Last night, I sat down to educate myself by watching the documentary “13th” by Ava DuVernay. It’s been on Netflix for a while and I’m ashamed to say that it’s taken me this long to watch it.
I know so little about the history of this country. And how it is still impacting people of color.
“13th” talks about the mass incarceration of brown and black people in this country and how it relates to the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution. For reference:
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, EXCEPT AS A PUNISHMENT FOR A CRIME where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States”
I’m not going to give you a synopsis of the film – I’m a firm believer my words on a page should never replace the hours of interviews, years of studies, and life experiences of those interviewed in “13th”. And the passion that Ava DuVernay put in to this project. Watch it for yourselves with your EYES WIDE OPEN. This isn’t a alt-left documentary; both sides of the political spectrum were represented.
Here’s the official trailer:
I will share with you my takeaways from the film:
I don’t know shit about black history in this country and I need to do more to educate myself.
In 1970, there were 200,000 people in the United States that were incarcerated. In 2000, there were more than 2,000,000.
Learn what ALEC is, what they are doing and who is affiliated with them
Learn who CCA is and who is affiliated with them
Learn who the American Bail Coalition is, their relationship with ALEC and who’s making money off the GPS monitors.
Learn whose economic models benefit from mass incarceration.
Lifetime likelihood of imprisonment – White men: 1 in 17, Black men: 1 in 3
Black men make up 6.5% of the population but account for 40.2% of the prison population.
It’s heartbreaking to see that we are NOT as far as we think we are from the days of slavery and Jim Crow laws. And when you read this post and think that I am completely off my rocker, think about this. In 2017, a white entertainer stood at the feet of the Lincoln Memorial and sang a song with these lyrics:
“Grandpappy told my pappy, back in my day, son
A man had to answer for the wicked that he done
Take all the rope in Texas
Find a tall oak tree, round up all of them bad boys
Hang them high in the street for all the people to see that”
I won’t link to someone who spews this kind of hate. If you want to verify it, go Google it.
Thank you, Ms. DuVernay, for taking time to acknowledge my acknowledgment of your amazing work and the education it gave me.