better life in freedom were handicapped by the many whites who used the criminal justice system to keep those newly freed Blacks in a state of fear and dependency.
    Because there were absolutely no penalties for mistreating or killing convict laborers after the Civil War, in the first two years that Alabama leased its prisoners, nearly 20 percent of them died. In the following year, mortality rose to 35 percent. In the fourth, nearly 45 percent were killed. To be sure extra-legal white supremacist organizations also wreaked havoc on African-American lives through violence and abuse in the wake of the Civil War. Where mob violence or the Ku Klux Klan terrorized Black citizens periodically, forced labor as a fixture in Black life ground pervasively into the daily lives of far more Black Americans. In their insatiable desire for a captive Black workforce actually spawned tightly organized local networks of sheriffs, self-designated Justices of the Peace, and self-appointed judges intent upon providing cheap Black labor even if it meant literally kidnapping Black men off of the streets. Black American self-determination was not simply frustrated by the legacy of slavery. It was, in fact, actively squelched by whites determined to continue slavery long after they lost the Civil War. The true horror of this nation’s history vis-à-vis the forced labor of African Americans goes even deeper. While it was true that some of the most heinous abuses of inmates took place in the South after the Civil War, it was also the case that those ensnared in the criminal justice system of the North suffered extraordinary exploitation and cruelty for profit at the hands of white-dominated companies seeking both profit and power after 1865 as well. As late as the 1930s, one in every nineteen Black men over the age of twelve in Alabama were still being captured in some form of involuntary servitude.
    Many groups mobilized very successfully to regulate and thus largely to halt, the private exploitation of prisoner labor by the time the nation entered the 1960s. This, however, put the exploitation of prisoner labor on hold; it did not forever abolish it.
    By the 1990s, and thanks to energetic activism on the part of conservative legislators, corporations, and the federal as well as state governments in the 1970s, the practice of leasing convicts to private companies for profit-making purposes had been fully resurrected. With passage of the Justice System Improvement Act of 1979, virtually every important legal barrier to exploiting prisoner labor for profit was overhauled and, overnight, private enterprises began turning once again, and most enthusiastically, to a captive and overwhelmingly African-American labor force.
    I said all this to show the concentrated effort that was made to break the Black race and show that a conclusive broad front approach is needed to correct the problem. All aspects of the problem need to be addressed simultaneously. Education, Housing, Employment and Safety all must be addressed. I included safety in the needs that needed to be addressed. This includes The reining in, the retraining and redirection of the Police. If not approached in this manner it would be like trying to plug a leak in a dam with a strainer.

    Sources,
    Douglas Blackmon “Slavery by Another Name: the Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War Two.“
    Mary Ellen Curtin, Black Prisoners and Their World, Alabama
    David M. Oshinsky, Worse Than Slavery:”
    Heather Ann Thompson, Twice the Work of Free Labor: the Political Economy of Convict Labor in the New South. African Americans’ Forced Labor

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