by Joe A’Jene Valentine
On Oct. 8, 2021, California Governor Newsom approved – agreed with the conclusion – AB 333 (an act to amend the gang enhancement imposed under Penal Code section 186. 22). In fact, the Sacramento legislative body found and agreed that the gang statute, a statute which mandates that more time be imposed on a person who is validated as affiliated with a gang, is often given a lot more time than what the sentence from the actual crime carries. In other words, it was found, proven, that the gang statute, just as in the case of other policies and laws especially targeting poor and working class people of color, is racist and racially motivated, i.e., enforced and applied via law enforcement on a disproportionate or discriminatory level.
Yes, it was intended to target people who look like you! This is so, even though white youth and young adults actually make up the majority in gangs here in the state of California. As a result of the legislative body’s conclusions, the Gang Enhancement statute Penal Code 186. 22 is racistly enforced and discriminatorily applied to people of color. AB 333 was enacted as a way to remedy the problem or to provide equal protection under the law with regards to this inherently biased-based policy/law.
Naturally, the enactment of AB 333 only occurred due to our own loved ones and other fair-minded people aiding us, by voting and organizing for change. What position, might you wonder, did law enforcement, prosecutors, district attorneys, prison guards and prison officials take? The fact is, a great percentage of people of color in blue and green uniforms, as well as others related to the state – courts, probation officers, penal systems, etc. – actually aid various law enforcement, judicial and penal systems towards doggin’ people who look like you, by enforcing and applying this and other clearly racist-based and racially motivated type policies and laws against their own people.
As white youth and young adults are the majority involved in gangs in California, why then, isn’t this fact reflected in their numbers in juvenile halls, camps, youth authorities, county jails and prisons?
Just look around. This also is the case in regards to the enforcement and application of California’s gang validation policy and practice. In other words, the truth is that the California legislative body, a white male-dominated political entity, is actually admitting to just what people of color from the ghettos and barrios, mainly economically and socially deprived lower class and working class folks, already knew. African Americans, Mexican Americans and other people of color, are in fact, purposely targeted on a selective basis for arrest, prosecution, and incarceration based purely on racist policies and laws being applied although white youth and young adults make up a majority of people in gangs.
As white youth and young adults are the majority involved in gangs in California, why then, isn’t this fact reflected in their numbers in juvenile halls, camps, youth authorities, county jails and prisons? I mean, if you went to China, wouldn’t it be logical for you to expect and conclude that the majority in their penal systems are Chinese? However, what if you discovered that, statistically speaking, that it isn’t Chinese people who make up the majority, but rather Black people, Mexicans, Native folks, Puerto Ricans, etc. who are the majority in China’s penal systems? Wouldn’t that tell you something?
What it should tell you, that China’s government is engaged in the systematic oppression of those people in their penal systems who don’t matter to Chinese people. The same is ultimately true when it comes to people of color, especially poor folks from the barrios and ghettos, since the fact is, just as 2Pac told us: “They don’t give ah f**k about us!”
Do you even truly really care to know? What is really going on, and shall continue to occur, as long as WE refuse to care for our own communities, is we’re under attack via white supremacy – i.e., racism applied on an institutional-based and motivated level. It is a reality. For your own knowledge, the population ratio between Mexican Americans and European Americans only recently (2015) balanced out, meaning then that although white people have actually been the majority in California for decades, this wasn’t and isn’t the case when it comes to them being in the penal systems.
Send our brother some love and light: Joe A’Jene Valentine, C47779, Centinela State Prison A4-225, P.O. Box 921, Imperial, CA 92251.