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Blacks, Prison, And Institutional Racism Essay

1332 words - 5 pages

BLACKS, PRISON, AND INSTITUTIONAL RACISMDescription: The title pretty much says it all in this one. This paperaddresses the issue of blacks in prison and explores the socio-economiccauses and solutions. This paper uses many govermentally commissionedreports.Blacks, Prison, and Institutional RacismIntroductionCriminal justice and security is one of the largest industries in the UnitedStates. Such a statistic is (and rightly so) of great concern to Afro-Americansbecause a disproportionate percentage of individuals under the control ofthe US Criminal Justice System are from the Black community. This paperwill look at the alarming statistics and attempt to trace the roots of thedisparity. It will then consider the affects and explore possible solutionsto the expanding problem.The Imprisoned Black YouthBlack communities throughout the U.S. are witnessing the institutionalizationof their youth. Of course institutionalization is nothing new to Afro-Americans,it is something Blacks have faced since their existence in this country.In the beginning Blacks were forced into the institution of slavery. Afterthe abolition of slavery Blacks faced institutional racism, that is, racismlegitimated by the whole of society directed against the few of society.As a facet of that institutional racism Blacks are now forced to perseverethe increasing trend of control by the US Criminal Justice System. Controlby the USCJS includes the probation, parole, imprisonment, and death ofBlacks. A study conducted by the Sentencing Project in 1989 found tat morethan one-fourth of all Blacks between the age of 20 and 29 are under thecontrol of the USCJS . This alarming figure becomes more so when you considertheir are more Blacks in prison in this age group than their are all Blacksin college . This clearly reveals what is meant by the institutionalizationof our Black youth. Black communities are being legally robbed of theiryouth by a system that locks up those who pose a threat to the status quoof institutional racism. The consequences of this are detrimental indeed.The children are the future, but what future does a community have whosechildren are all locked up. By virtue of robbing the Black community oftheir youth, the USCJS robs Black communities of their future leaders androle models . With such a condition at hand entire communities are lostand the ills of the urban ghettos are augmented. To help explain why Blacksare being locked up, and what part of imprisonment plays in institutionalracism it would be helpful to first look at the roots of institutional racism.Institutional Racism And It's RootsInstitutional racism was a term first coined by Stokley Carmichael in hisbook Black Power. Concerning racism, Carmichael and co-author Charles V.Hamilton made the following observation:Racism is both overt and covert. It takes two, closely related forms; individualWhites acting against individual Blacks, and acts by the total of Whitecommunity against the Black community. We call...


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