[A-List] US society: penal racism
michael011 at fastmail.fm
Wed Jun 20 04:31:48 MDT 2007
The Empire Building Equation and the Incarceration of Africans and
By Dr. L. Jean Daniels, PhD
The Black Commentator, June 14 2007 Issue 233
According to Human Rights Watch, the percentage of the prison
population that is Black is more than six times greater than the
percentage of the State of Wisconsins population that is Black. Here
in Wisconsin, a predominantly white state, Milwaukees Black
incarceration rate leads the nation.
The U.S. is number one in incarcerating its citizens. Black women are
increasingly becoming the new target for incarceration. Although Black
women are eight times (and Latinas four times) as likely to go to prison
as white women, imprisoned women of color are not seen as victims of
racist and sexist discrimination, writes Angela Davis (Essence September
2000). Unlike their white counterparts and those with financial
resources, these women are unable to negotiate with prosecutors or in
the case of Paris Hilton they are unable to plea to the prison
It is not just in the U.S. that we witness the rise in Black
incarceration. British media reported last week that the United
Kingdoms penal system has begun to resemble the U.S. system in one
significant waythe high number of Blacks being imprisoned, according
to Italian news writer Paulo Pontoniere (Focus 2003). It seems that the
Brits, writes Pontoniere, rely on racial profiling to tackle rising
crime rates and street violence. Crime has become a descriptive, a
representative of Blackness in the narrative of Empire while Empire
building, crushing the poor, the uninsured, the homeless, the work
class, and darker-skinned folks is no crime, just hard working
Speaking of ingenuitymost of these Black criminals, victims of this
nations War on Drugs, i.e., war on Black Americans, become ineligible
to vote once they are convicted! You enter prison, mostly likely with a
non-violent offense, and exit without your right to vote!
This brings me to the concern of this article. Who will witness for
those U.S. citizens who are being disenfranchised once again? Who will
represent the revolutionary guard, opposing with the knowledge that if
the bottom is excised, the middle cannot be far behind in falling
through the hole? Who will recognize that our demise, along with the
demise of others like the Iraqis and everyday Muslims and Arabs,
Latino/as, Native Indians etc., is understood as inevitable, indeed, a
necessary procurement for the U.S. to achieve its desire as an Empire?
If I may be as courageous as Kanye West, this country does not need
Black Americans anymore (for that matter, it does not need Africans or
Blacks any where in the world). We do not figure in the equation of
Empire building, except that all the enterprises of this country needed
to be accomplished on our backs. But are backs are no longer needed.
There are Latino/as to exploit internally and Muslims and Arabs to
befriend but mostly vilify to capture that precious oil. While
middle-classed white citizens are protecting their stakes in the
equation, knowingly or unknowinglyfor their familial security and
financial security interests translate into a covenant with the agenda
of Empire, we, Black Americans, have only ourselves as witness to this,
the greatest tragedy, surpassing anything the Romans could have imagined
or anything Shakespeare could have dreamed.
Take one watershed example of what is happening and no doubt has been in
the planning of Empire for the last 40 years.
Progressives, such as journalist Greg Palast and Robert Kennedy Jr., are
serving to expose the truly criminal agenda of Empire in the Bush-Cheney
phase of its operation. While Kennedy (Rolling Stone June 2006) has
reported on the mostly poor, Black and Latino/a, and elderly three
million votes stolen in the last election, Greg Palast (see paperback
edition of Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats, Bush Sinks, the
Scheme to Steal 08, No Childs Behind Left and Other Dispatches from
the Frontlines of the Class War) has written on the caging practice
conducted out of the U.S. Justice Department. According to Palast, he
was on his way home to England in hopes of having the BBC publish the
story he has uncovered but the U.S. media will not publish. I am not
sure I understand why Palast is so surprised at the indifference of the
media/cooperate, co-leaders of the U.S. government. For such a narrative
of criminal activity equates with munchkin-like intrusion. Would it
not fit the coloring in the ingenious narrative of Empire?
The practice of caging, Palast explains, targets members of the
military, specifically, Blacks and Latino/as who are serving in Iraq and
Afghanistan. The Republican National Committee (RNC) sends letters
marked Do Not Forward to the homes of people it suspects are serving
overseas. Of course, most letters are returned to the sender. Who is the
sender? Tim Griffin. Palast asserts that Griffin, who once served as
Karl Roves protégé (and Director of Opposition Research, interesting!),
and recently resigned as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of
Arkansas, was in charge of creating lists of Black and Latino/as
servicemen and women whose voting registration could be challenged,
thereby preventing the counting of their absentee ballots.
These are the caging lists, in other words, the devil in the detailed
creation of narrative legalization of Empire. Dont forget that the
Diebold election machines littered the landscape. I am sure theres one
near you! These machines eat up votes! Not just anyones vote. Dive
into the electoral dumpster, writes Palast, and [the] spoiled votes
have a dark color indeed (Buzzflash). In total, Kennedy reports, three
million votes no longer needed. Your services are no longer needed. With
pen and paper, you are expendable!
It is all so diabolically clever and so enlightening as to reveal the
intent of the No Child Left Behind schemethat it has EVERY intentions
of leaving Black and Latino/a children behind. Blacks without a decent,
empowering education, Blacks without employment, Blacks in prison and
Blacks without the vote all equals liberation from a nagging, haunting
past and a move toward world hegemony!
But who cares, huh? Neither Kennedy nor Palast should expect media or
public attention on the plight of Black people anywhere!
The media, collaborative partner of the neo-cons, takes the narrative of
Empire and makes it palpable for the public to digest. Mirth one day and
dread the nextit is hard to see the Agenda running through it all:
Repeat after us, your leaders: Theres no place like home. With your
cooperation, your house, to be exact, a swirling storm will crush
the Wicked Witch of the East, but you should not consider fearing
the Witch of the West, as the commie writer would have it. You might
see a few munchkins here or there, but dont worry. They will not
intrude on our reality if you remember that you dont have to
remember anything, but what we tell you and the silver slippers will
remain in your keeping
Dont think about finding your way home; you
are already home! Disneyland is our homeherein the re-building of
New Orleans and in Iraqin the building of the grandest embassy
palace the world has ever seen!
Odes of hysteria!
It needs no Obama, come from the Black Diaspora, to tell us of quiet
riots that take place every day are born from the same place as the
fires and the destruction and the police decked out in riot gear and the
We are more than witnesses; we have been the resistance at the heart of
maniacal narratives that depicted us as inhuman and subject to the whims
of white supremacy. We need to care that we pull each other through this
latest narrative hijacking.
Remember Sojourner Truth turned her critical hour of loss and despair
into a crusade for justice. As a witness, she became the mother of Hope.
Think of her as the agent at the center of our narrative of resistance.
She brings us the message of hope for our moment of crisis.
http://www.fastmail.fm - Faster than the air-speed velocity of an
unladen european swallow
More information about the A-List