Use the drop-down boxes above to navigate through the Website  
Return to Reasoning List

Here is a link to this page:


1 - 1011 - 2021 - 29
Time Zone: EST (New York, Toronto)
Messenger: RastaGoddess Sent: 10/27/2016 8:13:18 PM

This post is inspired from a reasoning on another thread.


Our natures are directly connected to Nature.

We are a product of our environment, a culmination of the elements. How we experience and view Creation is linked to how we sight the Creator.

Of course climate isn't the ONLY factor that affects our nature/disposition, but also our diet, among other factors, however one cannot deny the impact of climate on human beings. I can personally attest to this phenomenon from my own observations having traveled and lived in the sun belt and in some of the coldest areas in Europe.

The caveman's diet of mostly raw, uncooked and bloody meat will naturally produce a more harsh and aggressive disposition as opposed to the SUNNY disposition of Sun people who are farmers and enjoy the blessings of abundant Ital Foods.


“The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”


Neanderthals were the ancestors of modern Western humanity and that a significant number of Western people alive today retain vestiges of Neanderthal characteristics, both physical and "mental".
Dr. Cress Welsing ascribes certain inherent and behavioral differences between Black and White people to a “melanin deficiency” in white people.

Winter depression is still a mystery to scientists who study it. Many things, including brain chemicals, ions in the air, and genetics seem to be involved. But researchers agree that people who suffer from winter depression -- also known as "seasonal affective disorder
Melanin, like serotonin is a neurotransmitter, and like serotonin which affects hormones and therefore thought processes and mood, Melanin changes behaviour also. This factor, to Welsing makes ‘Blackness’ an established basis for moral, or more specifically; normal human behaviour.

In the African environment, people developed an Abundance mentality. In the European environment, people developed a scarcity mentality. And these two very different kind of mentality lead to two different kind of societies.
Here are the main characteristics of of the two mentalities:


- Aggression is limited, as competition for resource is limited
– Trust is open ended toward all people, even people outside the immediate community –
– People spend more time in contemplation and search for absolute connection with natural forces. They want to protect nature.
– People compliance to social normal is limited or relaxed. –
-People are nonchalant, and laid back
–Priests, and Magician are the most powerful member of society
– We are all one humanity, nurtured by the same nature.
– Wars are limited
– Obsessed about peace


– Competition for resource is fierce. Predation and aggression is necessary for survival
– Trust is limited to the clan, the family. Outsiders are by experience only predators or enemies
– People spend more time in maximizing resources and developing tools for extracting maximum resource from Nature. Nature is a threat!
– Compliance to social norm is rigorous. One person’s misbehavior could jeopardize social survival. Individual freedom is limited
– People are always on their guard, preparing to fight out of danger
– Warriors are celebrated and heralded
– A man is a wolf for a man. Survival belongs to the strongest.
– Wars are permanent and pervasive
– Obsessed about security


-Iceman Inheritance : Prehistoric Sources of Western Man's Racism, Sexism and Aggression - Michael Bradley

-Civilization or Barbarism by Cheikh Anta Diop


Messenger: Eleazar Sent: 11/1/2016 2:47:40 PM

I thought this was interesting.

Neanderthals mated with European humans and it made their immune systems weaker
A woman looks through a the eyes of a Neanderthal skull.
Not-so-ancient history. (Reuters/Nikola Solic)


Katherine Ellen Foley
October 22, 2016
The path to humanity as we know it was long.
Over about 2 million years, early human species slowly evolved beneficial mutation after beneficial (or at least benign) mutation, shaping our bodies into how they look and work today. Simultaneously, these early humans were migrating all over the planet, and reproducing with one another.
In two papers published this week in the journal Cell, researchers from the University of Montreal in Canada and the Pasteur Institute in Paris outlined findings that this interbreeding process is what led modern humans of African and European descent to have slightly different immune systems. The earliest Homo sapiens to arrive in what is now Europe mated with Neanderthals already living there, and in doing so acquired some DNA that codes for less aggressive inflammatory immune responses to infections. The findings suggest that people of African descent are better at fighting off certain kinds of infections—and may explain why they’re more likely to have inflammatory autoimmune diseases, like lupus.

“I was expecting to see ancestry-associated differences in immune response,” Luis Barreiro, a geneticist at the University of Montreal and lead author of one of the papers, said in a statement, “but not such a clear trend towards an overall stronger response to infection among individuals of African descent.”
For Barreiro’s work, he and his team took blood samples of 80 people of African descent and 95 people of European descent. They found that when white blood cells in the samples were subjected to two types of bacterial infections, those from people with African ancestry eliminated the bacteria much more quickly than those from people of European descent. These cells also activated a stronger inflammatory response. When the researchers compared the genes of these immune cells, they found genes similar to Neanderthal DNA in European cells, but not Africans.
In the study out of the Pasteur Institute, researchers conducted a similar experiment with blood samples from 200 Dutch individuals, about half of whom had African ancestry and half of whom had European ancestry. They surrounded these white blood with a strain of the flu virus as well as the chemical markers that usually signal a viral or bacterial infection. Once again, Europeans tended to have less of an inflammatory response—especially to the flu virus—and had more genes similar to Neanderthals.
As a general rule, evolution favors those traits that are advantageous for living in certain conditions, and the researchers have a few ideas why immune responses differ between the two groups of people. For one thing, it could be that the infectious diseases in Africa were deadlier than those in Europe, Barreiro told Live Science. Homo sapiens living in Africa would need to develop stronger immune responses to combat these viruses and bacteria than Neanderthals in Europe.

