America, that certain sector of American society, that is, cannot get enough of its addiction to slavery.
According to Global Research, March 31, 2014, contributor Vicky Palaez says “[Former] Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix recently urged Nike to cut its production in Indonesia and bring it to his state, telling the shoe manufacturer that “there won’t be any transportation costs; we’re offering you competitive prison labor (here).”
In other words, the back message from Mannix to Nike is that ‘we’ can bring the jobs back to the United States now, where the labor is even cheaper than it is in Indonesia – and where workers will be treated even worse – legally.
Pretty good spin for a company that is selling cheaply-made foot hardware at a premium just because it has Michael Jordan’s permission to use his name on a label. Pretty good spin for a Black man whom many have begun to see as a contributory cause to something that is only expected of white men.
Palaez’s report, “The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?” revealed some very specific information that we have known for a long time – mostly Black and Hispanic persons in the United States of America have, situationally, become a new kind of slave in America.
And the pay they receive, at $20 – $30 per month (yes, PER MONTH) is just enough for them to argue that it’s certainly not “free” labor — they pay about 17-cents an hour. Just enough to bypass being called “Massa.”
Yeah, NIKE, do whatever you have to do to make yourself feel better about legal enslavement in a nation that outlawed it nearly 150 years ago.
Skirting the Constitution while making a killing in profits is a slippery slope, especially when the non-incarcerated counterparts of those Blacks and Hispanics are still dunking at more than a 10-percent rate of unemployment as of April 2014.
While prison industry labor booms, American unemployment for persons of color still stagnates. But at least we know what happened to the jobs.
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It would make a lot more sense if these prisoner/slaves (the non-violent ones, of course) were paid to work off their fines, pay down their debt to society and have it count, and have enough left over for commissary for snacks, socks, and phone calls so that they aren’t making their mothers sacrifice $18 a pop for a 5-minute collect call; but…that would be too much like the ‘right’ thing to do and not the ‘white thing’ to do.
Yes, America continues to have a love affair with slavery….
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PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.
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