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The 13th amendment was passed through the Senate on April 8, 1864 and the House on January 31, 1865 passed at the end of the Civil War and it formally abolished slavery in the United States. It also mentions that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude , except a punishment for crime where the party should have been fully convicted and exist in the United States or any place to their jurisdiction.
I believe the film “13th Documentary” characterizes our criminal justice system and political institutions as corrupt. Political institutions would make decisions based on their own benefits and slavery has been preserve in practices since the end of the American Civil War trough criminalization behavior and police having to arrest innocent men to force them to work for the state under convict leasing; suppression of African Americans by lynching’s and Jim Crow, conservative Republicans declaring a war on drugs and by the late twentieth century mass incarceration of people of color in the United States. Three strikes law was passed, and It targeted African Americans, the law basically meant that three convictions was the most a person could get, and they were down, and prisons were getting rid of misdemeanor inmates to have more space for the convicted felons. In 1990 the U.S. prison population was 1,179,200 and in 2000 it raised to 2,015,300 and the results forced family to be broken and left children living without their parents. People were too poor to get out of jail which lead to 97% getting a plea bargain, until Kalief Browder refused to take a plea because for him it meant that if he took it then everyone will see him as agreeing to committing the crime when he did not. He was punished for taking it to trial by guards and other inmates and 2 years after his release he committed suicide. His story was heard because he didn’t take the plea since he knew if he took it he would just be looked as a criminal and once somebody is arrested and convicted their life is basically done because nobody cares anymore.
The war on drugs and its actions was mainly targeting African Americans and has incarcerated high numbers. The invention of the war on drugs as a political use was beneficial since every president has found it useful, but the cost of it is impossible to ignore because money was wasted, bloodshed in the streets, and the millions of lives that were destroyed due to punishments that do not end in prison gates. One of every eight black men has been imprisoned because of a felony conviction.
After reviewing the documentary, I believe the media and popular culture today have contributed to “white fear” and anxiety because of all the injustices and actions cause to the African Americans. Innocent people feared of being stopped due to white officers shooting them for every little thing. The lifetime likelihood of imprisonment in white men is 1 in 17 and in black men is 1 in 3 people whereas the prison population of black men in the U.S. was 40.2%. In the George Zimmerman case, he was pleaded not guilty for following Tamir Ryce a 12 year old and killing him just because he looked suspicious and back then it was okay to kill someone if you feel threatened. We have to understand that police violence is not the problem, but its reflection of a much larger brutal system of racial and social control known as mass incarceration which authorizes the kind of violence that kills black innocent people. The black lives matter shouldn’t be since every live matter, but at the end is about the way this country identifies human dignity.
Overall, to find solutions to challenge these fears and stereotypes that perpetuate modern day racism, people should recognize and understand their own privileges to dismantle systemic racism. We cannot be afraid to speak out against oppression and discrimination for fear of getting it “wrong” because that is what they want to do shut down people and take away everything. I feel like because of people who speak up the world hears them and creates support making policy changes. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talked about his hope of living in a colorblind world which did not mean the world was ignoring race, but it is impossible to eliminate racism without acknowledging race. Being colorblind ignores a part of a person’s identity and let’s go of real injustices, we have to be able to see color to work together for equity and equality. There is still racism today, but African American and color people are the ones who struggle the most out of it and I feel that it might not be as bad as before, but we need to continue speaking up and not let the world shut us down with our rights.
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