That adaptation may have come with some unfavorable consequences, though. Inflammatory immune responses to some kinds of infections can actually be more harmful than beneficial, Lluis Quintana-Murci, a geneticist at the Pasteur Institute and lead author of the French study, told Nature. “Maybe the most important thing is to live in peace with the microbes.”
These studies highlight a need to investigate different populations to understand why some people are more likely to develop autoimmune diseases. Overall, women are more likely to develop these conditions than men, and women of color are two to three times more likely to do so than white women.

Messenger: GARVEYS AFRICA Sent: 11/1/2016 7:37:31 PM

As well as thr environmental factors. White people responding to the fact they know they are the minority of the planet (11%) so they create such behaviours in order to try and protect fe dem ting

Messenger: RastaGoddess Sent: 11/2/2016 8:56:30 PM

Give thankhs Eleazar for sharing that. Interesting indeed!

I agree brotha Garveys.

Messenger: TruthIs Sent: 11/26/2016 12:03:52 AM

Here is an article written by Ozodi Osuji from Nigeria

Why Are Africans Prone To Violence And Criminality?

Black people in Africa and in the Americas are generally more violent than white and Asian people. There is high rate of black on black crimes in black neighborhoods in America; blacks kill themselves at a higher rate and commit violent crimes at a higher rate and wound up in jails and prisons than members of other races in America. Black Americans are 12% of the total population of the country but constitute over 50% of the jail and prison inmates of the USA.

It is a generalization to say that black folks are prone to violence and crime for not all black folks are violent and or criminal. Be that as it may, many black persons are prone to violence and crime; if you ignore this fact and relate to black folks as you relate to folks from other races and let down your guards you are more likely to wound up a victim of violence and or crime.

My observation is that black folks are quick to violence; they are quick to verbally putting each other down; they do not respect their people and do not respect people in general although fearing white folk’s possession of big clubs that they could use in whacking black folk they appear to fear and respect white folk (but not love them for behind their blacks they rob them).

Violence and attack is almost always in the consciousness of black folk and upon the least provocation they attack you; they attack you as if they were already waiting for a chance to attack you. They attack, harm and kill as if they do not take human life seriously.

Thus, it came to pass that members of the other races are generally very careful around black folks; they intuitively understand that they had better not say anything that could provoke black folk into attacking them.

Observing that black folks are prone to violence, white folks generally keep quiet when they are around black folks, not wanting to offend them and provoke their violence, a violence that is always near the surface.

It seems that black folks do not know love for their people and for human beings but know only violence towards themselves and human beings in general.

Black folks are very egotistical; as in all cases where there is overblown ego they want to be seen as very important persons and when they suspect that you did not treat them as important, when they feel belittled and demeaned they either yell at you or attack you; they seldom walk away from a person they perceive to be humiliating and degrading them as most other people would do. These people attack to show you that they are powerful (they are actually cowards for it takes courage to walk away from anger arousing stimuli).

All human beings have egos and resent been insulted but most civilized persons understand that folks will always say nasty things to them and when that happens they walk away from the presence of those people. If you made them angry, black folks would insult you and or attack to kill you as if killing you means nothing to them.

Since they act out like animals and really do not plan what they do, if you are the smart and vengeful type you may tolerate their initial attacks and go plan how to subject black folks to slavery and you would succeed. You would succeed because like bullies they are cowards and if you raise the heat on them they would run and go hide and talk but would not stand up like men and fight back.

Black folks do not plan for the future; they are motivated by immediate gratification and act impulsively.

Clearly, black folks need to do what the rest of humanity does: get to understand the nature of their egos and shrink them down rather than acting out like savages upon the slightest provocation; they must become civilized instead of always acting as barbarians.

No one wants to articulate these empirical but negative realities about black folks lest one is seen as anti-black folks. I do not hate black folks. Nevertheless, I am obligated to validate my perception and say things as I see them and not deceive my eyes. I call it as I see it.

The black people I see around me whether in Africa or the Americas are mostly violent people; they are prone to criminal activity; they have reduced Africa to criminal land.

The politicians of Nigeria are better characterized as criminals looting the country’s oil revenue rather than leaders doing what are good for their people.

It is by acknowledging these ugly facts about black folks and working to understand and change them that we can begin to help turn black folks around; denying what they do just so we do not offend them is to prolong their backwardness.

Folks also deny that the average black person score poorly on IQ and standardized scholastic aptitude tests. By merit most black folks would not be able to enter good American universities unless exceptions are made for them (affirmative action). Only a handful of black folks, the ten percent that W.E.B Dubois talked about, are able to compete with other races.

We need to understand why these empirical realities exist and help change them instead of deny them.


My goal in this write up is to state the observation of my naked eyes; I am not motivated to understand why black folks do what they do. Obviously, an explanation of why they do what they do exist in their biological make up and social experience. Like most people their biology determines most of their behaviors.

Ascertaining the correlation of biology and sociology in shaping of human behavior is not my present task. Let other persons perform that study.

