Remember when you were young, and you were taught about the concept of cause and effect during elementary school? The lesson is that the cause is why something happens, and the effect is the event that happens because of the cause. Now that you’re older, the term is called causality or causation, but the meaning still remains the same. It’s a simple idea that can be applied in everyday situations. But it’s conveniently left out by some people when the subject is about race or racism.
Where do I start?
When it comes to the prison system, there seems to be a notion to many that the prison population has swollen to immense proportions in relation to other countries and their prison populations due to people breaking the law. “If they can’t do the time, they shouldn’t have done the crime”, as the simplistic adage goes.
As far as race is concerned, some people, usually racist, believe that the reason there are so many black folks in prison is plainly because they commit the most crimes. You may have encountered that one individual who will cite everything from statistics, which are almost always false or horribly misunderstood, to the evening news and their crime reports which mostly feature black suspects. Whenever crimes by black people are discussed in the mainstream, there are those who point the finger at black people, or black culture if you’re pathetically trying not to be obviously racist.
However, anyone well versed in research will tell you how not-so simple that is. Factors that reveal a racist system where law enforcement, convictions, sentencing and jail time are determined based on the races of the offender and – if there are any – the victim. The so-called ‘War on Drugs’ with a racist intent against the black community is a factor. All-white juries are factors. Racist judges and prosecutors are factors. Racist policing against black people are factors. Wrongful convictions are factors These and other probable causes that zero-in on an unfair, unjust judicial system explain why so many black people are in prison. And it all boils down as part of a white supremacist system of oppression against blacks.
But according to some who prefer to live in extreme denial, mentioning racism is racist in itself. There is no system of racism in their minds. The swelling of the black prison population is not the problem, but rather the solution. Something’s just wrong with black people that has no “legitimate” cause.
The avoidance of the causality of racism helps maintain racism which is what some white people desperately and secretly want.
The effect can be seen in terms of movements and activism. The Civil Rights’ Movement, the advent of the Black Panther Party, the Million Man March, Black Girls Rock, Black Lives Matter and other notable forms of action against systemic and interpersonal racism are all direct responses to the continuous racism black people deal with on a constant basis.
Sadly, many consider such movements to be racist against white people since they only focus on black folks. Again, the cause, which is white supremacy, is not considered valid. Instead, the effects are seen as problems. White folks and some people of color believe that such movements are inspired by a hatred against white people. They claim that it is nothing more than black supremacy trying to destroy the white race. Black people – as some think – are getting back at whites for slavery. Seems like karma doesn’t apply to racism either.
First off, black people – in general – are not out to get revenge for slavery. Second, that was not the only form of violent oppression against black folks in the past. Third, the oppression never ended. And fourth, bye Felicia.
Causality is purposely lost when it comes to the facts and realities of racism, because racism was never based on logic, reason or human morality. The conversation should be about the causes and effects of white supremacy. But the effects will be treated as the cause or the difficulties, and the causes will either be disregarded or misdirected for the sake of continuing this country’s greatest cause: white racism.