There is no excuse for anyone to be ignorant of the fact that the prison system as it operates in the United States of America is an ongoing form of slavery. And with Black people being incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white people, it is clear who is being singled out for “employment” in these poorly disguised labor camps.
But what else happens when 1 in 4 Black men are going to be put through the system at some point in their life? And what happens when a large number of those will never be able to escape the stigma of arrest and conviction, continuing this cyclical sickness? What happens when Hispanic and Black populations make up nearly 60 percent of all prisoners, when they only represent 1/4th of the entire United States population?
It’s clear that the prison system (and the criminal justice system, really,) is designed to operate as a modern eugenics. When we incarcerate and demonize a gigantic chunk of a minority population, we render them, in effect, impotent. When nonviolent and first time offenders are taken off of the street and removed from the population for decades, they are prevented from finding a mate and creating another generation. They become more or less unsuitable, as well as becoming stuck in the heavily prejudiced criminal justice structure. Society shuns them. They are left powerless.
In all seriousness, think about this. It wasn’t long ago that American eugenics was alive and well, and in fact, helped to inform many beliefs next held by the Nazi party during Hitlers campaign. They were out in the open and didn’t shy away from making known their mission — a “purification” of the human race. The practice of American eugenics echoes today in the American Genetic Association, established originally as the American Breeders’ Association to develop laws of breeding designed to preserve preferred traits. Now they operate as a scientific, learned body, studying genetics and tracing genomes. As is explained on the group’s Wiki page: “As the science of genetics has progressed, the journal’s scope has shifted away from emphasis on practical applications of animal, plant and human breeding.” But their history is close behind them.
Various eugenic programs were presented as social support programs for underserved and undereducated communities. The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, which focused on Black men, and numerous sterilization programs in almost every state focused on women in any minority community, are just a couple of examples of the way that White supremacy used eugenics to assure their superiority over minority groups. Make people sick, and take away the very ability for tens of thousands of women (if not more,) to get pregnant, and you have created a perfect landscape for domination.
If people are prevented from having offspring by use of sterilization, disease and incarceration, it’s easy for the ruling class or group to stay on top. Today, it’s incarceration that represents a most dangerous problem. Putting away adolescents and young men for a meager drug related abuse (especially when the “drug” in question is something as innocuous as marijuana,) or even a first violent offense with absolutely no criminal history, does nothing positive for society or the offender. There was no reform education given, there was so support or therapy or anything else in that line offered to the young offender. Nothing has changed, except now they are branded as a convict. They have to live by a different set of rules, outside of “traditional” society. They are now stuck in the cycle. They will never, really, be free.
Incarceration doesn’t change anything. Without a massive deconstruction and rebuilding of the way we teach our nation’s children, there is little hope for reform to this entire system. Schools in impoverished communities feed prisons. Without getting rid of the source, there is little hope to stymy the flow. Thus, the system will continue to artificially control the racial landscape of this country.