“Uncle Sam” by Bruce X Parker

Earlier this year Bruce X Parker (whose sharp critiques of the Michigan Department of Corrections we have shared with you before) won a major Federal court settlement against his captors. As a “strategist and a tactician” Bruce X takes the struggle in the courts for what it is: a means to survive in the belly of the beast. He argues that what he calls the criminal punishment system (CPS) can never produce justice. Uncle Sam’s prisons and police can never make this society livable for most of us. 

Image description: Uncle Sam’s flag being swallowed up by the fires burning through Wisconsin’s Department of Corrections Building in Kenosha.

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I was told to give the system a chance. The same system that legalized slavery. The same system that implemented the racist Black codes of the south. The same system that produced Jim Crow laws. And, finally, the same system that implemented mass incarceration — which is racism reborn and renamed. Preservation through transformation. I don’t trust the system because the system wasn’t built for me or any man or woman who has melanin or tint to their skin. We are not denied justice because we broke some law. We are not denied justice because we don’t deserve it. Plain and simple, justice is denied because of racist minds that has built racist institutions. I don’t care what we do to try to make ourselves look a little better and refined in the majority of institutions. I don’t care what we do to try and make ourselves look a little better and refined in the majority of Amerikkka’s eyes and the minority of the world (white folks). 

Now, all white folks aren’t racist but the majority of them are. This is an indisputable fact proven by history and day-to-day behavior. Amerikkka was built on racist principles that over the years have been buried in ultra liberal rhetoric or staunch conservatism. 

Remember the so-called forefathers had and was raping slaves at the time of the constructing and signing of the Constitution which gave right’s to no one except the intended recipients (rich affluent white property owners). Black’s weren’t seen as human or counted in this document called the Constitution. In fact, Blacks were given three fifths of a human value. Ask yourself, what in the hell is three fifths of a human? I’ll tell you what it is: (Subhuman) or not to exist while physically existing. To be invisible is what three fifths is.

Now moving on to this system they call the criminal justice system which has now been coined by myself and other social justice advocates as the criminal punishment system (CPS)The CPS has been claiming that crimes has been rising in Black areas and that there is a need for more of a police presence. This representation is false and misleading. True crime is rising but not only in Black areas but all areas. Crime is rising due to: number one, people being denied resources and incentives that motivates one to do better. Two, acts that were no crimes yesterday and at minimum should have been civil infractions being criminalized and thus creating new obstacles one must try to avoid. Thus, that which wasn’t a crime yesterday is now a crime today, and people wonder why crime is going up or either know why crime is rising but ignore it because it doesn’t affect them personally or their communities.

Ask yourself: why do people commit crimes? Simple, because they often times feel as if he/she has no other options, or the other options seem bleak or unrealistic or just unattainable. So, people waste no time in pursuing what society has beat in their heads as being unattainable or out of reach. People go after what they know they can attain whether its legal or illegal. 

I am a strategist and a tactician. I have begun to unite with all oppressed people both black, white, brown, yellow and read. This is a new day and all oppressed people must unite and this includes fighting for the rights of the LGTBQ community. People don’t have to agree with who someone loves or chooses to be in a relationship with to stand up for them having the right to make their own choices and be safe when those decisions or choices are made. One shouldn’t have to face reprisal for what he or so or they or them decide to do in the privacy of their home or respectfully in public. Disagree to agree that people have rights to make choices that other’s may not understand but that does not negatively affect anyone else. Who a person loves in the words of Malcolm X is “only of concern to the two people involved.” Oppression has infiltrated all vestiges of society and institutions which leads me to the worst vehicle of oppression besides police: the criminal punishment system. PRISON.

In prison, the worst atrocities is taking place. Black prisoners like myself are discriminated against and targeted on most occasions by white racist officers and very seldom by black officers who have become tools and because of fear has taken on the mind of the oppressor for survival purposes. Prison is a graveyard full of breathing human beings. I say graveyard because we are treated as if we are nobody or invisible while physically being present.

Now I filed a lawsuit—Parker V. Gainer—in the Western District Federal Court of Michigan. I went to trial. Beginning on May 17, 2021 and ending on May 20, 2021. In front of an all white jury consisting of 4 white women and 3 white men. I succeeded on May 20, 2021 with the jury coming back in my favor against officer Mitchell Gainer based on retaliation and excessive force. Officer Gainer slammed my left leg and knee in an over 400-pound steel door on July 13, 2016 after I reported him to the deputy warden of the prison for mistreating prisoners and listening to our phone conversations with loved ones and then making inappropriate comments sexual in nature on the content of the conversation. I was awarded $90, 002. 

This verdict doesn’t show that the system works. It only shows that there was a malfunction in the system which is demonstrated by the Michigan Attorney General’s (MAG) office next move. MAG’s office on behalf of the Michigan Department of Corrections filed a motion of remitter requesting that the award be reduced to $10,000 because $90,002 is too much for a prisoner who was abused. 

Where is the justice? Nonexistent because true to the criminal punishment system’s creed it was not meant for black or brown people (the world’s majority and Amerikkka’s minority).  In prison when you are abused its accepted and even justified. As the saying goes: out of sight, out of mind. When legitimate complaints are filed the powers that be immediately began the grueling process of catch and kill tactics. These tactics mandate that they lie, deny and falsify to preserve this system of violence.