“Policing the Black Man” is a volume of 11 essays on topics that readers have become more than familiar with since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson.
By the end of 2015, activist Angela Davis began writing the introduction to her first essay – explaining that black men make up 34 percent of the U.S. prison population. African-Americans make up 12.3 percent of the people in the United States.
So why are prison statistics so out of proportion?
The so-called “pipeline-to-prison” syndrome has been keeping black men locked up in greater proportions than white men for years.
Heavy fines and punishments are being handed down for seemingly minor offenses. Long prison sentences are being issued for non-violent drug charges, and the majority of complaints of inacceptable police behavior occur in African-American-prominent communities.
Obviously, Davis does not excuse those who are in prison for violent crimes they have genuinely committed, but she does question the way these men are being treated by society as a whole.
She mentions that the treatment of black youth is also an issue – particularly when it comes to suspensions and expulsion.
Davis notes that data “collected by the U.S. Sentencing Commission between December 2007 and 2011 revealed that black men in federal prisons received sentences 19.5 percent longer than white men sentenced for the same crime.”
The introduction reads: “Henning explains how police officers see black boys not as children, but as dangerous criminals, even when they are not engaging in criminal or even suspicious behavior. She discusses a fascinating study that found that police officers tended to overestimate the age of black boys while underestimating the age of white boys.”
The volume of essays definitely seems worth reading, and Davis’ work is already receiving praise from supporters on social media.