Lend your voice against the squashing of literacy among those who can benefit most from it – those incarcerated and with an opportunity to truly “rehabilitate” themselves, end recidivism, and help others to grow as they have.
Yes, I Support Books In Prison!
Here’s what anyone should know about these books.
Why are inmates treated so harshly simply for owning The Science of Self, a scientific text full of references on genealogy, astronomy, and evolutionary history? Or a health text called The Hood Health Handbook? Or a history book on ancient Black civilizations? What do the prisoners forced into solitary as a “security threat group” for owning a book called Knowledge of Self or Black God have to denounce about themselves to get free? It just sounds crazy. These books are used in universities and schools, so we’re sure they don’t espouse hatred – only self-love and self-development. They’re also nonfiction works full of references. So what’s really happening here? We know prison education programs push profits over people and typically don’t help. Our books do. Is that the problem? Are educated Black and Hispanic (or Indigenous/Native) people that scary – that books teaching ancestral values and self-empowerment must be banned – and people who have done nothing else “wrong” must be thrown in 23-hour SOLITARY CONFINEMENT simply for having them in their possession?
All that to say – time for our books and readers to be given a break! If you’re of moral conscience, you know there’s no good reason for any of it. I considered editing each line that some officials had cited as their “evidence” these books could cause problems, but I soon realized I could rewrite the books in full and they’d still end up blocked somehow. That’s when I realized this was a First Amendment kind of situation, and predominantly Black and Hispanic people are being stripped of their civil and human rights! Meanwhile, you can find white nationalist literature like Mein Kampf in many prison libraries! Something is seriously wrong here! Rather than spend our time trying to change these books any further, I’d like to raise a demand for prisoners to be given their rights, including the right to educate themselves and read empowering literature that changes lives.
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