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How do you hold a "thing" accountable?

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As I read Colored Amazons, I could not get over Alice Clifton’s story who was a slave seeking freedom by supposedly killing her newborn baby. Whether she killed her baby or not, I could not believe that the court had the audacity to try Alice as a human even though her status as a slave was more objectifying than human. So I began to wonder about why she was in court since her appearance would mean that she was worthy of human services—a reality that was not the case beyond court doors. What was truly her crime, killing her dead daughter? Using her daughter’s unfortunate death as a ticket to freedom? Or for, which seems more likely, depriving her white masters of a profitable object, both for sex and labor, in the future? Although Gross, shatters the pretense that Clifton’s trial was on the basis of sympathy, morality and humanity, Clifton’s story is a disturbing reminder of how our justice system works today. Every time I hear about the need to crackdown on drug dealers, or the need for more law enforcement—anything that might increase the presence of the law in low-income neighborhoods or spotlight people of color –I cringe. Although arguments for the removal of illegal activities are valid, I always feel—scratch that—I know there are ulterior motives behind why certain illegal activities and groups are infamously publicized in the media. Similar to Clifton’s story, our country profits off of the people we incarcerate and the people we profit from are chosen on the basis of our social “isms.” Today, capitalism, not just a white man, profits from modern day incarceration. While capitalism also presents a singular story of our justice system, it’s frustrating to know that it doesn’t seem possible to hold a social system, a thing, accountable just like the court that tried to prosecute a slave, an object, hundreds of years ago.