COUNT ‘EM ALL…AT HOME: US CENSUS ON REVIEWPublished by R. L'Heureux (Dumi) Lewis on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 9:57 am.
Unless you have been in hiding, you have noticed the Census 2010 is in full swing now. From rapping commercials to inflatable census forms, there are a large amount of resources going into getting people to fill out the 10 Census questions. Despite all this hoopla, the biggest controversy has been the use of the word Negro on the Census. The word Negro is not new on the census and it’s there now because more than 56,000 Black folks wrote in “Negro” last Census. While many are in a tizzy about Negro, the count of prisoners should be getting us more riled up and more attention.
Yesterday, the state of Maryland became a pioneer by signing into law that they would count those incarcerated in their home communities. This is major. What? Doesn’t seem so amazing? That’s where you are wrong, each year, dollars and political power never reach impoverished communities because the people from those communities are counted where they are imprisoned rather than where they are from. This has meant, rural predominantly White communities, an increasingly common location from prisons, have been receiving federal dollars and increased political representation for imprisoned people who are not from their community, nor take part in their community. Drugs have affected Black communities dramatically and the War on Drugs has only served to steeply increase incarceration and segregation of the African-American community. The trail of the destruction of these two evils has left our community in disrepair, advocating that prisoners be counted in their home communities is a way to fight back.
While many of our brothers and sisters are concerned with antiquated words, we should also push them to advocate that their state be next in insuring our communities which have been bankrupted from receiving their fair share. The next time you get a reminder to fill out a Census, remember you have the power to keep your community from being locked out. For more information please visit Prisoners of the Census.