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Fighting Against New Jim Crow: Dream Defenders analyze how mass-incarceration affects Black & brown
Black Entertainment Television ^ | May 19, 2014 | Sandra Khalifa, Dream Defenders

Posted on 05/19/2014 6:02:35 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Jim Crow is not dead. It has simply changed its face.

A new generation of Black and brown youth are waking up to the reality that our bodies are still criminalized. Whether by shooting down teenagers like Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin or by funneling youth out of schools and into prisons for the profit of private prison corporation CEOs, today’s version of Jim Crow laws threaten America’s future.

It’s no accident Kanye West rapped about private prison company Corrections Corporation of America locking up Black people across the country on Yeezus. This winter, Stanford-educated, Compton-born NFL cornerback Richard Sherman was labeled a “thug” for sparking football rivalry, to which he responded that “thug” is the new “n-word.” In March, Obama announced support for dropping the sentencing length of federal drug offenders in an effort to reduce the country’s painfully bloated prison population. The United States houses 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated individuals — more than China or Russia.

Since its founding, America has depended on a permanent underclass of Black and brown bodies working for little or nothing. In 2014, the disproportionately non-white prison population continues this tradition, making next to nothing (often less than $1 an hour) to create products for mass consumption. Major entities – Victoria’s Secret, Nike, Starbucks, Microsoft, Nintendo, even the U.S. military — have at different points used prison labor to pump out products we all consume. Prisoners are sometimes subjected to heavy metals and toxic chemicals in industries like computer recycling at the expense of their own health.

Our communities contribute unknowingly to this new Jim Crow through our purchases and our taxes, which are used to pay state-contracted, for-profit prison operators. George Zoley, the CEO of for-profit prison company GEO Group, for example, is one of America’s highest paid government “corrections officers,” making $22 million a year. It’s estimated that GEO Group makes 86 percent of its revenue from taxpayers.

When inner-city schools lack funding for books, when the cutting of federal food stamp programs force single mothers to take on more low-wage jobs and less of their child’s education, when programs like stop-and-frisk disproportionately incarcerate Black men and remove them from the household, it’s time to move past the idea that this is an accident. There is a systemic and long-seated set of economic and social conditions entrapping low-income communities and Black communities in an endless pattern of criminalization, incarceration and poverty. There is a glass ceiling holding down Black and brown youth on the ladder of American opportunity.

In 1984, the Corrections Corporation of America revolutionized how U.S. prisons operate. The company took over a prison in Tennessee, and it was the first time a for-profit company was contracted to run a local jail. The corporation struck gold and pioneered a new industry — between 1990 and 2010 the number of private prisons in the U.S. increased 1,600 percent. This has outpaced both the growth of public prison facilities and even the U.S. population, creating an actual demand for prisoners. These new and thriving prison corporations — with names like CCA, G4S, Youth Services International (YSI) and GEO Group — maximize profits by making sure that the highest number of possible beds are filled in their facilities.

Many of us have heard the economic theory of “supply and demand” – that where there is a need, the dollars aren’t far behind. So, with an increasing demand for prisoner bodies to fill the growing number of for-profit jail beds, the country’s criminal justice system finds itself on a slippery slope. Government jails, judges and politicians are now in a unique position to imprison their local populations for profit. Check out the Pennsylvania “Kids For Cash” scandal, where local judges accepted money from the builder of two for-profit juvenile facilities in the area in return for offering contracts and imposing unreasonably harsh sentences on youth in their courts.

For-profit prison companies are also incentivized to cut costs and maximize profit. This translates into unsanitary conditions, low-quality or inedible prison food, insufficient and underpaid security, etc. These conditions are not rare or new. Incarcerated individuals have protested them all over America, but because of their “criminal” status, an entire population of new slaves is silenced. In Florida’s YSI facilities, there are reports of juveniles even being prevented by prison guards from calling abuse and complaint hotlines for incarcerated youth.

The Dream Defenders, an organization led by Black and brown youth in Florida, are in this fight for the long haul. Our generation is confronted with a challenge: How do we end the cycle of poverty, criminalization and incarceration in Black and brown communities? In the next several years, we hope to campaign for large-scale divestment from companies that invest in private prison corporations or labor. With our vote, our generation can make it unacceptable for politicians to accept campaign donations from private prison companies or CEOs.

The “dream” that our generation would live in a nation where they are not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character, has become more aggressive in its elusiveness. It is up to us to create the world we wish to see, and the world our children will inherit.

******

Sandra Khalifa is Co-Director of Communications for Dream Defenders, an organization of Black and brown youth fighting for equal rights in Florida.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: blacks; crime; hispanics; latinos
Can anyone tell me why "black" is capitalized and "brown" isn't?
1 posted on 05/19/2014 6:02:35 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Don’t know, I’m more concerned with Red, White, and Blue.


2 posted on 05/19/2014 6:04:24 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Little Sandy Khalifia the Dream Defender action hero, huh? LOL! Somebody really need to get a life AND a REAL job. A little duct tape over the mouth might also help.


3 posted on 05/19/2014 6:08:04 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Obama's smidgens are coming home to roost.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Whether by shooting down teenagers like Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin ...

When one lies in the opening thought, there is no point in reading further.

4 posted on 05/19/2014 6:09:17 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (Fight Tapinophobia in all its forms! Do not submit to arduus privilege.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Booker T. told us about you professional race-baiters: folks who would be very disappointed and out of a job if black people as a whole get out from behind the 8-ball. (And guess which party today does its best to keep them there.)

Here's to your imminent unemployment and discovery of a real life.

5 posted on 05/19/2014 6:10:29 PM PDT by SamuraiScot
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

In my Northeast, definitely democrat city - it is the black residents who are calling for MORE police on their streets, bemoaning the overwhelming violence among young, black, men, and calling for stiffer penalties for those causing violence and drug use.