Please do not just tell us that it is only racism that made black people violent and that it is poverty that made them prone to criminal activities at a higher rate than other people. Give us a biosocial study. I am for such studies; however, I must warn that I am not persuaded by rationalizations masquerading as explanations.

An acceptable explanation of human behavior must include genetic studies. Generally, when it concerns blacks’ social scientists fear that to look into the biological origin of behavior and find genetic roots of black folks criminality would stereotype them and subject them to more discrimination. Observers must ignore black resistance to doing biogenetic study of their behaviors and go ahead and do them. Merely adducing racism, discrimination and poverty as responsible for black folk’s violence and criminality is no longer enough.


My observation, what my physical eyes show me is that African people in Africa, in the Americas and wherever black folks are found have a tendency to be more violent and prone to criminal activities than members of the other races of mankind.

Some members of all the human races engage in violence and crime but black folks seem to excel in violence and criminal activity. Why they do so I do not understand. What I do know is the evidence of my eyes. I wish that someone can give us a biological and sociological explanation of why black folks do these dreadful things rather than give us the same old, same old excuses, such as blaming everything wrong with black folks on other people, thus treating black folks as if they are children who are not capable of being responsible for their behaviors.

Ozodi Osuji

July 31, 2013

Messenger: TruthIs Sent: 11/26/2016 12:51:13 AM

I know that the previous writer didn't speak much about statistics to back up his claims, so here is some statistics.

Despite the revelation that half of the officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray – the incident that led to the Baltimore riots – are black, the narrative that black people are being disproportionately and unfairly targeted by predominantly white police officers and a racist criminal justice system in the United States continues to dominate.

This has led to the growth of a divisive movement – ‘Black Lives Matter’ – which has only served to further polarize America down racial lines, obsessing on skin color and invoking white guilt, while ignoring the true causes of and solutions to police brutality.

Until the following facts become part of the conversation, we’re never going to see a real reduction in the number of violent confrontations involving black people and police officers. But the mainstream media, political leaders and white people in general are afraid to even mention these facts for fear of being labeled racist.

I’m not here to win any popularity contests. I genuinely care about less black people and less police officers dying in the streets. So I’m going to give it to you straight.

Black people in the United States are more likely to be victims of violent confrontations with police officers than whites because they commit more violent crimes than whites per capita.

– FACT: Despite making up just 13% of the population, blacks commit around half of homicides in the United States. DOJ statistics show that between 1980 and 2008, blacks committed 52% of homicides, compared to 45% of homicides committed by whites.

More up to date FBI statistics tell a similar story. In 2013, black criminals carried out 38% of murders, compared to 31.1% for whites, again despite the fact that there are five times more white people in the U.S.

– FACT: From 2011 to 2013, 38.5 per cent of people arrested for murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault were black. This figure is three times higher than the 13% black population figure. When you account for the fact that black males aged 15-34, who account for around 3% of the population, are responsible for the vast majority of these crimes, the figures are even more staggering.

– FACT: Despite the fact that black people commit an equal or greater number of violent crimes than whites, whites are almost TWICE as likely to be killed by police officers.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, between 1999 and 2011, 2,151 whites died as a result of being shot by police compared to 1,130 blacks.

Critics argue that black people are overrepresented in these figures because they only represent 13% of the population, but they are underrepresented if you factor in violent crime offenders. In other words, you would expect the number of blacks and whites killed by police to be roughly equal given that they commit a roughly equal number of violent crimes, but that’s not the case. Whites are nearly 100% more likely to be victims.

And what about black on white violence in general?

– FACT: Despite being outnumbered by whites five to one, blacks commit eight times more crimes against whites than vice-versa, according to FBI statistics from 2007. A black male is 40 times as likely to assault a white person as the reverse. These figures also show that interracial rape is almost exclusively black on white.

“Even allowing for the existence of discrimination in the criminal justice system, the higher rates of crime among black Americans cannot be denied,” wrote James Q. Wilson and Richard Herrnstein in their widely cited 1985 study, “Crime and Human Nature.” “Every study of crime using official data shows blacks to be overrepresented among persons arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for street crimes.”

It’s clear that the greater propensity for black people to commit violent crimes is a driving factor as to why blacks are becoming involved in more violent confrontations with police than their 13% population figure suggests they should be. If the 911 calls are coming from black areas and are related to black people committing violent crimes, then of course black people are more likely to be involved in violent confrontations with cops.

Does that justify police brutality in cases such as Freddie Gray, Walter Scott or Eric Garner? No. But it does demolish the ‘Black Lives Matter’ narrative that the general trend of black people being victims of violent encounters with police is solely down to the fact that cops are racist towards black people. Racism is a factor, but the statistics clearly show that it’s by no means the only factor, and some would argue not even the dominant factor.

But aren’t all these statistics undermined by the fact that black people are unfairly targeted and framed for crimes by police officers in the first place? Don’t higher arrest and conviction rates of blacks merely prove that police are racist? This argument is debunked by looking at the proportion of offenders identified – not by police – but by victims – as black. The National Crime Victimization Survey shows that the number of blacks arrested generally correlates with the number of offenders identified as black by victims.

Studies suggest that the reasons behind blacks being more likely to commit violent crimes are the dual issues of poverty (which exacerbates family breakdown) and a sub-culture amongst the black community that is tolerant of and glamorizes crime and violence. In the aftermath of the Ferguson and Baltimore riots, we saw the white metropolitan liberal media further legitimize this violence by openly justifying and even endorsing violent unrest that targeted mainly black-owned businesses.

