Accomplishment of the day: I spent a lot of time writing my response paper for our reading on the prison industrial complex last night and it was the one night where I was really actively engaging with what the author had to say and reckoning with them too. For me, I’m the type of person to just read to intake information in order to shape my thinking, and very rarely can I formulate a counterargument on my own/come up with my own questions in response to what the writer had to say. So, even though I spent a few hours writing the paper (which actually required a very small fraction of the effort I put in, because it’s graded on a check/check plus system), it was well-worth it because I genuinely enjoyed being able to get all of my ideas on paper.
And so today, I actually participated in seminar (surprise, surprise) but better still, I said something that seemed to make a lot of sense to me/was something that no one else in class really brought up yet. And there’s something really satisfying about the professor (and to a greater extent, oddly enough, my classmates) approvingly nodding to what I have to say. He claimed, with this huge smile on his face, it was the “million-dollar question” for the issue regarding the abolition of the prison system.
(And just to enlighten and educate the [probably very few] reader[s], the reading we did talked about how prisons are obsolete and the author drew a parallel between that and slavery, crystallizing how the system is only perceived to be necessary and how racist mass incarceration is, which people often don’t realize/refuse to realize. Prisons are really just contemporary forms of slavery, a mere translation and recodification of the slave relations. And many twenty-first century anti-prison activists claim that the abolition of the prison system is necessary in order to achieve democracy–democracy, in this case, being synonymous with absolute equality. But the author gives examples of previous racist institutions that were abolished but were simply re-established in a different form.For example, slavery was abolished, but from that, we get lynching and the convict lease system. So, if we abolish the prison system, a new question arises: won’t the dominant group simply find another way to strategically re-shape the laws in order to produce a different form of racist oppression? Racist exploitation is a structure that still remains. The entire ideology that justifies the oppression of certain types of people still remains. So, perhaps we should be aiming to abolish something much larger than these oppressive institutions. Perhaps it’s the dominant capitalist system that should be overthrown, for it’s capitalist ideas that provides the framework for such racism.)
TL;DR: I SAID SOMETHING THAT SOUNDED GOOD IN CLASS AND I AM PROUD OF MYSELF.