Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline, Second Edition
Edited By Anthony J. Nocella II, Priya Parmar and David Stovall
Chapter Eight: Warehousing, Imprisoning, and Labeling Youth “Minorities”
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As the 2012 presidential election made clear, America is a nation divided by issues of race and class. Although media pundits characterized this division as a new phenomenon, the reality is that while America has grown more diverse in recent decades, it has never fully come to terms with its complex and painful racial history. This racial history is one in which Native Americans and African Americans, among other racial and ethnic groups, have long suffered under the weight of oppression, degradation, legally enforced segregation, violence, and inequitable access to economic opportunity and high-quality education. While many laws have been enacted to address some of the myriad harms and injustices that these groups have experienced, there remains significant work to be done in the fight for racial justice and equality.
In spite of the tremendous gains that were realized during the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, African Americans continue to lag behind whites in key quality of life indicators such as annual household income, net worth, rates of home ownership, and educational attainment, to name a few (Bowman, 2010). African Americans are much more likely to live in poverty than their white counterparts and are over-represented in the criminal justice system, with black males making up nearly 40% of the more than two million people who ← 131 | 132 → are currently incarcerated in the United States (Carson & William, 2012). The high rate of poverty experienced by African Americans, coupled with...