Locking up a Black Teen For 20 Years Isn't Going to Make Your Ice Cream Any Cleaner.

Locking up a Black Teen For 20 Years Isn't Going to Make Your Ice Cream Any Cleaner.

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Jaylynn Robinson started this petition to Texas Attorney General and

Earlier this week there has been a viral video featuring a black teenage girl - under the age of 17 - licking ice cream in the container at a store and then putting it back in the fridge. Whereas this is indeed disgusting, and no, she should not be let off the hook for this wildly inappropriate behavior, the fact that she is facing down 20 years in prison is extremely overkill. She could easily have just been put in community service for a few months to atone for her actions.

"Why is this so important?" You might ask. "Shouldn't she be set as an example for future potential bad actors?" The reason why this is so horrible is because this girl is 17 or under and is a minor. 20 years is longer than her life on this earth. In 20 years, she would have missed the life experiences her peers have, all because her not-yet-developed self made bad decisions.

Furthermore, in America, our Prison Industrial Complex is a form of modern day slavery, with black people being overwhelmingly represented in the prison system - so overwhelmingly in fact that they are incarcerated 5x more than whites. This statistic, indeed, is not due to inherent differences in "culture" - rather, it speaks to the over-policing of black communities and the poverty that resulted from years and years of systemic discrimination. Additionally, the United States is nothing less than a carceral state, with some of the highest rates of incarceration in the globe, with over 2 million individuals behind bars at any point in time. This doesn't even touch the fact how felons aren't able to vote. Yes, there are a ton of assholes in America, just like in every other country...but are we really going to let a girl lose her right to vote, even before she's earned it, just because she was a dumbass as a teen and licked some ice cream?

Detailing the ways that America as it is has systemically oppressed black people and how that closely ties into the Prison Industrial Complex is a feat that cannot be adequately summarized in the description of a change petition, but there has been much research into the topic and is something that can be found easily on the web, if you desire to learn more.

Ultimately, throwing a young girl into prison for 20 years fits neatly into what would be considered as "cruel and unusual punishment". We already have babies and children in cages along our southern border. And even if you don't necessarily care about human rights - this is going to make America look really, really, bad. Even worse than it already looks.

If we're the greatest nation on Earth, can't we at least act like it?

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