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48. Protest The Extremist’s War On African American Men

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In The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” author Michelle Alexander writes: “Since the nation’s founding, African Americans repeatedly have been controlled through institutions such as slavery and Jim Crow.”civ In her view mass incarceration is the new form of “exploitation and repression” for black Americans and it is the “war on drugs” that President Reagan launched in 1982 that would guarantee that exploitation and repression for generations to come.


It is sad that so many progressive Americans, like myself, have taken so long to make the connection between the “war on drugs” and the “exploitation and repression” of black Americans.

  • While African-Americans constitute 13.1% of the nation’s population, they make up nearly 40% of the prison population.
  • Even though African-Americans use or sell drugs about the same rate as whites, they are 2.8 to 5.5 times more likely to be arrested for drugs than whites.
  • Black offenders also receive longer sentences compared to whites. Most offenders are in prison for nonviolent drug offenses.cv
  • A black male born in 1991 has a 29% chance of spending time in prison during his [7]
  • One out of nine African American men will be incarcerated between the ages of 20 and
  • Black males ages 30 to 34 have the highest incarceration rate of any race/ethnicity gender and age combination.
  • In 2014, 6% of all black males ages 30 to 39 were in prison, compared to 2% of Hispanic and 1% of white males in the same age “[8]
  • The leading cause of incarceration of an African American male is a non-violent drug offense
  • Between 1985 and 1995 the American prison population of drug offenders increased from 38,900 to 224,900 with African American males at the top (King 166).
  • In less than thirty years, the U.S. penal population exploded from around 300,000 to more than 2 million, with drug convictions accounting for the majority of the ”

And the “exploitation and repression” begins long before incarceration and continues long after a prisoner is released in voting, employment, housing, education, public benefits and jury service.”



Black children come from homes with far less resources and opportunities than white children:
In 2009, a representative survey of American households revealed that the median wealth of white families was $113,149 compared with $6,325 for Latino families and $5,677 for black families.

Black children attend schools that are inferior to the schools white children attend:

Schools with predominantly white and wealthy students have a 1 in 4 chance of earning high test scores for multiple years while only 1 in 300 schools attended by poor children of color will do the same.


Black children are less likely to complete their education:

The percentage of African-Americans graduating from high school decreased between 1991 and 2004 while it increased for white students.

Black children who do graduate end up with far more debt than white children:

Four in five black students graduate with debt, compared to 64% of whites.  Black graduates are often more saddled with college loans, making it harder for them to start socking away savings than their white peers.


Black children grow up in an environment of fear of being harassed and bullied even by police.

A former New York police captain, now a NY State Senator, testified that NYPD Commissioner Kelly told the NY State governor that young Black and Latino men were the focus of stop and frisk because “he wanted to instill fear in them every time they leave their home…”

Black children grow up in an environment of fear of being killed even by police:

Police officers, security guards, or self-appointed vigilantes extra-judicially killed at least 313 African-Americans in 2012. This means a black person was killed by a security officer every 28 hours. The report notes that it’s possible that the real number could be much higher.  Of the 313 killings, the report found that 275 of them or 88% were cases of excessive force. The vast majority of the time, police officers, security guards, or armed vigilantes who extra-judicially kill black people escape accountability.


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