Time to check your privilege!
I know very little about the criminal justice system in my privileged world. So today’s readings are going to cover that perspective, inspired by this article I saw in Mic, regarding a new fellowship program for formerly-incarcerated artists.
Netflix is streaming an eye-opening, troubling original documentary film called 13th. In it, the film makers take the viewer through the transition from a post-slavery nation to the disenfranchisement of African Americans (through Jim Crow laws, segregation, and violence), to the criminalization of minor offenses and harsher sentencing practices (especially during the “war on drugs” and the through the targeting and profiling of black men), and leads the viewer to see the mass incarceration in the United States as nothing more than a modern day slavery.
Then read this article at The Root by Andre Perry, which talks about the way black boys and young men, especially, are treated in grade school. It only skirts the topic of the school-to-prison pipeline, but that’s an important context for looking at the criminal justice system from the perspective of those that are most abused by it.
This article on Colorlines gives a lot of good background about the school-to-prison pipeline phenomenon, and brings up how disability (or the assumption of disability) is playing into the process.
It’s difficult to accept these realities as driven by a systemic problem with race in our country, without understanding implicit bias, and how that effects individual interactions and policy. Here are two great videos (CW: racial language) to help explain the concept, and show what that bias looks like to those on the receiving end.
What things have affected the way you view our incarceration culture?