The documentary “13th” analyzes the 13th Amendment and its inability to effectively free African Americans. While the 13th Amendment on the surface freed African Americans from slavery, the documentary presents the faults in the amendment and the effects it has had on the black population. Despite the literal freedom of African Americans, the amendment presented loopholes and wording which gave some leeway for whites to enslave African Americans in more discrete manners. The author of the documentary attributes the majority of this modern enslavement to imprisonment of African Americans. 13th argues African Americans are unfairly treated by the U.
S. justice system making the largest portion of prison populations black. The documentary presents shocking statistics which lay out the bias that African Americans are administered with regards to the judicial system. Racism towards African Americans in the legal system began immediately after the 13th Amendment was imposed when unfair charges were brought up to many former slaves.
These charges essentially enslaved the prisoners, providing a loophole for continued slavery of African Americans. Furthermore, thee author of the documentary promotes the idea that African Americans are limited by a racist American society which intends to keep African Americans down provoking them to resort to crime. This is a major reason for why African Americans make up the largest portion of the prison population. The moral issues associated with this issue are major and present an immediate need for change in our society for which the author of 13th sees little hope. The documentary alludes to large scale corruption of the justice system as a result of the significant amount of money generated by the prison industry. Thus, it may be difficult to resolve the racial issues associated with the corrupt system. Additionally, many of the crimes African Americans have been charged with in the past and still are charged with according to the documentary are questionable and changes need to be made. The fact that people have been locked away in prison for crimes that could barely, if even, be considered crimes is a crime in itself.
This type of act could easily and, to most, undoubtedly be seen as unethical. Morals appear to take a back seat when money is involved, or racism is at play. This documentary makes it clear that we don’t live, and more than likely have never lived, in a society where prejudice and greed were never involved. These problems faced by those who are jailed are taken to a personal level, knowing that while the supporters of the prison system are receiving their paychecks and going home to their families everyday- they may very well have just torn a family apart and taken away the only provider a family had.
Overall, what this documentary reveals most is that there’s work to be done in our system- that although we’ll never be able to right the wrongs of the past, there are ways to go about changing our system to ensure that we cease the continuation of these wrongdoings for a better future.