1.Why is the PIC important in the lives of modern African Americans?
The Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) is important in the lives of African Americans because it directly impacts a large portion of the African American community. In California, as of 1998, 80% percent of those in prison were African Americans (Schlosser, 1998). In the 1970s, there were only 110 prison inmates for every 100,000 people in the general population. By the 1990s, however, that figure had risen to 445 per 100,000, or 1,100 per 100,000 when only counting adult men. Most of those people are African American. In fact, when looking at the general population vs. the prison population, in California, African Americans make up 6.8% of the general population, while they make up 31.6% of the prison population ("California's Expanding Prison-Industrial Complex," 2005). In addition, many prisoners are also illiterate or suffer from serious mental illness. It appears as if the prison system, especially in California, has "become a revolving door for poor, highly dysfunctional, and often illiterate drug abusers" (Schlosser, 1998, p. 52). In fact, of the top ten reasons people are sent to prison, only two of those reasons are for violent crimes. The rest are non-violent crimes (Schlosser, 1998). When analyzing these facts, it becomes apparent that the PIC is a form of institutionalized racism and a way of keeping the African American population from experiencing its full potential.
"California's expanding prison-industrial complex." (2005) Accessed online at: http://www.prisonactivist.org/crisis/prison-industrial.html
Schlosser, E. (1998). The Prison Industrial Complex. Atlantic Monthly. December, pp. 51-77. Accessed online May 16, 2005 at: http://core.ecu.edu/soci/juskaa/SOC12110/Prison_Industrial_Complex.htm
2.Why is the issue of the renewal of the VRA significant, if it is?
The Voting Rights Act (VRA) was established in 1965 as a means o...