Friday, December 23, 2011

The vast majority of people thrown in prison are poor, but the racial picture is more complex than you believe.

Incarceration in the United States has this:

Estimated number of inmates held in custody in state or federal prison, or in local jails,
by sex, race, and Hispanic origin, June 30, 2009.[39]
Note: Detailed categories exclude persons who reported two or more races. All totals include persons under age 18.
aIncludes American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders, and persons identifying two or more races.
bExcludes persons of Hispanic or Latino origin.

White Hispanic and Latino Americans - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "In the 2010 United States Census, 50.5 million Americans (16.3% of the total population) listed themselves as ethnically Hispanic or Latino. Of those, 53.0% (26.7 million) self-identified as racially white."

So, this is the racial breakdown of the US prison population:
white, male and female: 1,037,279
black, male and female: 905,800
non-white Hispanic, male and female: 222,921
The percentages are pretty close to our percentages for poverty (approx. 50% white, 25% black, 25% Hispanic), though the black population is disproportionately high and the Hispanic population is disproportionately low thanks to drug laws that targeted the urban poor. (White and Hispanic poverty in the US is more rural than black poverty.)

So why you want to focus on class oppression that pushes black folks into selling drugs and becoming soldiers while ignoring class oppression that pushes white folks into selling drugs and becoming soldiers, I dunno. But the result is that you fail to see half of the picture.