Essay on Documentary Analysis: 13th (2016), The Mask You Live In (2015)

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1683 Words
Date:  2021-06-22

13th (2016)

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The documentary reveals that one out of four prisoners in the world is locked up in United States correctional facilities. The thirteenth amendment of the American constitution states that it is unconstitutional for someone to be locked up as a slave but there is an exception for the punishment of being involved in a crime. The exception in the 13th amendment has profoundly been exploited leading to the terminology- Black criminology. Black men have felt the brunt of the exception given that they continue to be incarcerated in large numbers.

Mass incarceration is a serious problem in the United States. The United States incarcerates its citizens more times than any other country in the world. As a matter of fact, mass incarceration is one of the biggest social problems that the United States contends with. Mass incarceration has for many years been used in the United States to address social issues such as crime.

Most of the individuals who are incarcerated in the United States correctional facilities are ethnic and racial minorities. Studies have revealed that one in three black men, go to jail in the course of their lives. Racial disparities that are prevalent in the United States criminal justice system are a big concern. The disparities include sentencing disparities on the basis of race and ethnicity. Minorities are over represented in the United States criminal justice system. Minorities are more likely to face tough drug charges when compared to whites.

Interestingly, mass incarceration has led to the commercialization of prisons. There has been an emergence of private prison contractors who run prisons in the place of state and Federal governments. Private prisons are operated by corporations that are only concerned about making a profit. In the last ten years, the number of private prisons has more than quadrupled. The increase in the number of private prisons has hindered efforts to reform the criminal justice system. It is, therefore, not far-fetched to state that mass incarceration in the United States is a profit-making venture. Private prisons do their best to ensure that the prisons are filled even if no is committing a crime. The private prisons have been an obstacle towards the establishment of rehabilitation programs for offenders. Suffice is to say that private prisons have played a major role towards increasing prison population. As a result, we have a large number of African Americans under prison supervision than there were slaves back in the 1850s.

There are pundits who assert that fiscal cost of mass incarceration is unsustainable. The Criminal Justice system is the second largest spender of the Federal budget. The United States spends billions of dollars in the management of correctional facilities. Rather than spending billions of dollars in the management of correctional facilities, it would have better if the government spent millions of dollars in establishing rehabilitation programs to reform offenders so as to reduce recidivism and discourage criminal activities. As a matter of fact, the Federal government has increased its funding of correctional facilities at the expense of education and rehabilitation programs. Mass incarceration imposes heavy economic, racial, political and economic costs on the United States populace.

Racism in America plays a major role in the high levels of incarceration. Racial and ethnic minorities in the United States are systemically denied access to economic freedom and stability. The denied access to economic freedom and stability has contributed a great deal to people of color engagement in deviant social behaviors such as crime. Economic racism has left racial minorities with no option but to turn to alternative means of meeting their economic needs. Many young men of color believe that the United States economic system has denied them an opportunity for upward mobility. As a result, criminal activities such as drug dealing have become attractive to many young people of color. African Americans have been harassed and battered by the criminal justice system. Unemployment rates among racial minorities are high when compared with unemployment rates among Caucasians. Studies have revealed that the black family structure has been mutated by racial discrimination that is prevalent in many spheres of American life, more so the prison system.

The War on drugs has contributed to high incarceration rates in the United States. There are concerns that the United States laws and policies are misguided and draconian. The misguided and draconian laws and policies are the ones that continue to contribute to increased levels of incarceration rates. Individuals of color are the ones that have been severely affected by the misguided and draconian rules. Reports have revealed that Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be apprehended on drug-related charges when compared to Caucasians. Studies reveal that in the last forty years, the number of people incarcerated on drug-related charges has increased. Reports reveal that the United States prison population and the United States general population was stable prior to 1970s when the United States government started its war on drugs. Since then, every year, there has been an increase in the prison population. Efforts to tackle the drug problem led to the formation of the Drug Enforcement authority. The Drug Enforcement Authority has been very active in its fight against the drugs menace. To fight the drug menace, there has also been an introduction of new policies such as mandatory minimum sentences for individuals charged with drug crimes. Research has revealed that many people tend to be admitted to prisons on the basis of drug charges than any other types of crime. Prosecuting people on charges of drugs is a big part of the United States incarceration system. Even though it appears that majority of the prison growth is associated with violent crime, violent crime is indirectly related to drug charges. Studies reveal that black people are ten more times likely to be convicted of drug-related charges when compared to whites. Reports reveal that many black men are victims of racist persecutions when it comes to drug charges. The racist persecutions have led to the overpopulation of Unites States prisons.

The Mask you live in (2015)

The Mask you live in reveals that many American males put on a mask on a daily basis so as to fit in the American idea of masculinity. The American idea of masculinity alludes that boys and men should not show their feelings. According to the American idea of masculinity, boys and men should always act tough and should not make decisions based on emotions. From a young age, boys are urged not to show their feelings, not to cry and not to allow people to disrespect them. The society encourages boys from a young age to be irrational, not to allow women to influence their decisions and so forth. Boys are urged to be promiscuous as a sign of masculinity. The documentary suggests that the American society has created an idea of masculinity that does not allow young boys to feel secure in their masculinity. For boys to fit in peer groups, they have to posture the same way that other boys in the groups are posturing.

Young boys have to learn how to take a mask everyday on how to interact with their peers so that they can fit in their peer groups. Taking the mask, in this case, refers to displaying masculinity in front of their peers. The mask is used to conceal anger, pain, and emotions that are regarded feminine. The mask urge young boys not to value caring, relationships and empathy. The mask urges young boys and men to always look for trouble to prove their masculinity. Aggression revealed by young boys could be out of pressure to reveal ones masculinity. The mask that many young boys and men wear makes them susceptible to developing mental health problems. Apparently, boys who wear the mask appear confident but on the inside, they suffer from loneliness. Suicide ideation is a major problem associated with putting on the mask. The American idea of masculinity urges young boys to man and demand for respect using violence.

The documentary urges young boys to take off the mask that they often wear in trying to fit in the American idea of masculinity and be their true selves. The masks that many young boys wear are likely to deter them from living fulfilling lives as adolescents and adults.

The media plays a major role in constructing gender norms in the society. The media has created stereotypes about how an ideal man should be that has contributed to men engaging in violent and self-destructive behaviors so as to live up to the ideal of a real man. The media has created a stereotype that a real man is a violent, masculine and macho. As a result, men have been forced to mold their character into a way that fits the medias portrayal of a real man.

Violence is about violence masculinity rather than about violent males. Many males engage in violence as a form of showing their masculinity and proving to their peers how masculine they are. Many males who engage in violence are not necessarily violent, but they engage in violence so that they can prove to society that they are masculine and man enough. The media and society at large have created an impression that a real man is one who is masculine and as a result, this has prompted many men to partake in violent activities so as to prove to society that they are men enough. There is a connection between masculinity and social class. Men who belong to middle and low social classes tend to be more masculine than men who belong to a high social class. Social class and economic status play a major role into masculine identities and violence. Most men who belong to low social class lack good paying jobs and as a result, end up engaging in criminal activities such as robbery with violence so as to fend for themselves and their families. Given that criminal activities involve masculinity and violence; this has compelled many males who belong to the low social class to be masculine and violent.

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Essay on Documentary Analysis: 13th (2016), The Mask You Live In (2015). (2021, Jun 22). Retrieved from

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