Prisons, Pipelines and the Public Education System


In American society, every citizen has a role. Whether each individual is willingly receptive of their role, or not, their assignment is, undoubtedly, meant to benefit that which American society holds most dear to its heart.

Even more so than our beloved freedom, our society upholds our system of capitalism. After all, the red, white and blue isn’t only stained with the blood of those who sought freedom, but also of those whose property and power were being threatened.

Some may instinctively challenge they have such a role in society because they may have accepted the role they’ve chosen and settled into. However, one only has to look around them (wherever they may reside in America), to find truth in the role one plays, whether it be consciously or subconsciously.

With this in mind, what role does our society play in sustaining the pipeline which begins with our public educational system and flushes into the wasteland, known to particular masses, as our American prison system? This isn’t a complicated question to answer. Especially, when numerous studies indicate the quantity of future prisons needed to house our society’s potential criminals is predetermined through results of third grade standardized testing. It’s certainly not a difficult question to answer when you consider zero tolerance policies in our public educational institutions around this country which advocate swiftly punishing students with suspensions, expulsions or even invalid recommendations as candidates for special education. And with the presence of armed guards on public school campuses throughout this county (who won’t hesitate to abuse and humiliate our children in their classroom, and in front of their peers), it’s evident; our society’s role is very present.

It’s also evident our society plays an unhealthy role in sustaining this pipeline through turning a blind eye to unequal funding of certain schools, in certain communities to help ensure future inmates. When our students aren’t provided with proper tools to educate and prepare them to compete for scholarships or the job market, what options are they then faced with? When our students are only trained to pass a state mandated assessment and deemed qualified to graduate high school, with no real education, what chance do they really have to succeed and provide a better life for their children?

Delving deeper, what role does our community play when these injustices to our children, to our future, are obvious and apparent? Seemingly, our role as a community has diminished deep into the shadow of our unhealthy society. It’s very unfortunate when our society has more impact on our children than our community. It’s time for our community to stand up. We must get off the sideline watching a generation being destroyed before our eyes. As a people, we have always stood up for our children. This is a matter of fact by our very existence today.

It’s not acceptable for our society to encase our public educational system into a commodity to be piped into the “New Jim Crow” era, known as America’s mass incarceration system (as brilliantly authored by Michelle Alexander). Our children are not property to be traded. Our children are beautiful, brilliant beings created by the Father. And we’ve been charged as a community, as parents, as teachers, as mentors and as the village to ensure our children are educated, loved and nurtured to become all they’re created to be.

It’s certainly, unacceptable to continue to allow society to sustain this pipeline for the benefit of capitalism, and at the cost of our children’s freedom and our community’s growth.

Our community must stand up for our children by plugging this pipeline. Changing the culture of our children’s classrooms and campuses, and ensuring they are supplied with the tools they need to succeed is our responsibility. Encouraging our children to read and study, and sharing our knowledge and history throughout the community is our responsibly. Shifting our children’s environment from materialism to that of a caring and nurturing one is our responsibility. Voting for school board members, city council members, judges, congressional representatives, etc. who stand for our children and with our community is our responsibility. This is our community’s role in society.

Let’s not allow society to out shine our community. Let’s get off the sideline and move, as a community, to assure our children that they are most dear to our hearts, and their freedom to shine and grow is the most important role of our community. We have power as a community; Power to plug the pipeline, and send a message to society that our children will not be labeled as property for the sake of America’s capitalistic prison system.

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