Monday, July 6, 2009

American Of African Descent

Today was different from all the other days. When I went to school, we had a guest speaker along with a former Black Panther Member come and talk to our class. They talked about prison reform, and went and talked about slavery starting in the 1500's. I learned many things such as guards for jails make more money then teachers, and prisons are a form of segregation. More than 70% of inmates in the U.S are black, and some didin't even commit crimes.When I get back to the Bay Area I want to learn more about the California prisons, and learn statistics and find out about abuses and forms of jail segregation. People in jail are more likely to hand out with people like themselves (race, color, etc).

The second thing I did today was go to the concert and watch Richard and the teacher from the Civil Rights class. What I heard was really amazing. Not only the way she sang the songs, but the words that came out of her mouth. She sang about freedom mostly and the songs really inspired me. When I get back to California I want to make songs, or sing spiritual or about troubles in life, so I can reach out to others like she reached out to all of us today. Statistics show that kids these days are more likely to listen to words in song form because it is a big part of their cultures.


Madeline Kronenberg said...


Your class sounds very dynamic and I am happy to hear that you are connecting it to what you will be doing when you come back to California. Incarceration is a hugh issue in California and I am glad you are interested in learning more about it and finding a way to connect to your peers.

I'm glad you want to reach out to others in song -- and I look forward to seeing your progress.

Sounds like you're learning a great deal from the experience.

Keep up the thoughtful blogs.

Don Gosney said...


You’re at that wonderful age where you hear about social injustice and vow to change the world. I love that enthusiasm in people and hope it never diminishes within you.

I hope, though, that you understand that there are always two sides to a story and what you were told in the brief time allotted in one of your classes probably isn’t the whole story. I also hope that you can tell when people have an agenda and what they tell you is less academic than it is propagandic.

Are there abuses in our prison system? Yes. Are there wrongfully convicted people in our prisons? Of course. Is the US the only country in history to have an imperfect penal system? Of course not. Did we build our prisons so we can incarcerate more Black people? I don’t think so.

We have that age-old argument about why there are so many people of color in our prisons: are we picking on people of color or are we incarcerating criminals who happen to be something other than white? Do non-whites go to prison more frequently than whites? Probably. But why? Is it because of a racist system or is it because the whites tend to have more resources to present a better defense in court? Do we have more people of color in our detention centers because of the color of their skin or because the problems with our society tends to offer them criminal activities as what they might see as their only option?

I hope you can see, Zack, that the answers aren’t all that simple. When you return home, perhaps you might want to investigate this area much more closely so you can better understand the dynamics. With a better understanding you might even want to pursue the fight for social justice as a career—or at least an avocation.