What Is The 13th Strain Theory Analysis

1445 Words6 Pages

13th Documentary Analysis
Ava DuVernay’s documentary mentions that the United States makes up five percent of the world’s population yet is home to twenty five percent of the world’s prisoners. One out of four prisoners in the world are locked up in the U.S. The United States now has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. The thirteenth amendment of the constitution makes it unconstitutional for someone to be held as a slave. It grants freedom to all Americans, but there exceptions, including criminals. Many see this as a loophole, and it can easily be used as a tool for whichever purpose one wants to use it. At the end of the Civil War, the Southern economy was left shattered because slavery obviously an integral part of their economy. …show more content…

The culture of the United States was established on the American Dream regardless of race, religion, gender, or class. However, the American Dream was not attainable by everyone, so this imbalance created a strain between people’s means and goals. Merton’s strain theory was also prevalent in the documentary, 13th. The theory says that society puts pressure on people to achieve socially accepted goals, even though they lack the institutionalized means, which leads to strain, which may lead people to act out and commit crimes to meet these unattainable goals. People of color, specifically African Americans, don't have the same means that others do in this country. They are disadvantaged, live in higher rates of poverty, which often leads them to strain and commit crimes for survival. Statistically, they face higher jail time for the same crimes, which keeps them in that cycle. An African American or any underprivileged minority child most likely will not be able to achieve as much a white child from a high class family. The tension between the goals and the institutionalize means will cause unsatisfied aspiration, which has a higher chance to lead to crime. The reasons that there are higher rates of crime in lower social classes are easily explained by this theory. Since African Americans from lower income households don’t have legitimate opportunities available to them but they still want the nice cars and lives that everyone dreams of, they resort to crime because that’s the only way for them to achieve material success and avoid being labeled a failure. The only way for many of them to “make it” and live out “The American Dream” is a lot of times only possible through

Open Document