Black Americans incarcerated at over five times the rate of whites
Black Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of white Americans, according to data by the NAACP, an African American civil rights organization.
After decades of mass incarceration, this means Black families and communities across the US have struggled to fill the voids caused by imprisonment.
More than half of all Black American women, for example, have at least one incarcerated family member, and that experience can cause high levels of depression and psychological distress, according to a research paper published in February in the Journal of Marriage and Family.
“From slavery, to lynching, to incarceration, generations of African American families have endured having their family members taken away. African Americans have had to learn how to compartmentalize this trauma and have survived, in part, due to their resilience,” noted the research paper.
Evelyn Patterson, an associate professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University and a researcher on the study of Black incarceration, said the US has a long history of systemic racism against Black people.
“There really hasn’t been any point in American history where we have not had laws purposely meant to disrupt Black families,” Patterson said.
A UN report published in June that was triggered after the murder of African American George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May 2020, said police use of racial profiling and excessive force is entrenched in much of North America, Europe and Latin America.
Racism is most prevalent in countries linked to the former trade of an estimated 25-30 million Africans for enslavement or colonialism, resulting in large communities of people of African descent in countries such as Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Colombia, France and the United States, the report said.
More than 200 million people in the Americas alone identify as being of African descent. Millions more are located worldwide outside the African continent.