13th Amendment: New Slaves of the United States of America

Isabella Parades, Editor-in-Chief

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The Thirteenth Amendment of the United States constitution declares “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude (…) shall exist within the United States.” However, a small, yet important, loophole was written in as, “except as punishment for a crime.” The Thirteenth Amendment of the United States constitution declares “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude (…) shall exist within the United States.” However, a small, yet important, loophole was written in as, “except as punishment for a crime.”  This loophole created a political atmosphere that perpetuated the criminalization of people of color, most significantly, black people.  Rhetoric used by the government and the media,  after the civil war and continuing today, created the stereotype that black people are “dangerous thugs” to allow mass incarceration of black people. The rhetoric has led to state and federal inmates becoming a billion dollar industry, with the  inmates getting little to no pay.  This needs to stop. During a prison sentence, inmates are forced to work for very little money per hour. Often times, an inmate’s’ salary does not even allow them to purchase items they need from the commissary, despite the fact that they are contracted out to successful companies.  Whole Foods sell $12-a-pound tilapias with a made in “American Family Farms” label on it. In reality, Colorado prisoners that make 74 cents a day produced the products. . America contains 5 percent of the world’s population, yet it contains 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, with 33 percent of them black. The United States having the highest incarceration rate in the world is nothing new; however, the “prison boom” did not occur until the 1970s. In the 1970s, Richard Nixon declared a “war on drugs.” This war focused heavily on black people, which allowed for them to be incarcerated at extremely high rates while simultaneously discrediting the black power movement that was going on at the time.  According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, white and black people use drugs at the same rate, but blacks are imprisoned at a rate six times that of white people.  If the United States Government is truly attempting to make racism a thing of the past, just like they claim to be, congressmen, senators, Supreme Court justices and the president should have no problem pushing for the proposition and ratification of a  new amendment to change this.

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13th Amendment: New Slaves of the United States of America