The commodification of the black body can be traced back thousands of years. As it relates to America, the young country wasted no time in extending this subjugation.
Although the institution of slavery was largely confined to the South, its influence controlled federally. The Three-Fifths Compromise was passed in 1787 as a truce between Northern and Southern states. Since then, America has struggled to learn that compromise is not a substitute for rightfulness. We are a nation that has thought it is better to cope with a weakness than conquer it. Because this nation has chosen to merely cope with oppression, remnants of the Three-Fifths Compromise continue to haunt our country.
Its passage set a dangerous and persistent precedent in this country. The agreement solidified that oppression can be an economically viable practice. The concept is shockingly simple: one group of a particular phenotype works to legally control groups with a different phenotype as a means of having the “weaker” group perform the work that builds the wealth of the controlling group. The American Dream has always been an isolated endeavor. Few have captured the vision, and that select number has often done so by having millions who are underserved and undercompensated secure their goal.
The Three-Fifths Compromise was expressly abolished with the passage of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. The measure was initially passed to give Southern states control of the House of Representatives and the Electoral College. Many people in this country do not want to admit that just as the commercialization of slavery drove politics years ago is the same oppressive commercialization that drive modern-day American politics. In this self-proclaimed democracy, money buys votes and controls the governmental path.
Just as the Three-Fifths Compromise was passed as a means of maintaining of maintaining a primitive corporation (slavery), many of our elected officials are funded to support similar concepts. The corporate influence in this country is synonymous with its birth. After all, the oppression from the East India Company led to the Boston Tea Party (which was a riot regardless of how history tries to soften it).
Corporate influence has outlasted former political powerhouses such as the Whig and Federalist parties and could realistically outlast the Democratic and Republican parties. So it seems that corporations actually now control our country and the elected officials are now their spokesperson. Even more frightenly, it seems that this practice is becoming steadily desensitized to the American public.
From a financial standpoint, the general American public is at a crux. For one, many of us do not have the funds to strong-arm these corporations into expanding their views in a way that reflects the greater American good. Secondly, the pseudo-monopoly major corporations make some citizens feels that they would be worse off as a consumer to cease supporting these companies.
Perhaps an old adage is the answer: “If you can’t bean ‘em, join ‘em.” In the last decade, the Internet has seen an explosion of websites that educate people on how to find a causal link between campaign donations and legislative/executorial actions. Technology has allowed the blinders to be removed from the campaign process. With a country currently having a stronger stock market, it could be a wise idea to align with a corporation who has similar views to yours. Become a shareholder and encourage like-minded friends to do the same. Be involved in the policy making process of the selected corporations.
The issue with this theory is it is an indirect taxation for voting. All American voters are entitled to representation that effectively reflects the views of his or her constituency—no money necessary. Campaign donations are becoming increasingly more glamorous. Entertainment news shows broadcast celebrities who host who fundraisers that are as much as $40,000 a plate. We common folk are starting feel increasingly excluded from the campaign process. We feel that we should “jump on the bandwagon” [who raised the most money] or lament that our choice did not have enough exposure.
Once certain candidates are successfully elected, we see them continue oppressive measures as a means of supporting corporate powerhouses, such as private prisons. Certainly punishment is needed for wrongdoers; however; anytime a dollar sign is attached to a person, a form of slavery is occurring. Many people justify the treatment of inmates by pointing out their wrongs. Still, the absence of one person’s morals is not an excuse for the absence of your own.
Research has shown when the prisons and the states make their contracts, the parties agree that an inmate minimum must be met. If the incarceration rate is taxed below the threshold, the public accessed a low tax for the loss of funds.
High commercialization of crime decreases opportunity for rehabilitation, which is supposed to be the utmost goal of the prison system. This epidemic is particularly true for drug users. The prison sentences from crack, which is more heavily seen in the black community, and methamphetamine, which is more often seen in the poor white sector, is eschewed in comparison to cocaine, which is considered the choice narcotic for the upper echelon.
Though the Constitution now views African-Americans as “equal,” the black body still generates business. Additionally, our election system maintains the notion of “buying” a vote, thus straining the voice of the less financially empowered.