This is true racism – by encouraging blacks to loot and riot, the white liberal media is helping to keep black communities in a cycle of destructive behavior that will lead to more police brutality targeted against black people.
Police brutality is a huge problem within the United States, and anyone that denies that fact is a part of the problem. But until we acknowledge and address the equally important issue of violent criminality within the black community, and until that becomes part of the national conversation, the issue is never going to be resolved.

And by failing to make these facts part of the conversation, black political leaders, protest organizers, and the white liberal media is complicit in perpetuating the chain reaction of violence that makes more police brutality against black people an inevitable outcome.

Messenger: TruthIs Sent: 11/26/2016 1:20:59 AM

The study below found that when income level was taken into account, black americans were still more likely to commit crime. Instead of blaming everybody else, more effort needs to be placed to stop violence and crime amongst black youth, especially males. That will solve economic problems and police problems. If you stop our youth and young adults from making our communities a war zone, the police will not have to behave like soldiers. But instead we look outside of ourselves for blame and a fix. Stop glorifying gangsters, we must despise them and teach our children to do the same.

Titled “Race, Wealth and Incarceration: Results from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth,”
by Khaing Zaw, Statistical Research Associate at Duke University;
Darrick Hamilton from The New School Department of Economics, New York;
William Darity, Professor Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics, at Duke University.

Zaw is Chinese, and Hamilton and Darity are black, so it is not some study by some racist white people.

The study found that found that poor black males were nearly four times more likely to commit crime than poor white males.

The study concluded
Between races, we find that at low levels of wealth both blacks and Hispanics still had a higher incarceration rate than whites. At higher levels of wealth at the baseline, although the black-white incarceration disparity was reduced for males, it was not eliminated.

Messenger: GARVEYS AFRICA Sent: 11/26/2016 6:21:29 AM

The misguided african brother did not post any statistics. Let me help

The percentage for black on black violent crime and white on white violent crime 62% and 56% are very similar. Except due to population differences this would translate to over 600000 violent black on black crimes and over 2.2 million violent white on white crimes.

When we examine the TOTAL number of violent crimes white people account forthe majority at 42%. Giving a number of around 3 million.

Men lie women lie numbers dont.


Heres an interesting article written by white people:

Black Crime Rates: What Happens When Numbers Aren’t Neutral
Sep 02, 2015 | Updated Sep 02, 2016
Kim Farbota Lawyer, neuroscientist, human

There is a common conservative narrative that indicates the disproportionate incarceration of black people is not the result of systemic racism, but rather of shortcomings within the black community.

It is also common to hear the supposedly neutral statement that “black people commit more crimes than white people.” This “fact” is used to justify a belief that black people have a natural criminal propensity, or that a “culture of violence” is to blame for problems faced by black people in America.

Black people make up roughly 13% of the United States population, and white people make up 64%. Black people make up 40% of the prison population, and white people 39%. Therefore, even though there are roughly five times as many white people as black people in this country, blacks and whites are incarcerated in equal numbers. But the fact that black people are incarcerated five times as frequently as white people does not mean black people commit five times as many crimes. Here’s why:

(1) If a black person and a white person each commit a crime, the black person is more likely to be arrested. This is due in part to the fact that black people are more heavily policed.
Black people, more often than white people, live in dense urban areas. Dense urban areas are more heavily policed than suburban or rural areas. When people live in close proximity to one another, police can monitor more people more often. In more heavily policed areas, people committing crimes are caught more frequently. This could help explain why, for example, black people and white people smoke marijuana at similar rates, yet black people are 3.7 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. (The discrepancy could also be driven by overt racism, more frequent illegal searches of black people, or an increased willingness to let non-blacks off with a warning.)

(2) When black people are arrested for a crime, they are convicted more often than white people arrested for the same crime.
An arrest and charge does not always lead to a conviction. A charge may be dismissed or a defendant may be declared not guilty at trial. Whether or not an arrestee is convicted is often determined by whether or not a defendant can afford a reputable attorney. The interaction of poverty and trial outcomes could help explain why, for example, while black defendants represent about 35% of drug arrests, 46% of those convicted of drug crimes are black. (This discrepancy could also be due to racial bias on the part of judges and jurors.)

(3) When black people are convicted of a crime, they are more likely to be sentenced to incarceration compared to whites convicted of the same crime.
When a person is convicted of a crime, a judge often has discretion in determining whether the defendant will be incarcerated or given a less severe punishment such as probation, community service, or fines. One study found that in a particular region blacks were incarcerated for convicted felony offenses 51% of the time while whites convicted of felonies were incarcerated 38% of the time. The same study also used an empirical approach to determine that race, not confounded with any other factor, was a key determinant in judges’ decisions to incarcerate.


Racial disparities at every stage of the criminal justice process build upon one another. So, if 1,000 white people and 200 black people (a ratio of 5:1 to reflect the U.S. population) commit the same crime, here is what the eventual prison population could look like:

100 white people and 74 black people might be arrested.
It is impossible to determine what percentage of crimes committed result in arrests because there can be no data on un-observed crimes. As noted above, however, it has been found that while black and white Americans smoke marijuana at similar rates, blacks are arrested 3.7 times as frequently for marijuana possession. These numbers were picked to reflect the 3.7:1 ratio of black to white arrests for marijuana possession. 100 is 10% of 1,000 and 74 is 37% of 200, so these numbers would represent an arrest disparity equivalent to that noted in the example above.

