Aug. 15, 2020

That Goddamn Bill

OK, this is going to be 2 1/2 months with lies and misconceptions being tossed on a daily basis from sides of the aisle. The newest misconception is that the Crime Bill of 1994 did not start the era of mass incarceration of people of color, especially African American males. Or that the Crime bill Bill had all these great intentions to solve the mushrooming levels of crime throughout the nation. Well, American history doesn't bode well for well intentioned bills that are diverted to eventually oppress people of color. Well, need to step back from that crap because anyone with a sense of history knows that mass incarceration of African American men and women begin after the end of Black Reconstruction with all manner of laws meant to handicap our African American ancestors from gaining any semblance of freedom or independence in this nation. Southern states created vagrancy laws, convict leasing statutes, peonage systems, sharecropping, and miscegenation statutes to oppress and incarcerate our ancestors. Since 1877 there has been an all-out assault on black manhood in this nation. The early and mid-20th Century seemed to have a daily onslaught on ways to incarcerate and oppress African American men. This onslaught lead to a comfort zone and environment which created the 1994 Crime Bill authored by Senator Joe Biden, and signed into law by then President William J. Clinton. You will hear nonsense that the unintended consequence of this bill was the mass incarceration of African American males, the unintended consequence was the destruction of African American communities, the unintended consequences was the continued destruction of any sense of economic renewal of African American communities from coast to coast. Well, a bill calls for the expansion of penitentiaries and those penitentiaries have cells and those cells have to be filled. Anyone with any common sense knows that the target audience for filling those cells will include a great percentage of young African American males. They have always been the target audience of the white supremacists in this nation. So why wouldn't this bill leave them out of harm's way? Why would many state’s departments of education catalog deficient reading levels of 8 and 9 year-old children and use that knowledge to forecast the jail cells needed in the coming decade? Who exactly gets the lack of a quality education in nation? Last I looked it was African American boys. There were many aspects of that 1994 Crime Bill that targeted African American males:

1. Authorized the death penalty for 60 new federal offenses. Known as a “direct descendant of lynching,” the death penalty has always targeted and terrorized black and Latinx communities.
2. Imposed mandatory life sentences for individuals with three or more felony convictions. The crime bill implemented a rash of new three-strikes laws—laws that impose automatic life sentences for people convicted of certain felony offenses if they already have two convictions on their record. Dozens of states followed suit and enacted three-strikes laws, resulting in a ballooning of the incarceration rate in certain states, especially for black and Latinx Americans.
3. Levied harsh new penalties for justice-involved youth. The crime bill also expanded the school-to-prison pipeline and increased racial disparities in juvenile justice involvement by creating draconian penalties for so-called super predators—low-income children of color, especially black children, who are convicted of multiple crimes. Among other things, the crime bill allowed prosecutors to charge 13-year-old children as adults for certain crimes. As a result, today, two-thirds of Americans who were sentenced to life in prison as juveniles are black. Juveniles of color also constitute a majority of cases that are transferred to adult criminal court, regardless of the offense category.
(Rayna Shannon)

We need to do our own homework and not allow the voices of deception from both sides of the political aisle to influence our communities. We also know, or should know our importance in this coming election. We need to create our own platform. The ADOS demands are a great starting point and charge admission prices to both political parties to listen and commit to absolute change in our communities across this nation. We’ve been pawns of the political process of both the Republican and Democratic Parties way too long. It is time for each of us and that includes Kamala Harris to step to truly rebuild America. Until that happens this nation will always be in danger of being seduced by another Donald Trump. You see he isn't the first President to create havoc in this nation. He's simply the latest one. No need to fantasize that the Crime Bill of 1994 wasn't a bill with unintended consequences. It was what it was a continuation of the plot to oppress peoples of color.