Did you know that only 13.4% of Americans are black? According to the United States Census Bureau, that leaves our population 76.6% white and only 10% Latino, Asian, and Native Americans combined. However, our incarceration rates do not reflect the same statistics. The Federal Bureau of Prisons released statistics last week that show 58.2% of US prisoners are white, 37.9% black, and only 3.9% other. I designed a graph to show just how skewed our justice system is.
As you can see, black imprisonment rates are higher in comparison to population percentage in the US than any other race. How is it that people of color are imprisoned at higher rates than white people, when whites represent 60% more of the population than blacks? This is an astonishing, though not surprising piece of information.
The mass incarceration of people of color has been an ongoing issue since the abolition of slavery. It would be naive to think this bias will go away anytime soon, as it will take generations to see any change. It is invigorating to know that people are so primitive in their ways of thinking about people that are different than themselves.