More Black Men In Prison Today Than Enslaved in 1850
Anytime you turn on the news, you hear about the growing crime rates all across the nation. While unfortunately this is becoming common knowledge, I’m sure you’d be astonished to hear what Michelle Alexander, a law professor at Ohio State, shared with guests at her book review.
“More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began.”
Now as a Morehouse College graduate, I’ve tried to conceptualize this notion. Seeing my peers, colleagues, and family members succeed makes the idea of more black men being incarcerated than enslaved, difficult to understand.
The growing crime rates over the past 30 years don’t explain the skyrocketing numbers of black men caught in America’s prison system, according to the Ohio State Law professor. “In fact, crime rates have fluctuated over the years and are now at historical lows.”
So what can we attribute this astonishing statistic to? “Most of that increase is due to the War on Drugs, a war waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color,” she said. Interestingly, studies have shown that whites use and sell illegal drugs at rates equal to or above blacks. However, four of five black youth can expect to be caught up in the criminal justice system during their lifetimes.
This INJUSTICE has prevented African American males from voting and from living in public housing, discriminated in hiring, excluded from juries, and denied educational opportunities because of their felony convictions.
My black people, what can we do about this? When will we stop being POLICED and PROFILED for the color of our skin?
The solution should start young. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, 104 million Americans aged 12 or older have tried marijuana which makes up 41.5% of that age group. Our middle schoolers are trying hardcore substances before they can even drive on their own. Where are they getting this access?
Parents, it is essential for us to be aware of our children’s habits and behaviors. We must know all that is going on and should be prepared to properly handle a situation.
STRESS SUCCESS! Help your future scholar understand the importance of education! Show them that there are no limitations for an African American! They, too, can be president of the United States!
You can make a difference by mentoring.
Lastly, inspire them. Be the story that you teach! Be your own success story.