Related to the struggle: Masking these things as the fault of the people
By Andravious Shaw-Corretjer, Student at FIU
How can a minority in America relate to the struggle in 2015? This is a question that be answered when one observes that many of the obstacles ancestors of the Black youth fought to overcome have come back in a new form. We’ve gone from slavery to the school to prison pipeline, separate but equal to ghettos and suburbs, and from lynchings to police brutality and stand your ground inequality.
One can easily find the correlation between slavery and the way that the prison system is set up in today’s America. Schools in minority neighborhoods are usually the underfunded schools with less resources which result in overcrowded classrooms and insufficient services for student. These schools often tend to have lower test scores than their counterparts in the white neighborhoods. These test scores are often used in estimating prison populations.
These schools also often encourage students with low test scores and behavior challenges to dropout rather than providing alternative solutions for them. Black males who dropout of high school end up incarcerated at a rate of one in every four and the black female is the fastest growing prison population in recent years.
This all gets back to slavery because penal labor an easy way for companies to get cheap labor and for the private prison companies to make money off of the companies using these inmates for the purposes of their labor while paying the laborers themselves little to no pay because of their status as a ‘criminal’.
And that is exactly what slavery is; to be in bondage and forced to work in hard conditions for little or no pay. And the school to prison pipe-line is making it evident that they are targeting minorities to end up in the prison system and working as a slave now know as the penal laborer.
Separate but equal laws were made unlawful many years ago. But somehow in present day America there is still a very evident separation of minorities from whites in where we live and the minority neighborhoods are usually the ones that are in bad condition with less resources than the areas occupied by Caucasian Americans.
Food deserts have become a large problem in America today. This is when an area doesn’t have access to fresh food markets near their homes. These areas are often filled with convenience stores but no actual markets or grocery stores to get fresh foods from. These areas are most often in the ghettos: the areas occupied by a majority of minority people. This causes many of them to depend on convenience stores and fast food which contributes to many health problems.
This is not the only injustice that is evident in separations of minority and white communities. These areas are usually the neighborhoods that are less appealing. And oftentimes there is gentrification of these neighborhoods when there is an outcry to help their communities look better. There is mass renovation in some of these areas but along with this renovation will come higher property taxes and many of the families and small businesses can no longer afford to stay in these neighborhoods and are forced to move out thus contributing to not only the separation of whites and minorities but also the condition they live in.
It is also hard to ignore the recent cases of killings of people of color in America. From George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin to the many cases of police brutality and killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and many more. There seems to be a bias in the eyes of most people of color when it comes to justice and the murders of their people.
The problems and obstacle that people of color have faced in the past and seemingly overcome can still be seen today. Many of these things have just taken on a new form and are not as blatant by masking these things as the fault of the people. The struggle is still alive and well. One just has to pay attention.