50 white people and 48 black people might be convicted.
If black people account for 35% of drug arrests and 46% of convictions, this indicates a conviction rate that is approximately 1.3 times higher than it should be based on the black arrest rate. So, if 50% of white arrestees were convicted we would expect to see 65% (.5 x 1.3) of black arrestees convicted: 50 is 50% of 100 and 48 is about 65% of 74. (50% was picked at random; the important factor here is the comparative proportion.)

19 white people and 24 black people might be sentenced to prison.
Using the example felony incarceration rates cited above, we might expect to see 38% of the 50 convicted white defendants (19) and 51% of the 48 convicted black defendants (24) incarcerated for their crimes. In this scenario, 12% of black people who commit a crime and less than 2% of white people who commit the same crime might eventually go to prison.

This example demonstrates that there are systemic differences in how blacks and whites are treated by the law. These differences, which are compounded in each successive phase of the criminal justice process, increase the percentage of black people incarcerated for committing a particular crime.

This example is NOT meant to be a conclusive analysis explaining the incarceration gap. The statistics presented above and applied to the illustrative example come from different contexts and refer to different crimes. Racial disparities in the application of criminal justice are not the only source of differential incarceration rates. Poverty, geography, and lacking educational and career opportunities all likely play a role. These factors exacerbate the effects of systemic racism and feed the cycle of incarceration, joblessness, and poverty that plagues some segments of the black population.

Regardless of the exact factors behind the incarceration gap, it is not some neutral, statistical fact that black people commit more crime. The gap is the result of numerous interacting factors, not the least of which is racism. Explanations of the incarceration gap as a result of black criminal propensity or insular cultural deficiencies are critically flawed, and by definition racist.

Messenger: GARVEYS AFRICA Sent: 11/26/2016 6:39:37 AM

Can i remind you good american citizens about your 13th amendment. Yes. The one that they teach you ended slavery.... or did it?

Does the 13th amendment not state that slavery and involuntary servitude will be abolished thereafter... EXCEPT if that person has been convicted of a crime.
Surely if theres an exception then theres no true abolishment.....and slavery still exists in the united states.

Couple that with the knowledge that the prison systems have long been privatised in that, they are owned by private corporations who benefit / profit directly from prisons being full and the servitude being ..served. Then one suddenly gets a system of involuntary slaves and their literal masters.

Another article

The Atlantic

American Slavery, Reinvented
The Thirteenth Amendment forbade slavery and involuntary servitude, “except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”

The Atlantic
Share Tweet


Convict leasing was cheaper than slavery, since farm owners and companies did not have to worry about the health of their workers.

Angola’s farm operations and other similar prison industries have ancestral roots in the black chattel slavery of the South. Specifically, the proliferation of prison labor camps grew during the Reconstruction era following the Civil War, a time when southern states established large prisons throughout the region that they quickly filled, primarily with black men. Many of these prisons had very recently been slave plantations, Angola and Mississippi State Penitentiary (known as Parchman Farm) among them. Other prisons began convict-leasing programs, where, for a leasing fee, the state would lease out the labor of incarcerated workers as hired work crews. Convict leasing was cheaper than slavery, since farm owners and companies did not have to worry at all about the health of their workers.

In this new era of prison industry, the criminal “justice” system, the state determined the size of the worker pool. Scores of recently freed slaves and their descendants now labored to generate revenue for the state under a Jim Crow regime.

* * *

More than a century later, our prison labor system has only grown. We now incarcerate more than 2.2 million people, with the largest prison population in the world, and the second highest incarceration rate per capita. Our prison populations remain racially skewed. With few exceptions, inmates are required to work if cleared by medical professionals at the prison. Punishments for refusing to do so include solitary confinement, loss of earned good time, and revocation of family visitation. For this forced labor, prisoners earn pennies per hour, if anything at all.

Angola is not the exception; it is the rule.

Over the decades, prison labor has expanded in scope and reach. Incarcerated workers, laboring within in-house operations or through convict-leasing partnerships with for-profit businesses, have been involved with mining, agriculture, and all manner of manufacturing from making military weapons to sewing garments for Victoria’s Secret. Prison programs extend into the services sector; some incarcerated workers staff call centers.


The End of the Line: Rehabilitation and Reform in Angola Penitentiary

Given the scope and scale of prison labor in the modern era, one could reasonably expect some degree of compliance with modern labor standards. However, despite the hard-won protections secured by the labor movement over the past 100 years, incarcerated workers do not enjoy most of these protections.

Employment law makes the status of the worker as an “employee” a critical distinction. If you are an employee, you get protections; if not, you don’t. Courts look to the character of the relationship between the parties and aim to assess, first, whether the employer has sufficient control over the work conditions and, second, whether the relationship is primarily of an economic character.

Incarcerated workers are not expressly excluded from the definition of employee in workers’ protection statutes like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or the National Labor Relations Act. However, in the cases where incarcerated workers have sued their prison-employers to enforce minimum wage laws or the FLSA, courts have ruled that the relationship between the penitentiary and the inmate worker is not primarily economic; thus, the worker is not protected under the statutes. By judging the relationship between prisons and incarcerated workers to be of a primarily social or penological nature, the courts have placed wage and working condition protections out of reach for incarcerated workers.

