Thursday, January 31, 2008

Black Agenda Report on incarceration disparity in U.S. prisons

Most in for drug crimes. In Wisconsin the amount of black prisoners is 10.64 times the amount of white prisoners, even though blacks only account for %6 of Wisconsin's population. Drug use has been proven, although I don't have the statistical source right now, to be basically constant between racial groups, yet the disproportion in arrest and incarceration exists. This is particularly heartbreaking when you consider that in the mainstream culture movies about white college kids doing drugs excessively and not getting into any trouble for it whatsoever are a regular feature. Marijuana use on college campuses is so regular that it's not even an issue, yet on the other side of the coin when blacks outside of the class and race biased college system engage in the same activity they get thrown in jail and potentially get their lives ruined.

What gets richer, whiter, college kids a slap on the wrist gets black kids prison time. Which is why countercultural figures promoting marijuana use but ridiculing people who are concerned about social problems as being authoritarians, and actually having the gall to complain about democracy because it means not being able to do absolutely anything and everything you want without restrictions piss me off to no end.

Like, you know, I'm just doing my thing, liking jam bands and listening to Reggae, you know? I like crystals and new agey stuff and am into making my own clothes and eating a vegetarian diet. Preserve the earth, our mother. But, you know, I hate it when you be a downer and bring all this political stuff. I'd rather get high and meditate while black kids are being locked up.

There's nothing particularly wrong with anything that I listed provided you have some consciousness of and concern for what's going on in the outside world beyond your insular subculture.

Which is an extended way of repeating a slogan that popped up during the 2004 election season: Bet you'll vote this time, hippy.

*on edit: Incidentally, Iowa, which voted overwhelmingly for Obama, has according to the Black Agenda Report the worst incarceration disparity of all states with black populations of 1% or higher. Blacks make up 1% of Iowa's population but make up ten times as many prisoners in the prison system as whites. 10.47 black prisoners for every white prisoner in Iowa. For every white prisoner in the Iowa system there are ten black prisoners. This makes me wonder about the good Democratic people of Iowa. They may have voted for a black candidate in a caucus that only happens once every four years but what are they doing the rest of the time? Do they care about the black population living in their own back yard? Or is Obama for them just a token that they can feel good about voting for without really doing anything tangible about a situation that they're responsible for. That ratio, by the way, is worse than any state in the South.

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