Freedom to hunger

White America must see that no other ethnic group has been slave on American soil. That is one thing that other ethnic groups haven’t had to face. The other thing is that the color became a stigma. American society made the black people’s skin color a stigma.

America freed the slaves in 1863 through the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln but gave the slaves no land, or nothing, in reality, as a matter of fact, to get started on. At the same time, America was giving away million of acres of land in the west and the mid-west which meant that there was a willingness to give the white peasants from Europe an economic base.

And yet it refused to give its black peasants from Africa, who came here involuntarily, in chains, and had worked free for 244 years any kind of economic base and so emancipation for the black person was really freedom to hunger.

It was freedom to the winds and rains. It was freedom without food to eat or land to cultivate and therefore it was freedom to famine at the same time. And when white Americans tell the black person to lift himself by his own bootstraps the don’t look over the legacy of slavery and segregation.

Now, I believe we ought to do all we can and seek to lift ourselves by our own bootstraps but it’s a cruel jest to say to a bootless person that one ought to lift himself by one’s own bootstraps. And many black people by the thousands and millions have been left bootless as a result of all of these years of oppression and as a result of a society that deliberately made its color a stigma and something worthless and degrading.

Now there’s an argue that no living person has owned a slave or in modern history, most, not all, of the oppression and discrimination was abolished.

Let’s not duel in the past, let’s go to modern history. let’s go to 1964. It was 58 years ago. That was when the Civil Rights Act passed which made it illegal to discriminate against black people. So if you know someone over the age 58, you know they lived in a time when legally they could discriminate against black people.

But now that the Civil Rights Act was passed, the government can no longer discriminate against people. And we all know that once a law is passed, everybody will abide by it, right? NO. And this answer will explain why Martin Luther King Jr. continued his protest and kept marching and eventually ended up being killed in 1968. That’s 54 years ago.

When MLK died, he had a negative approval rating. As a matter of fact, polls taken at the time suggested that more than one third of people said that he brought his death upon himself.

Moving forward. in 1971, about 51 years ago, Richard Nixon, then-president, declared a war on drugs which we all know through facts and many documentaries and published articles and sources, basically just targeted hippies and black people.

Here’s a quote from John Ehrlichman, Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs under President Richard Nixon:

“You want to know what this [war on drugs] was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying?

We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news.

Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Black communities was filled by opium, heroin, marijuana, etc. provided and given by the government of the United States. Empathy and sending people to rehab and treating people with kindness, that we do to addicted people now, that wasn’t the case for black people in 70s.

And hippies too. You know those chill guys who are all about peace, love, and understanding, basically the “all lives matter” crowd, they were treated unfairly and thrown in jail too, for using marijuana. The same drug that is decriminalized and 40 million people in the pandemic started to sell on their dispensaries.

And Richard Nixon ran until 1974. That doesn’t mean his practices ended at that time, it just means he officially left office that time. That was 48 years ago. And it’s still 70s, let’s not get stuck there.

Let’s move to 80s. In 1987, the CIA flooded black communities with cocaine to pay for a war in Nicaragua. We know this, again, for a fact because there are documents of it. They even made a movie about it named “Kill the Messenger” staring Jeremy Renner, the Hawkeye Avenger in Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Renner played as Journalist Gary Webb. What happened to Webb? He’s dead. He is alleged to commit suicide by shooting himself two times in the back of his head two times! Seriously. So now we have black communities filled by Crack and black people are begging for help to restore their divided and torn apart communities.

So then comes the Crime Bill. Did this Crime Bill stop bringing drugs into the black communities? The answer is still no. It did not stop the flood of illegal weapons and guns and drugs into the communities, it just put everybody in the communities in prison.

Did it offer drug rehabilitation to communities? No, it left crackheads to raise the children. This is 1994. And after this bill there’s more black people than ever in history of U.S. in prison and that brings free labor. It seems like slavery, right? No. The 13th amendment of the United States Constitution reads as “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

So slavery was illegal except, guess where, in prisons which are disproportionately filled with black people. Now prisons are big business. As of 2015, there were more than 91 thousand state inmates and 26 thousand federal inmates housed in private prison facilities, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Private prisons have become a lucrative business, with CCA generating enough revenue that is has become a publicly traded company. So in order to keep this business running, prisons have a quotas for how many people must be in it every year.

Prison occupancy quotas require the government to spend public dollars on housing and supervision of a certain number of inmates, whether a prison is empty or full. With governmental priorities pulling public funds in so many different directions, it makes no financial sense for taxpayers to fund empty prison beds, yet the government is spending money there.

How do you make profit from that? By labor you get which keeps running with people in prison. Or maybe by giving people longer sentences to keep them in those beds. Black male offenders continues to receive longer sentences than similarly situated white male offenders.

Mass incarceration is modern day slavery. Also, when you get out, you want to change your life? You can’t. Because people don’t treat felons the same way as others. No matter what your felony is and you’re not allowed to vote. With one third of black people in jail (or predicted to end up there), black people lose 33 percent of their saying in the political decisions made by republic.

And still, understand that there’s other matters like police brutality, racism from surveillance, racist practices by the banks, and many more discriminatory practices done by the system against people in general.

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Ali Reza Hayati

Entrepreneur, hacker, cypherpunk.