Incarcerated persons or, more specifically, the “duly convicted,” lack a constitutional right to be free of forced servitude. Further, this forced labor is not checked by many of the protections enjoyed by workers laboring in the exact same jobs on the other side of the 20-foot barbed-wire electric fence.

* * *

Angola for Life raises questions about the potential rehabilitative nature of prison labor. Work, warden Cain posits, is an important part of the rehabilitative process. Prison labor provides a way to pay society back for the costs of incarceration, as well as a pathway to correct deviant behavior and possibly find personal redemption.

Meaningful work helps cultivate self-esteem, self worth, and the sense that one’s existence on this Earth matters. Yet, while some form of work for the incarcerated may be important, the current form is troubling. These workers are vulnerable to the kind of workplace exploitation that America has otherwise deemed inhumane.

Another justification for compulsory prison labor comes from a fairness concern. Why should prisoners sit with idle hands when the rest of us must work to put a roof over our heads and food in our bellies? Perhaps the low-to-no wages paid to incarcerated workers are a form of pay garnishment, a sort of compensation for the costs of room and board?

Yet those costs are not fairly calculated. The American criminal-justice system is rife with fees that shift the financial burden of incarceration to the charged and convicted and their families. Like the “company store” in isolated mining towns which overcharged workers of old, prisoners are left open to similar forms of exploitation.

Finally, some would argue that regardless of its harsh nature, prison labor is simply a matter of just deserts. Don’t workers behind bars deserve less than equal treatment? After all, they are murderers, criminals, all manner of sinners and deviants. The appeal of this argument lies in its simplicity: People who do not behave like decent human beings do not merit being treated like decent human beings.

There is much to say of the inadequacy of this sort of eye-for-an-eye philosophy and the importance of resisting such a reflex in the realm of state action and public policy. As Ta-Nehisi Coates described in his Atlantic cover story, a series of risk factors—including mental illness, illiteracy, poverty, and drug addiction—drastically increase the chance that one will end up among the incarcerated. By one report’s measure, more than half of the inmates in jails and prisons in the United States are suffering from mental illness of some kind. These risk factors are social-welfare and public-health issues. America makes the choice to respond to these outcomes with the penal system, but there are other ways.

There is one further reason to be concerned about the system of prison labor. A brief moment of dialogue in the first few minutes of the video between the inmate driving a buggy and the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg hints at this:

Elderly Inmate: I got locked up July 25, 1981.

Reporter: What was the charge?

Elderly Inmate: Second-degree murder.

Reporter: Did you do it?

Elderly Inmate: Nah.

Reporter: But you’re here.

Elderly Inmate: I’m here.
Maybe we believe him. Likely we don’t. Whether we believe this particular inmate or not, ample experience and research point us to an uncomfortable reality: There are innocent men at Angola. We don’t know which they are, but we do know they are there, and they are disproportionately likely to be black. In American criminal justice, “duly convicted” doesn’t always mean what we wish it to.

* * *

Individual stories are compelling. For the slave toiling in the antebellum south, a kindly master was a godsend. Burl Cain may be the very best that the inmates of Angola prison could hope for, a rare thoughtful, kindly, creative sort of warden. He is almost certainly a man trying to do the best he can for a population damned and forgotten by society with the resources he has available.

But individual narratives are not enough. When we focus on the individual, it’s easy to miss the context. The context here is undeniable, and it is made clear by the very first frames of Angola for Life.

As the camera zooms out and pans over fields of black bodies bent in work and surveyed by a guard, the picture that emerges is one of slavery. It is one of a “justice” system riddled with racial oppression. It is one of private business taking advantage of these disenfranchised, vulnerable workers. It is one of an entire caste of men relegated, as they have long been relegated, to labor for free, condemned to sow in perpetuity so that others might reap.


Messenger: GARVEYS AFRICA Sent: 11/26/2016 6:55:52 AM

But involuntary servitude is not the same as slavery.... america didnt mean that....??


Despite the enactment of the Civil Rights Act, some courts equated prisoners with slaves. For example, in 1870, the Virginia Supreme Court in Ruffin v. Commonwealth declared prisoners, by virtue of their incarceration, "civilly dead." Specifically, the court notoriously concluded: "For the time being, during his term of service in the penitentiary, he is in a state of penal servitude to the State. He has, as a consequence of his crime, not only forfeited his liberty, but all his personal rights except those which the law in its humanity accords to him. He is for the time being the slave of the State."

The Ruffin case, decided only five years after ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, clearly conflated the status of slavery with involuntary servitude. Although the opinion glaringly did not mention Ruffin's race, newspaper reports at the time indicate that Mr. Ruffin was an African-American prisoner. The Civil War had ended only five years prior to the Ruffin decision. Faced with an African-American defendant just a few years after emancipation, and still influenced by the racial legacy of slavery, the Virginia Supreme Court could see Mr. Ruffin as only a slave. Since Ruffin, courts routinely have failed to properly distinguish involuntary servitude from slavery. Although courts have taken pains to distance themselves from the Ruffin their efforts have not translated into a clear understanding of the differences between these two terms.

