Those clever lawmakers and their 13th Amendment to the US Constitution
In keeping with my obsession with the number 13, I decided to look into the US constitution a little bit. I Many people hold the 13th amendment as one of the greatest steps in the United States’ abolishment of slavery. Looking a little closer though, there is legitimate grounds for the perspective that the intention was superficial. The relevant section of 13th Amendment reads as follows;
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
What we can see here is that slavery wasn’t completely abolished, it’s just that the conditions under which one becomes a slave were change. You had to be a convicted of a crime…..hmmm. You see the problem here right? This now changes the main purpose of the prison system. Rather than trying to rehabilitate individuals, the purpose now becomes to maximise slave labour. Or is that too big of a leap?
Looking at the US now, you can see the grounds for the theory that the 13th Amendment was a way to legalise slavery. According to some records, in 2014, Africans made up 10 – 12% of the US population, but 35% of the prison population. (For clarity, I don’t like the term African-American so I’m using African to represent that group).
The video below goes a into a little more detail about the deception and corruption behind the 13th Amendment.
I mean look at some of the things that were made criminal initially in places like South Carolina.
- a coloured man leaving his wife
- a coloured woman leaving her husband
- a person of colour doing business on equal terms with a white person.
- a black person being unemployed. Vagrancy and idleness are grievances and must be punished as crimes.
Do you still believe that accusations of systemic racism in America are rooted in paranoia? Sure the injustice may not be as blatant today. Actually I still think it is but most people still want to put it down to Africans making poor ‘choices’. As far as I’m concerned though, building on a foundation of the 13th Amendment, I don’t see how the United States can ever rid itself of racism and slavery.