Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline, Second Edition
Edited By Anthony J. Nocella II, Priya Parmar and David Stovall
← x | xi → Foreword
We seem somehow destined to be confined for a time in a lockup-state-of-mind. Perhaps because we’ve lived so long in a culture of discipline and punish, or perhaps because the traditional American Puritanism became ravenous once again and demanded to be fed, or perhaps because our go-to-jail complex developed obsessive-compulsive hyper-activity—whatever the reasons, many Americans hardly noticed as we slipped down the proverbial slope that Angela Davis and Ruthie Gilmore, Erica Meiners and Bernardine Dohrn had predicted, and we woke up living in a full-blown prison nation. There’s no sense denying it: we are now marked indelibly as a carceral state (look it up), with mass incarceration the defining fact of life in the United States today (whether acknowledged or not) just as slavery was the fundamental reality in the 1800s (whether acknowledged or not).
And that fact points to the true and deep-seated reason underneath the phenomenon of mass incarceration: white supremacy dressed up in modern garb, structural racism pure and simple. The system has been dubbed “the new Jim Crow” by the brilliant lawyer and activist Michelle Alexander, who notes that there are now more Black men in prison or on probation or parole than there were living in bondage as chattel slaves in 1850; that there are significantly more people caught up in the system of incarceration and supervision in America today—more than six million folks—than inhabited Stalin’s Gulag at its height; that the American Gulag is the second largest...