Now examine the statistics for the crime rate and the prison populations especially since 1990/95. The crime rate drops significantly while the prisons are still packed.

So why doesn’t the state of crime in the U.S. seem all that wonderful?
Maybe it is because of the preponderance of appalling, headline-grabbing mass shootings. Maybe it’s because crime is an awful thing and so we think we could always do better. Maybe it’s because the U.S. homicide rate actually is, according to United Nations statistics, rather high when compared to the rates in other developed nations.
Or maybe it’s because even though the U.S. crime rate has dwindled, the end of the line for all this crime — the U.S. prison population — is somehow still booming

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of incarcerated people in the U.S., as of the last report (2014), was 2,224,400. Considering that the U.S. population is about 321 million, that means that one in every 145 Americans is incarcerated. But if that number seems low, it’s only because Americans have become inured to the abysmal state of our criminal justice and penal systems.
Incarceration Rate Worldwide
Map revealing incarceration rates per 100,000 people around the world. Source: World Prison Brief. Image: Wikimedia Commons
Another way to look at that one-in-every-145 figure is to say that 716 out of every 100,000 Americans is incarcerated. For comparison’s sake, more than half of the world’s countries have rates below 150 per 100,000. The average across Europe? 133.5.
Framed differently — and popularly so in presidential primary stump speeches — while the United States has less than five percent of the world’s population, it has almost 25 percent of the world’s prison population.

Overcrowded Prison
Improvised housing at California’s Mule Creek State Prison, one of the most crowded prisons in one of the states most faced with crisis with a prison population that is simply too large (2007). Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

And even as the U.S. crime rate has dropped and dropped, the country’s prison population has soared. The symmetry is almost comically perfect: Since its peak in 1991, the U.S. crime rate has been cut almost exactly in half. Yet over that same time frame, the country’s prison population has almost exactly doubled (and since 1980, it’s quadrupled).

The War On Drugs (which incidentally started once black people started to make multi billion dollar industries through such enterprise. Wasnt the war on drugs at the same time as frank lucas rise to prominence as an example?)

THE VERY FIRST ANSWER you likely thought of has indeed become tragically obvious: The War on Drugs.
In the lead up to last month’s historic U.N. summit on overhauling global drug policy, the media, academics, and elected officials released a tide of damning statements on the decades-long failure of the U.S. War on Drugs.
That failure is undeniable.
According to the White House’s recently released National Drug Control Budget for 2017, the country’s planned spending on both treatment and law enforcement related to illegal drugs next year will reach $31.1 billion, a number that has risen every year for the last decade.
Over $15 billion of that budget will go toward law enforcement (if there’s one silver lining here it’s that the country has been funneling a lot more money into the treatment side of the equation in recent years, with that side of the budget doubling since just 2009).
Of course, those are just the planned expenses, not the ones that will actually result from all the drug-related incidents that occur throughout the year — and which you can’t exactly plan for.
When the year is over and all the country’s drug-related expenses are tallied up, the number will likely be nearer $193 billion (the figure from the last U.S. Department of Justice report on the matter made available — tellingly, from 2007).
And for all that money, all that effort, all those resources, both drug use and drug crime in the U.S. have risen in recent decades.

Thus, it’s no surprise that drug offenders represent a wildly disproportionate percentage of the total U.S. prison population and help account for its boom.
Prisoner Breakdown By Crime
The breakdown of inmates currently in U.S. federal prisons by crime, as of March 2016. Source: U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons
But even still, the War on Drugs does not fully explain why the U.S. prison population is soaring as crime rates are falling. While that war and its failure get plenty of ink, the other, perhaps even more sinister reason why U.S. prisons are so well stocked hardly makes headlines at all.

Prison For Profit

Geo Group Detention Facility
The Adelanto Detention Facility in Adelanto, California, owned by The GEO Group, the highest-grossing private prisons corporation in the United States today.

AS OF 2014, over eight percent of U.S. prisoners and 62 percent of immigrant detainees are held in privately-owned prisons.
These private prisons are run by corporations, and like all other corporations, they are beholden to investors and are in the business of making profits. And in the U.S., the for-profit prison industry is booming.
Private Prisoners Growth Graph
Image Source: Prison Policy Initiativ

In 1983 and 1984, two private corrections corporations formed, one after the other. First, in Tennessee, there was the Corrections Corporation of America. Then, in Florida, The GEO Group.
Both started small and grew slowly at first, but eventually, business took off — unbelievably so. Between 1990 and 2009, the number of inmates in private prisons increased by an astonishing 1600 percent.
CCA and GEO each spend well over $1 million a year contributing to political campaigns (in addition to untold lobbying costs likely in the tens of millions) in order to make sure that both the laws being written and the government contracts being handed down keep their private prisons stocked with inmates.
Cramped Prison Living Quarters
Cramped, improvised living quarters at California’s Mule Creek State Prison. Over 17,000 prisoners in California live in this kind of “non-traditional” housing

It’s working. And with so many prisoners, profits have shot sky high. CCA revenue hit a whopping $1.79 billion in 2015, up from the year before, while GEO revenue hit an even higher $1.84 billion, likewise an improvement over their previous year.
Now, how exactly do these corporations turn prisoners into well over $3 billion worth of revenue every year?
It’s not quite slavery, but it’s close.

