Nightmare Overhanging Darkly

  • The United States has 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated population. It ranks first in the world in locking up its fellow citizens
  • The U.S now imprisons more people for drug law violations than all of western Europe, with a much larger population, incarcerates for all offences 
  • The U.S sends more people to prison, for more different offences, for longer periods of time than anybody else
  • The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people is the highest, followed by 611 in Russia
  • A U.S. Justice Department report showed that a record 7 million people — or one in every 32 American adults — were behind bars, on probation or on parole. Of the total, 2.2 million were in prison or jail.
  • US Government figures show that overall black people account for 46% of prisoners in America, compared to 36% who are white.
  • More than 60% of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. For Black males in their twenties, 1 in every 8 is in prison or jail on any given day. These trends have been intensified by the disproportionate impact of the “war on drugs,” in which three-fourths of all persons in prison for drug offenses are people of color.
  • Two-thirds of the prison population are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses, representing the first time in American history that more people are confined for crimes involving no violence.

These are such sad, dismal facts but what is even sadder is the lack of political will & a louder public outcry to confront the root causes of crime such as educational & economic inequities and the  overwhelming media focus on the crimes of non-whites which feeds on the larger social tragedy of a criminal justice system that favors whites over black&brown people (especially so in crack-cocaine sentencing vs powder cocaine & in the coverage of black entertainers/sports figures vs white entertainers/sports figures). Soon, 1 out of 3 black males will be in prison if this trend continues. I’m no conspiracy-theorist, but this seems so systematic, so viciously Orwellian in its execution of social domination & control. Indeed, the mass media & the educational/legal/political/economic/socio-cultural infrastructure seem so well-oiled& calibrated so as to produce the desired outcomes. You now have some black and brown people even believing a lot of nonsense passing as the truth about themselves & their prospects–Self-fulfilling prophecies in the flesh.

We have to end this.

Dwele hints at an answer in a laid-back, jazz-infused piece, “My People“: “There’s never been a worse time to be young & black…..Tonight my eyes will burn in prayer that we will learn to love our people…(Still)I feel the good will outweigh the bad..”

Stay Alive!


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