Over at Candide’s Notebooks, the sage Frere Loup recently posted this excellent, pithy debunking of the psychotic, criminal-itself reality of criminal punishment in the USA:
“Every time people talk prisons in the US, I do the numbers.
“80% of crime is White
80% of drug use is White
80% of the poverty in the US is White
“2/3 of the 2.3 million humans incarcerated in the penal system (jail, prison, parole) are Black and Brown. Didn’t used to be that way. Until we passed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, 1964-65 which we instantly regretted, we had Jim Crow to ‘keep them in their place’ and America felt naked in the absence. So…being the innovative and creative people we are in matters of critical importance, we improvised.
“In 1965 there were 640000 humans in the penal system, e.g. jail, prison, and parole (count’em same way now). Whites were 87% of the population, Blacks 12%, Hispanic were part of the remaining 1%. Same 80% of Crime, Drugs, and Poverty for Whites back then. 2/3 of those ‘in the system’ in ’65 were White. What accounts for the difference:
“Selective Enforcement of the Law
“In 2008 Whites are 70% (2000 Census) and Blacks are still 12% of the population with 18% for everybody else. As a direct result of these ‘policies’, 1/3 of the ENTIRE Black male population in the US are ‘in the system’, they work for Fortune 500 corps for $0.77-$1.44/hr in jobs that used to be done by people getting living wages. But of course living wages DO NOT produce maximum short term profits, in fact nothing produces profits like slave labor, prison labor, child labor, and sweat shop labor. Prison is as close to “slave labor” as they can get outside the Marianna’s. Ask Trent Lott.
“And of course those Black & Brown people can’t vote. Ever. In most states.
“Not at all surprising for A nation that got away with genocide AND human slavery AND wants to pretend it is not a squalid, debased, AND degraded tribe of cannibals.
“Who’s face is Poverty?
Who’s face is Drugs?
Who’s face is Crime?
“And what is the REALITY on the ground? Don’t ask MSM, they’re selling the Kool-Aid and they want you terrified of EVERYBODY.
“We always make others pay for our sins. More economical.”
Now, personally speaking, like Harry Belafonte, I am a Kingian — an American democratic socialist who is convinced that, as MLK said, “the entire structure of American life must be changed” and that we can and should and will only be able do so by finally acknowledging the centrality of racism in our society, and by rescuing and expanding the much-mentioned, but little-used good side of American principle, history, and culture.
So I wonder:
Frere Loup mentions the numbers from the mid-1960s, when Dr. King was already fretting about “integrating into a burning house,” and that the United States was a deeply “sick society.”
Read the newspaper; watch American behavior for a few hours (especially among the comfortable segments); contemplate Frere Loup’s words; then ask yourself: How sick are we now?