Largely by working with Federal Prisons Industries (a government-owned corporation, also known as UNICOR, that serves as a contractor for prison labor), CCA and GEO put prisoners to work (in factories, agriculture, textiles, and more), pay them next to nothing, and reap the rewards of the inmates’ labor.
While, unsurprisingly, statistics on prisoner wages aren’t exactly easy to come by, the often cited figure is between $0.23 and $1.15 per hour. The total wages paid — to every single laborer combined — as reported by UNICOR for 2015 were just $33,538. Total revenue? $558 million (up almost $90 million from the year before).
Manufactured By Unicor Label
Daniel Lobo / Flickr
With labor this cheap in the marketplace, plenty of companies (like American Apparel) have been underbid for lucrative contracts, while plenty of other companies (like Whole Foods) have contracted with UNICOR and come under fire for exploiting what is virtually slave labor.
And comparing the CCA/GEO/UNICOR prison-industrial complex to slavery becomes all the more chilling when we remember that the booming U.S. prison population is, to an unbelievably disproportionate degree, African-American.
The New Slavery
Hand On Fence Angola
An inmate holds a fence at Louisiana State Penitentiary, a former plantation and now the largest maximum security prison in the U.S. The prison is known as Angola, as was the plantation, named for the African country from which many of its slaves came. Photo: Mario Tama / Getty Images
EVEN THOUGH AFRICAN-AMERICANS make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, African-American males make up 37 percent of the male U.S. prison population.
Put another way, 2.7 percent of African-American males were sentenced to more than one year in a state or federal prison at the end of 2014. The figure for white males was just 0.5 percent, making African-Americans five times more likely to be behind bars.
And the numbers are particularly lopsided when it comes to drug offenses.

Although five times more whites than African-Americans are using drugs, African-Americans are imprisoned for drug offenses at ten times the rate that whites are.

Given the recently resurfaced interview with a top aide to President Nixon explicitly claiming that the War on Drugs was actually a war, in part, on African-Americans, it’s not hard to see how prisons, private prisons in particular, might be just the newest system for forcibly funneling African-Americans into an infrastructure in which they can be controlled and exploited — how this might simply be American slavery, reinvented.
Note that the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, “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.”
In other words, if slavery is only legal for prisoners, then you simply have to get the former slaves into prison to exploit their labor once more.
Convict Lease Workers Field
Child inmates at work in the fields, 1903. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

This reading of history comes into even sharper focus when you realize that the roots of today’s private prisons can be found in the convict leasing system of the Reconstruction era South. Under this system, prison labor (including that of many prisons built upon former plantations) could be contracted out to private businesses (including many former plantation owners). It was, of course, as seen in PBS’ comprehensive documentary on the subject, just “slavery by another name.”

Even today, the largest maximum security prison in the United States is the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a former plantation still nicknamed “Angola,” after the country from which many of that plantation’s slaves came.

And it’s only fitting that such a prison would be in Louisiana, the state with the highest incarceration rate in the country. Just behind Louisiana sit Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and all the other Southern states where slavery was once king.
Private prisons in particular (be they run by CCA or GEO, both founded in Southern states) are far more common in the South.
And it’s likely that private prisons are only going to become more and more common. While the raw number of U.S. prisoners in private state and federal prisons has actually fallen slightly from its 2012 high, the number in private detention facilities for illegal immigrants has soared. Moreover, new private prisons are opening up every year.
Immigrant Detainee

Both CCA and GEO open their 2015 annual reports to their investors with the “good” news that they opened new facilities last year. CCA constructed 6,400 new beds, acquired 3,700 others, and received a contract for 1,000 more. GEO added 15,000 beds.
“Beds” is the word both CCA and GEO routinely use, but what they’re talking about are human beings and profits.
Now, let’s make the pathway to those profits perfectly clear: Private prisons spend millions greasing a legal system that puts citizens, especially African-Americans, behind bars at a rate unprecedented throughout the world, even though crime has lessened. This way, prisons can exploit inmate labor to make money, part of which is then used to grease the system once again. The wheel goes round and round.
By virtue of their trade, CCA, GEO, and all other private prisons have zero interest in stopping that wheel. That means getting more and more people behind bars. To that end, it’s not just that the U.S. prison population is booming overall, it’s that the recidivism rate is doing the same.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics report from 1983 (the year CCA was founded), the percentage of prisoners re-arrested for another crime within three years of being released from prison was 62.5 percent. When they did the study again in 1994, that figure had increased to 67.5 (with recidivism for drug offenses shooting up by 16 percent). By 2005 (the last available study), it had reached 71.6.
Although CCA and GEO repeatedly make a show of claiming that they’d like to see that number go down, they have a strong, clear interest in seeing it go up.
In those 2015 reports to investors, both corporations’ CEOs open their letters by claiming that they’re committed to “reducing recidivism” and “breaking the cycle of crime,” while, within the very same sentence, touting the construction and acquisition stats on how many new people they’ll be able to imprison in the coming years.
Guard Watching Prisoners
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Perhaps they’re hoping that we’d prefer to ignore or refuse to notice what’s becoming increasingly obvious about an ever growing sector of crime and prisons in the U.S.: It’s not a justice system, it’s a business.

1 - 1011 - 2021 - 29

Return to Reasoning List

Haile Selassie I