So it caught my eye earlier this week when I saw a blip of something on TV saying that the US now has more people in jail/prison (not sure which; not sure it matters?!) than any other country–
Now, I heard this news flash the way I hear most . . . meaning, I heard a spattering of words, but wasn’t really listening. However, there was something said about China and Russia, and about us having more people in jail than either of those countries.
maybe it’s in this article . . . I don’t know. but here’s what I *do* know:
1) We spend as much money to keep a young man in prison as it would cost to educate that same man in an ivy league school.
2) We *should* be spending that money on our failing educational system–no child left behind, my a$$!!! we fail them miserably as children, and then somehow we blame the victim, when we (speaking of the white majority here, of which I am a part, no matter how unwilling I claim to be) are the ones who have robbed them of their dignity in so many ways.
3) People of color, particularly men of color, are disproportionately represented in our prison system. When you get a felony, you can no longer vote. There’s more than one way to keep a black man from being able to vote in this country.
I don’t know what to do about all of this . . . but if I am to truly share in the suffering of my brothers and sisters in Christ who are living on the wrong side of this racialized mess we’ve created for ourselves, then
This poem by June Jordan echoes in my head . . .
and my brothers in prison and not in college
does not feel good to me
after all, if I am following Jesus, aren’t these my brothers too?