Race and Racism in American Prisons, and America Herself
Jerry Metcalf #251141
Thumb Correctional Facility
3225 John Conley Drive
Lapeer, MI 48446
email @ jpay.com
As I sat thinking about how and what to write on such a sensitve topic, I kept asking myself where to begin.
Do I start with the fact that although blacks in America only comprise about 12% of the population, they also–stunningly–make up damn near 50% of America’s prison, jail, and detention facility population?
Or do I go further back and begin with the fact that anyone who lives in American inner cities (mostly blacks) is seldom afforded their Constitutionally guaranteed right to a trial by a jury of their peers, because when a poor person goes to trial in these United States and is found guilty, he/she is punished harshly (well beyond the norm) to make an example. That way, when the next young, poor, often black or brown, man or woman find themselves standing in a courthouse they capitulate. Because regardless of whether you are guilty or innocent of your crime, if you are poor and black in America they want you so terrified of that supper-long prison sentence that you take whatever “deal” they offer.
And the reason for this evil scheme is simple: nobody gives two turds about our most underrepresented communities. No one cares whether there is enough money to guarantee little black kids an education, let alone whether they receive the right to a fair trial.
So when those black kids grow up and are locked away for years and decades and lifetimes, they remember how they were treated their whole lives. They remember how the white–or mostly white–government held them back. They remember how the white–or mostly white–teachers in their overcrowded inner schools lacked the ability and the time to help them learn, yet passed them anyway. They remember how the white–or mostly white–police officers harassed them, beat them, and murdered them. And then, after all that, when they finally find themselves imprisoned in a world where they are the majority, all that anger and frustration comes boiling out on the new minority, the very same white people (or so they think) who screwed them over their entire lives. Only now those white people are also convicts.
To add fuel to the flames, the minority whites, not really understanding what is going on, and how this viscous cycle is so deadly, grow even more racist, or, even if they’d never had a racist bone in their bodies, they find themselves forced to mingle with racist individuals and gangs because they fear the black inmates so badly.
Luckily, over the last several years, I’ve noticed that as many of the level-minded convicts (black and white alike) start to mellow out and mature, they have begun to realize the truth. That the idea of white and black in American prisons–and across America herself–is a deceptive illusion. In prison there are really only two opposing teams: Team Prison Guard, and Team Convict. There is no Team White or Team Black.
And Team Prison Guard already always has the home field advantage, so we of Team Convict need to get our act together and realize we are all playing for the same team reguardless of race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or anything else that sets us apart.
That’s why I am calling on all white Americans to join the Black Lives Matter movement. Not because they are black and we are white, but because here is a fight we can all get behind. Here is a fight that can unite us onto the same team.
The police in America have begun to kill people in unprecedented numbers, and are seldom held accountable. True, for every two young black men killed by police, there is only one young white man whom is killed. But this number, as lopsided and demented as it is, proves two things: One; that the police really are racist. And Two; that they are actually murdering people, whites included.
The only question I have, Dear Reader, is this: What are you going to do about it?
My name is Jerry Metcalf, and I wish to make the world a better place. If you do too, please join me @ Facebook.com.