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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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Political Activism Doesn't Have to Be Intimidating, Despite What You May Believe

My experience has taught me to embrace opportunities to be politically active, not shy away from them.

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In January of my junior year of high school, I was invited by a close friend to travel with her and her mom to participate in the Women's March in Washington, DC. The issues that fueled the march were extremely important to me and so I jumped at the chance to go.

I remember driving up the night before and hearing on the radio the estimated number of participants for the march and not being able to comprehend that I would be surrounded by so many like-minded people. While reassuring, the prospect of being surrounded by so many emotionally-charged people, especially following the presidential inauguration that sparked a very wide spectrum of people to be in the city, was overwhelming.

The morning of the march I remember walking outside to get coffee and seeing women, men, and children wearing the now infamous pink hats all around.

When it came time to walk over to where the march began to hear the array of speakers for the day, it was hard to walk far at all without running into a crowd of people going to the same place. However, instead of being chaotic and overwhelming, I felt a sense of pride in the fact I was participating in something that mattered to me and impacts so many people, but also a sense of security in that everyone around me was overly kind and dedicated.

The chants and cheering that were broadcast on national news surrounded me all day and not once did I feel unsafe or unsure of my surroundings. I felt like I was part of something bigger than myself and knew that while my presence didn't necessarily make a huge difference in the state of things, it made a huge impact on my life.

Putting myself into a situation where there is a lot of controversies was scary at first. I was afraid of being judged, out of place, of being somewhere that would turn violent and so on. However, I could not be more grateful for the invitation to attend the march because it was truly a life-changing experience.

My senior year, so this past year, was when schools around the country held walkouts in the name for gun reform, safer schools, or whatever motivated students to walk out in the name of ending gun violence at schools. In all honesty, a few years ago I never would have participated, not because of a lack of interest, but because of the concerns I previously held before the women's march.

Again, I am so glad I went to the walkout and was able to hear my peers speak about their concerns about gun violence and be able to look around me and know that I was in the company of other passionate students.

No matter your cause or conviction, I encourage everyone to no longer be complacent with the world around you and let your voice be heard for issues you feel passionate about.

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