6 Facts From '13th' That Will Hurt To Read

6 Facts From '13th' That Will Hurt To Read

I've said it once and I'll say it again: Stand Your Ground is racist. Here's proof!
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13th is a documentary from Ava Duvernary (known for directing 'Selma,' the movie about the march by MLK), and it tracks the history from the introduction of the 13th amendment, which states that no one can be owned by another person, to present day with the lens of the rights of black people. It is tied directly into the Black Lives Matter movement and explains how ingrained institutionalized racism has become. It also explains how this all came to be in a riveting, non-scholarly manner. However, the facts presented will shock you, they will horrify you, and if you're like me, they will rip a hole in your heart.

1. The United States has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prison population.

That makes it the highest incarceration rate in the world. 40% of those inmates are black people, and no, that doesn't mean that white people make up the other 60%. Here's another interesting statistic tied into this: If African Americans and Hispanics were arrested at the same rate as whites, the prison population would decrease by nearly 40%.

2. The "exception clause" in the 13th Amendment was there to rebuild the South's economy - through prison slave labor.

After the Civil War, African Americans were arrested in massive groups, often for minor crimes, in order to fill the hole in the South's economy after slavery was abolished. This is the verified reason this clause was included.

3. Birth of a Nation was responsible for the return of the Ku Klux Klan.

The film was incredibly racist and began to introduce the idea that black men were criminals and that the Ku Klux Klan was reborn after their depiction in this film. This film also introduced the KKK ritual of burning crosses, in case you ever wondered where that came from.

4. 1 in 17 white males will go to jail/prison in their lifetime, while for black males the odds are 1 in 3.

Racists will argue that it's because blacks are more violent and therefore more likely to commit crimes. First of all, that's ridiculous. Moreover, it's because black people are more likely to experience discrimination in all aspects of their life, which leads to lower incomes, making them more likely to live in underprivileged neighborhoods where people have to commit crimes to make ends meet. See how its all connected? That's institutionalized racism.

5. Mandatory minimums take discretion away from judges, in turn putting more people of color behind bars.

Mandatory minimums were introduced by Nixon, and they put minimums on time being served for certain crimes. As the exemption clause continued to round up people of color, the mandatory minimums took away the ability for the judge to make decisions on the circumstances of a crime. This means that people of color are sent to prison for years at a time for nonviolent and minor offenses.

6. Laws don't always have morally sound origins.

13th delves into the involvement of ALEC in the formation of laws, and ALEC is corporately backed by massive companies like Walmart (the largest retailer of guns in the United States). I mention Walmart and guns because ALEC is the organization which pushed for the Stand Your Ground Law, which is what was used to justify Trayvon Martin's murder in court. George Zimmerman walked after murdering an unarmed black boy because of a law that was pushed by Walmart to increase the sale of guns.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

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Nike's Step Into The Political Realm Gives Us Something to Consider

Nike went political once again with Colin Kaepernick as their main advertisement.

KenzieM
KenzieM
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Nike's new advertisements have brought up a lot of controversy in the past week. Colin Kaepernick, who used to play for the San Francisco 49ers. He is now a free agent after he was let go. He is now the face of Nike. The last few years the NFL (National Football League) has been a platform for Colin Kaepernick used his position to bring awareness to police brutality. He did this by kneeling while they played the national anthem. Many began to follow in his footsteps and kneel as well.

Police brutality is and can be a massive problem. Many do not believe that the people that are meant to protect you actually do. And when the policemen themselves remain virtually unchecked this could actually be a problem.

I know you may want to stop reading this now but listen to my argument.

You can become a police officer when you are 20 years old. It is about as much schooling as you would need to become a CNA or (Certified nursing Aid). However, CNA's are not allowed to handle paperwork, their own patients, or even handing out medicine. Why do you need more schooling to do paperwork, but not to carry a gun? Only some of law enforcement agencies require a two-year degree. Police officers also only have one psych evaluation when they enter into the force. I believe that seeing what police officers see every day can cause extreme stress and mental instability. We must recognize police officers are humans too. They cannot be perfect no matter how much they try. But a system needs to be put in place to help them be the best they can be and weed out the ones that do not need to have that kind of responsibility.

I would also like you to think about this. Nike is a business. Yes, they may have lost a few customers by displaying Colin Kaepernick's face on their new advertisements. But they have gained $43 million dollars in free press. Nike is being talked about everywhere. And products are being bought by people who have supported Colin's movement. So Nike may or may not actually back Kaepernick's protest. I believe they haven't because they are doing nothing with the buzz that they have received. Nike has done this many many times. They advocated for women's rights, even for a man that tested HIV positive and was an incredible marathon runner. They knew this would generate revenue like no other. And because Nike is a sports store, getting involved in politics that included a sports front man. It became like a kid in a candy store. I do love Nike's products. And I am not saying that they are using Kaepernick, but I wish they would put their money into actually helping solve the problem.

I would also like to talk about Colin Kaepernick's protesting. I think it is a good thing when people that have a lot of attention put on them raise awareness for something that is wrong. However, raising awareness only does so much. Recognizing a problem is only the first step. What is the second you ask? Action. If you want to see diversity and change in Law enforcement. Change it. Apply to be a police officer or a lawmaker. You can't just continue to ask someone else to fix the problem. There's a saying that I've followed pretty much all my life. If you want something done, and done right. Do it yourself.

KenzieM
KenzieM

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