One of the Elephants in the Room

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

I’ll be mercifully brief. I just listened to a program on KPFA which is an interview with Michelle Alexander speaking of her new book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

Basically, her contention that the 5 fold increase in incarceration in this country is thew way the elites have managed to use prisons as a means of social control as industries have moved away from population centers and left in its wake unsustainable ghettos. Which were invaded, starting under Reagan, by federally subsidized efforts to incarcerate a high proportion of African-American men through the spectacularly disproportionate application of drug laws against the poor and, largely, ignoring the white middle-class. SWAT Teams were sent in and funded to roust people out of their beds, seize and confiscate their property and deprive them of their civil rights.  

All this was done in order to shore up the racist white south (let’s call a spade a spade here — sorry for y’all in the south but face it) for the Republican Party. Meanwhile the Democrats just encouraged the general mayhem and attempt at destruction of whole communities. People here probably think that blacks use drugs disproportionally. Not so. But that’s what the propaganda organs started blasting over the air and cables in the 80’s goal: demonize black men. And it suceeded! The sheeple just ate it up — wow their racial prejudices (which they were not allowed to articulate and just fueled more resentment) proved right! What euphoria, wave that American flag. We aren’t racists — it’s just that black people are naturally morally inferior, hey pass that joint around man.

This elephant in the room is one of the pillars of delusion in this culture — that we are nice people who don’t build concentration camps or practice racial/ethnic cleansing. We want to spread freedom through incarcerating the poor and frying villagers in Islamic countries just for fun — for more in this vein see ANKOSS’ terrific diary, War Junkies.

Ms Alexander makes some exquisite and clearly logical points that are well worth listening to.


Skip to comment form

    • Xanthe on February 10, 2010 at 18:35

    rampant in the room but your excellent column has pushed this one front and center.  


    • banger on February 10, 2010 at 19:11

    tips and ideas?

  1. the prison/cop etc industrial complex is out of control because it lobbies for itself.  In ‘liberal’ Oregon, they’re throwing (white, cause that’s more or less all there is there)  kids in reform schools or right to jail, then to  ‘bootcamps’, for smoking a joint or minor graffiti.

    There’s money in them thar hills.  

  2. Angela Davis made this quite clear 40 Years ago.  It’s beyond belief that the U.S. can incarcerate people for taking drugs, while the greatest criminals of the universe have infested the three branches of government like termites and nobody cares.

    I just read this morning in my local paper about a person who got caught on his so called third strike: He was an African American who took a slice of pizza from a couple of kids. He got 25 years. But the judge was lenient, he only gave him 5. This kind of shit goes on all the time.

    Got to keep them prisons full.  

Comments have been disabled.