Has Slavery Truly been Abolished? Raeanna Cudaback  Sociology 1, Mt Sac                 The 13th Amendment was widely known as the end to unlawful imprisonment or slavery as some may know it as. On April 8th, 1864 the senate passed the 13th amendment and in January 31, 1865 the House of Representatives passed it. Shortly after on February 1st 1865, President Abraham Lincoln approved the amendment through congress but it wasn’t until December of 1865 did the states begin to ratify it.

Directly stated in the Amendment regarding slavery it states. “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.”(Declaration of Independence) It’s amazing to think it took over a year after the war to have slavery legally abolished but some key words within it were abused by many white people after it took place and that being “except as a punishment by crime”. After the war and slavery gone most people who were enslaved had no money and nowhere to go. Many whites portrayed blacks as vicious people who were like animals and were going to be a threat especially to the white female.

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  In today’s society 1 out of 4 people in America are behind bars and about 25% of the people imprisoned in the world are in America, we have one of the largest prison systems in our own nations. After the ratification of the 13th amendment movies were created to show a white man with “black face” portraying a black man as an animal and a rapist. This movement and movies also helped with the rebirth of the KKK. Many black people both male and female were arrested for minor crimes like loitering and accused of robbery. The South had a huge economic down fall because many lost their free labor they had with slaves causing many to create this system of imprisonment of for minor crimes and finding loop holes to have more ways of free labor. The Strain theory states that certain strains or stressors can increase the likelihood of crime, because the strains can cause inability for one to achieve goals and you can see within the south this was a big issue the whites were unable to gain many of their goals as well as black people were finding themselves without homes, food, or jobs so more violence and crimes were seen. White people were in essences committing crimes by accusing blacks and black people in some stances had to resort to robbing people because they needed food for themselves.

 The Rational choice theory states that “criminal behavior is no different from noncriminal behavior in that it is conduct that persons intentionally choose to undertake and the reason that they choose to commit the crime is that they think it will be more rewarding and less costly for them than noncriminal behavior” (economist Gary Becker”. They say that you have to work twice as hard for something you want when its honest work than when you’re working just to steal and commit crimes. Now in some instances people will commit crimes because they deem it’s necessary; for example, you have the need to feed a family, self-defense when someone is attacking you, and many other such as simply a means to survive.

Everyone has a choice in their actions as when the white people choose to find even the smallest of crime to incriminate the black people and it’s amazing that people want so much control of someone or a certain group of people that they make society so scared of groups.  Unfortunately, the segregations of blacks continued on even though some progress was made through-out the years; during part of the 20th century they were excluding blacks and females from the political system such as juries or voting. Also, in a way the KKK continued on with whites joining in mobs and it had reached a massive peak of lynching blacks especially during the 1950s. In 1896 Plessy v Ferguson took place allowed the Jim crow legislation which formerly allowed segregation of race and minorities to continue one for many decades. Homer Plessy was a black man who tried to ride a white only train because the black only train was full he attempted to fight back stating it violated both his 13th and 14th Amendment rights.

 The Supreme Court ruled that equal rights did not mean the mixing of the races. This lead to the legalizing “separate but equal”, this lasted for a long time and was seen also heavily in the 50s. Following the 1960s which finally more so restored the civils and appealed the southern conservatives; many could see that the mixing of races was not allowed, even though many saw white and blacks beginning relationships but if the public found out about the connections a lot of people were put in jail and you could also see many southern schools creating separate areas for whites and black including restrooms as well as drinking fountains. In May of 1954 the Supreme court ruled that the racial segregation in public schools violated the 14th amendment which states that no state can deny equal protection to anyone and the court stated that the separate education was unequal.  Between 1980 and 1985 the prison population increased more than 200,000, the media has portrayed black people as criminals and “super predators”. The media continually portray black people as animals and rapist. It wasn’t until DNA evidence started proving the claims that they were innocent but media created a society where not only white people are scared of black people but also black people are afraid of their own race.

You can even see in political campaigns, criminalizing and racial profiling people which is scaring American so much that people are automatically voting for those people. For example, you have President George Bush senior scaring people with media and racial profiling to become president. People were so scared and nervous that they voted for what they thought was safest. We can also see that now in 2008 America finally voted for our first African American and finally society was thought to have evolved and not only voted for President Obama once but allowed him to be our president for a second term, but once someone put the fear into people regarding society Americans got scared and now we have President Donald Trump trying to build a wall to keep out immigrants. It’s really hard to understand why we’re building a wall and creating in essence a prison for America to keep them unwanted or unneeded out.

During President Bill Clinton’s presidency, we were given the 3 strikes rule, but here we are a nation trying to strive but we’re “playing” baseball with the prison system. He also started a bill in 1994 to create an increase in prison funding and more prisons. American is supposed to be a nation of freedom but we have the highest criminal imprisonment and we have increased our military system not only with the military but also in the small police departments. President Clinton eventually admitted he was wrong but he had in fact done more harm than previous Presidents. The military has become such a big thing that during the reign of President George W.

 Bush we saw an up roar after 9/11 that everyone was scared that the military draft would happen again. I was 18 when President Obama became President because a lot of us wanted change but also many were afraid of what Bush had scared us into, but now it’s as though America has gone back in time with President Trump.  Throughout society people have been criminalized so much. People were scared of change that Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and the Leader of the black panthers were all murdered; that’s just to name a few. We had Angela Davis and Assata Shakur had to fight for their freedom all because they took a chance to change how society was viewed and how a lot of black people were victimized, but they didn’t want to be seen as victim but to be seen as freedom liberators.

The nation of the free is still till this day fighting for freedom.  We’ve seen issues in recent media with Treyvon Martin but because of the Florida state law a white man was able to get out of becoming a murderer because the law states that if you feel threatened then you are allowed to kill someone. George Zimmermen had even called the police to let them know about Treyvon, they told him not to follow him but yet he did almost as though he wanted to find a reason to pursue him and this caused a huge uproar because people again see racism and any time you see racism you can for sure see someone trying to scare people with violence. Over and over we see violence and we see people continue to kill people, but it’s not only racism you see but continuedly you see people have issues with gender choice and sexual choice also seen during the Orlando killing. Just last year alone so close to home we had the massive killing in Vegas and although we don’t know why this man killed all these people, violence has not only stayed with the Black people but White, Hispanic and Iranian people.

We don’t see a big change in politics or the government until a major disaster happens; So, I ask what next big major crime is needed for the world to change and stand for racism and crime to end and will I ever see that in my life time? To answer those questions myself I don’t know what the disaster could be or when it will happen but it would have to be massive and I don’t know if I or most of us will be there to see this change because society is a slow growing change, especially when we hear President Trump stating protestors should be taking out on stretchers, we still have a society were Americans vote for a president who wants to create more violence.