Recently I was ask by a friend, “why don’t you have a US visa”? I simply replied, “I’m not interested in having one” *gasp*
In the Caribbean and most definitely in Jamaica there is this widespread obsession with “going to America”. To set foot in the “land of opportunity” and visit the Big Apple. This is extremely prevalent in the minds of the poor who have not seen the chance of success in their own land so they look to ‘farin’ for a way out. Even the rich are leaving in droves, well I shall be staying in Jamrock, the USA aint the place for me.
So what did the America ever do to me why I don’t ever want to go back? When I was small, about six years old I went to New York to visit family and several things happened that made me very wary of the system in that country. Here are a few:
I was enrolled in a predominant “black” school with latinos in NY and one day out of the blue police officers came to the school and all the children were rounded up in the hall. The police officers came to us with a smile and said, “we are here to take you guys fingerprint so if a bad guy commits a crime we will know it wasn’t you” 😐 I swear thats what this man said I remember clearly.
Just like tender moths to a flame all the children ran up and gave them their fingerprint. Initially I wasn’t having it especially being from the “ghetto” in Jamaica where police beat people fi nutn. However after being ridiculed and ostracized by my innocent friends decided to “help” law enforcement and just like that I signed a deal with the devil.
After the horror had ended a mother literally ran into the school crying, screaming and gasping for air asking, “what the f*ck did you people do to my baby?” Its a day I will never forget because the classrooms would never be the same. The parents came the evening and they were all distraught and tormented. Needless to say all classrooms got very small the next day and I never went back after the following day. *It was summer school*
What had happened was these officers trained in psychology 101 came to the school and enthusiastically declared, “lets fight crime” and just like that with the children’s “consent” they documented everyone of us in the American criminal system, just like that. I know these guys would never go to certain places with this nonsense but they came to the inner-city to document those who would receive an inferior education.
Along with the routine and I mean really routine “random” stops, constant questioning of the adult in the car, constant searches and blatant harassment these policemen were always stalking the area, just watching you everywhere you go, I even got use to it! Not only that several times they would come to the school and demonstrate to small children how to handle themselves when being arrested. Im serious.
In my young mind I was thinking, “well I guess this is how they do it here” but as I got older and looked back at what had happened I began to feel uncomfortable. Remembering my tiny self walking down a street and officers always asking, “do you have anything cool in your bag young man” I began to do extensive research and was absolutely horrified.
Mass Incarceration in the United States was socially engineered and rigidly enforced by the government. As the corporations leave the US for lower wages over yonder the prison industrial complex whose share holders anxiously await returns get agitated when stocks plummet i.e when beds are empty and new prisons aren’t being built.
I mean come on think about it, how does the country with the highest GDP in the world have the most inmates in the world. How is that 2.5 million people are incarcerated? Thats nearly 1 in every 100 Americans. Black men who are from a demographic who represent only 12% of the population, dominate prisons. From my experience I can see why. They are harassed and charged for petty crimes resulting in some of them losing voting power and the chance at living a normal life because of the past criminal records box on job applications.
Well luckily I was born to an EXTREMELY hard working mother who made every attempt to make life better for her children, as for my father well you know the guy was missing from jump street. Now thanks to my mother I have seen that opportunity is everywhere once you have the vision to recognize whats around you. Having that vision I know I will do quite fine if I never go to the US again. I must say thank you mama for you have shown me the light and I shall not be looking to Uncle Sam for a way.