Race, Incarceration, And American Values Essay

Race, Incarceration, And American Values Essay

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In a perfect world, we would not have racial tensions and we would all sing Kumbaya together, however, we do not live inside a perfect world. Racial injustice that relates to incarceration in the United States, specifically to those who are African-Americans, is a literal fabrication of our imperfect world and details the thinly veiled allegory of our social apartheid. According to author Glenn Loury, this aspect of our nation’s prison system is the most damaging to our African-American community, wherein said group are being racially profiled and “trapped in the dark vestiges of the ghetto” (Loury, 2008, 57). In his ethnography, Race, Incarceration, and American Values, Loury highlights these troubling trends concerning the dehumanization of African-Americans through our current sociopolitical landscape.
The author begins his ethnography by giving us insight of the crime rate in the 1990s. He described this subject as the “age of drive-by shootings, drug deals gone bad, crack cocaine, and gangsta rap” ( ) that dominated the talk of the time. This type of ideology led our society to believe that we should put massive amounts of people in jail, and we did. However, as the crime rates peaked in 1992 they have come down since, but the imprisonment rates remain high and cause what Loury says a “leviathan unmatched in human history” ( ). This led to starling statistics that showed how bad the United States is with imprisonment in terms of the rest of the world; the United Sates has 5% of the world’s population and houses 25% of the world’s inmates ( ). He argues that the vast majority of these inmates are of black/brown color and are drawn heavily from the most disadvantaged parts of our nation (namely the ghetto). The punitive state ...


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... the most black individuals than any other state due to incarceration ( ). The black voters had the power to literally alter to course of our American history by potentially swaying the state in favor of Al Gore, that is if they had not have had their voting rights restricted.
The punitive state of our incarceration system in the United States heavily targets the African-American community in many aspects of life. They suffer from obvious racial discrimination and varying types of stereotypes. This type of de-classification can impair the individual’s wellbeing as well as affect the community in their surroundings, which very well has the chance to influence an abundance of scenarios in our own life. I agree with Glenn Loury: we should take it upon ourselves to improve the condition our African-American community. Society is inevitably responsible for what happens.

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