At the same time, they are saying that the criminal justice system is racist.

So, which do you want?


6 posted on 05/19/2014 6:11:22 PM PDT by PGR88
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If stop and frisk jails a higher proportion of Blacks, the frisker must have found something.

Are the B on B shootings in Chicago the result of Jim Crow laws?


7 posted on 05/19/2014 6:13:07 PM PDT by alpo (What would Selco do?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Don’t know but am pretty sure that the “youth are criminalized because, well they’re criminals! Go around robbing, killing, raping, drug dealing, driving drunk and being stoned and you will be treated like what you are.


8 posted on 05/19/2014 6:14:34 PM PDT by Mastador1 (I'll take a bad dog over a good politician any day!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I guess we should have arrest quotas. Only so many black or brown criminals can be arrested during a given period of time. After that, let the criminals go free ... only seems fair. /s


9 posted on 05/19/2014 6:20:17 PM PDT by doc1019
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To: SamuraiScot
Sandra Khalifa

Just noticed the Arab last name—perhaps assumed during college after a stimulating course with a Marxist professor of race consciousness. Isn't that kind of like a self-hating Jew? A race-obsessed black identifies militantly with the Moslems, who enslaved, killed, and castrated more Africans than the rest of the world put together? And she identifies against America, which probably gave rise to more black millionaires than all of Africa put together. I know, it probably makes her feel more special somehow.

10 posted on 05/19/2014 6:20:37 PM PDT by SamuraiScot
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I don’t believe that it’s your bodies that are criminalized, I think that it is your behavior. Work to change the behavior of the dysfunctional ghetto culture that the black establishment is so keen to enable. Of course, that does mean that the race shakedown industry will come to an end.


11 posted on 05/19/2014 6:27:32 PM PDT by centurion316
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

guess all those folks I see on the local news breaking into stores or wanted for this or that we just selected cases brought forth by the biased editors??


12 posted on 05/19/2014 6:28:20 PM PDT by ealgeone (obama, borderof)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I will post my standard comment on thses stories:

Show me the ones who didn’t do what they were accused of doing.


13 posted on 05/19/2014 6:30:58 PM PDT by henkster (Do I really need a sarcasm tag?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Most incarcerated youth were convicted of preying on their own kind. Should we adopt the “I don’t care what they do to each other” approach?


14 posted on 05/19/2014 6:35:33 PM PDT by A_perfect_lady
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

To rectify the situation, black on black crime will be ignored.

How’s that?


15 posted on 05/19/2014 6:36:57 PM PDT by bobo1 (progressives=commies/fascists)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

What a nutbar.

It is frightening that people who think thusly walk among us by day.

Does it make any difference if a person seems crazy because they have been taught a bunch of stuff that differs dramatically from reality, or if they seem crazy because they are crazy?

What practical difference does it make?


16 posted on 05/19/2014 6:37:36 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

This is nothing. What message are we sending to young boys and girls when we have so many men in prison compared to women?

/s


17 posted on 05/19/2014 6:49:24 PM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The US feral government is the new Jim Crow, and non-minorities are the new N-words.
18 posted on 05/19/2014 6:54:48 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government." --Tacitus)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Hasn’t anyone told these a-holes that Jim Crow laws were enacted by democrats?


19 posted on 05/19/2014 6:58:57 PM PDT by anoldafvet (If you think the government is capable of taking care of you, just look at the indian tribes)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Watch any of a myriad of prison documentaries showing real inmates and any rational person would conclude that they are right where they belong.


20 posted on 05/19/2014 7:25:10 PM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

This just in: white people don’t care...


21 posted on 05/19/2014 7:36:37 PM PDT by strider44
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The “dream” that our generation would live in a nation where they are not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character, has become more aggressive in its elusiveness. It is up to us to create the world we wish to see, and the world our children will inherit.


Big lie!!! Its all about look at race for these hustlers


22 posted on 05/19/2014 7:39:14 PM PDT by RginTN
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Don’t care.....if blacks and browns aren’t willing to comport themselves with civilized behavior, then why should I care if they spend the rest of their lives in prison for assaulting, raping, and murdering innocent people?

Perhaps they are better fit for life in Africa or Mezo America where this type of animalistic behavior isn’t frowned upon?

There’s a reason why our Founders were adament about preserving a Homogenous Christian Culture. Apparently those that are not of that culture cannot handle its ideals!


23 posted on 05/19/2014 7:51:08 PM PDT by Roman_War_Criminal (Bible Summary in a few verses: John 14:6, John 6:29, Romans 10:9-10)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Mass criminality = mass incarceration. Knock that thug crap off and you won’t have to wear bracelets, or bullet holes.


24 posted on 05/19/2014 8:40:51 PM PDT by Trod Upon (Every penny given to film and TV media companies goes right into enemy coffers. Starve them out!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Has any liberal asked how "Black" and "brown" CRIME is affecting their "races" -- and all "colors"?

Didn't think so.

It's all about the poor "victims of incarceration" -- with no mention of what they did to the rest of us to get themselves incarcerated.

Stupid liberals!!!


25 posted on 05/20/2014 4:35:56 PM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias... "Barack": Allah's current ally...)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Don't you love the rhetoric in this article, i.e. "criminalizing our bodies," [in the sense that those bodies commit crimes, yes, I suppose they are being criminalized] and how the word "thug" is now some kind of hate speech.

If black and brown people didn't perpetrate a disproportionate share of crimes in America, there wouldn't be disproportionately many of them in prison. It's really that simple.

26 posted on 05/22/2014 7:51:57 AM PDT by ek_hornbeck
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