13th The 13th Amendment Sparknotes

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The 13th Amendment, ratified about 157 years ago, states: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” In the documentary 13th, the loophole to this American right is explored: although slavery may be illegal, discreetly targeting people of color to put them in prison is not. 13th is a powerful documentary that scrutinizes the unjust U.S. prison system, and explores the repercussions that the abolition of slavery had on people of color. I found that this documentary was engaging, yet brutally honest in the way it addresses historic discriminatory acts that have caused the incarceration rates in America to rise through the …show more content…

The abolition of slavery for enslaved Africans meant freedom, but for white, farm-owning Southerners, it meant that their businesses would deplete without their workers. To tackle this, Black people were incarcerated over minute mistakes that were technically “illegal” such as loitering or simply being suspicious. This documentary does not hold back when demonstrating that the Ku Klux Klan, one of the lead white supremacist groups of rural America, committed heinous atrocities against Black people. The KKK’s glorification in the media led to the surpassing of hate crimes, especially in the South. 13th includes images of hangings, lynchings, and real KKK groups from this era in American history to set the background for how mass incarceration started at the roots of racism. Although it may be hard to watch, this is what made 13th successful: the creators wanted us to feel personally impacted by the things we were seeing to better understand the extremities of how racist deeds were implemented into American society, even before incarceration rates started to rise. By setting the background in thorough detail, 13th develops a dynamic between the comfort of the viewer and the harsh truth of racism’s impact on society, while also providing the necessary information needed to fully understand systemic …show more content…

Nixon is infamous for his proposal of the “War on Drugs”— a crisis that made drug abuse seem more like a political issue and less of a health problem. This “war” essentially targeted minorities for drug possession, and combined the already standing issue of economic inequality and hypersegregation to allow people of color to be incarcerated at rates much higher than white people. This documentary targets political figures, ultimately holding them accountable for the unjust prison system. While some may think that this is political bias, all this document is doing is bringing up what people are afraid to address: some of the roots of systemic racism lie not so far in our past. By targeting political figures and comparing them to how mass incarceration developed as they were in office, 13th demonstrates a clear, concise understanding of systemic racism that allows the viewer to grasp the truth behind how the people who ran this country really

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