The high rate at which African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons underscores the US government’s ongoing “counter-insurgency war” to disrupt the social life of black communities in the country, says an American scholar.
Dr. Anthony Monteiro, an academic and social activist, made the comments while discussing a recent report by the Sentencing Project, a non-profit organization in Washington, DC.
The organization reported Sunday that black Americans are incarcerated at an average rate of 5 times that of white Americans.
This is while the US population is 63.7 percent non-Hispanic white, 12.2 percent black, 8.7 percent Hispanic white and 0.4 percent Hispanic black.
“The data is very disturbing, but if you follow the statistics over the past 30 years, one would not be surprised,” Monteiro told Press TV on Sunday.
In five states, the racial disparity rate was more than double the national average, said Ashley Nellis, a senior research analyst with the Sentencing Project.
New Jersey had the highest disparity, with a ratio of 12.2 black people to one white person in its prison system, followed by Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Vermont.
Hawaii had the lowest ratio, with 2.4 black Americans for every white inmate in its prisons.
Oklahoma had the highest overall rate of African Americans incarcerated, with 2,625 black prison inmates per 100,000 residents.
For Latinos or Hispanics, there was also a disparity compared to white prison populations. The average ratio for all states was 1.4 to 1.
“This trajectory began to take on velocity and intensity with the [former president] Bill Clinton administration,” Monteiro noted.
According to the scholar, the black working class is targeted with a “deepening colonial relationship” between the government and African American communities.
The colonial approach by the government aims for “the disruption of normal social life, and the replacement of a normal social life with a policy of police, terror, and what is similar to a counter-insurgency war gainst the black community,” Monteiro concluded.
Last July, in a speech in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for a black civil rights organization, US President Barack Obama acknowledged the vast racial disparities in American prisons, calling the US criminal justice system “skewed by race and wealth.”