Black Men In Jail Analysis

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My older brother Larry has been in and out of jail since he was 17 years old for hanging out with the wrong crowd. Soon after my brother’s first arrest, my mother lost strength in both her knees and was unable to stand and walk for long periods of time, which made it impossible to work. She developed blood clots in her legs. I was home for spring break during my first year of college when a blood clot in my mother’s leg traveled to her heart and killed her.
My father’s health also worsened during this time. His right foot began to swell from the long walks to the Justice Center in Downtown Cleveland to visit Larry, and this affected his work. One day at work, a mental health patient brutally attacked my father. He could not get away fast enough because of his injured foot. My father died just days after his attack.
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Instead, I have approached them as learning experiences that inspired me to work towards a greater understanding of some very complex issues having to do with race and injustice. I found a haven in the Africana Studies department at my college. I wanted to know why so many Black males are in jail and to understand better the negative consequences mass incarceration has on the Black family. I found answers to this question in a course called Racism 101, where we read Dr. Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. It became clear that tragedy was not unique to my family. There are thousands of other Black American families that deal with the pain of having a loved one in our criminal justice system, mostly for nonviolent crimes. From this academic pursuit, I developed a lens of consciousness that allows me to see the manifestations of racism in our legal
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