The world envisions racism through a black and white filter but don’t seem to see the gray in between. Or should I say brown. Davis mentions looking at racism through black and white limits our analysis. Donald trump seems to hype the crowd when it comes to illegal immigration. His main argument is about how Mexicans are drug dealers, rapists, and murderers. Mind you not only browns are criminals. Our correctional facilities are filled with both men and women, and of different race variations. The prison industrial complex takes advantage of these incarcerated felons.
So the main question we ask ourselves is “Are our prisons racist institutions?”
“Clearly, the US prison system is riddled with racism and classism, but it gets worse. As it turns out private companies have a cheap, easy labor market, and it isn’t in China, Indonesia, Haiti, or Mexico. It’s right here in the land of the free, where large corporations increasingly employ prisoners as a source of cheap and sometimes free labor.”
When an inmate is sentenced and sent off to serve his/her time, there is an immediate segregation. The Mexicans go with the “browns”. The African Americans with the “blacks” and so forth. The prison industrial complex does not discriminate. All they see is cheap labor contributing to their pot of gold. Private corporations take the most advantage because it costs a fraction or almost free. These companies make a fortune while inmates struggle to live in these prisons, making the most out of their cents. These workers which work for big private corporations earn about $0.16 or more per dollar depending on the labor. Millions of people worldwide have no clue where some of their apparel and certain foods are packaged and even sometimes raised by inmates.
President Obama banned exported prison products from entering the United States, but will allow the manufacturing of inmates produced products within the U.S. Our president views this as wrong values because in other countries it is either forced labor or child labor. Yet he still allows it within our own country. The 13th amendment states that slavery is abolished. Except in the circumstance as a punishment for a crime. Prisons within the unite states exploit their workers through this loophole that you must work as a form of punishment. There is a very high chance that if you own a product that says “American Made” it was most likely manufactured in a prison. What this does is beneficial to the big businesses and corporations because they receive tax credits for employing these inmates for a very cheap price. And sometimes even long periods of time depending on the certain inmate’s prison sentence.
There are many different alternatives to help eliminate the exploitation of this cheap labor. America refuses to consider these ideas because of the cost efficiency. there are an abundant amount of people who suffer because of being unable to work or find stable employment. Because these corporations chose to take advantage of these inmates, the middle class remains the same. The rich get richer and as always the poor and middle remain the same. Instead of serving as a way for people to rise in the financial ladder these private corporations are selfish and money hungry. Instead of offering the opportunity for someone to improve their lifestyle these enormous corporations resort to third world countries. With unemployment increase, so will incarceration and crime rates and this modern day slavery cycle will continue. Workforce exploitation is harmful to all workers. By allowing cheap and free labor it pushes down wages for everyone else. “Just as American workers cannot compete with sweatshop labor, the same goes for prison labor. Many jobs that come into prisons are taken from free citizens.”