Willie Lynch’s System of Division Concerning the New Slaves

Willie Lynch’s System of Division Concerning the New Slaves

Imagine being on a cotton plantation as a slave. Of course slaves are not allowed to have books. Why? Well because it’s illegal to read. Luckily you have an opportunity to gain access to books. Another slave named Jimbo Jones can get you a book, but you have to keep it hidden and no one can know that it came from him. If caught reading, you know that the master will beat you as if you tried to escape. What would you do?


Do you accept the book and read even though it is illegal? Do you declined the book and forget you and Jimbo Jones conversation about a book proposition? Or do you turn Jimbo in, despite his attempt to help educate you, all in hopes that you will find favor with your slave master?


Now imagine that this plantation is a prison. Imagine every slave as an inmate. Imagine every book as a cell phone. What this thought experiment speaks to is the digital divide. The root idea was sparked by an enlightening conversation me and a fellow named Hasani had concerning the disadvantage inmates are placed it by being denied access to technological information as well as advancements of today’s society.


Inmates are reduced to the use of paper and pen although the entire court system has transitioned to electronically filing. Cash registers are now touchscreens. Televisions are now smart TVs. The world along with information and knowledge accompanying has gone digital. Books are now downloaded to tablets and phones.


The Alabama Department of Corrections labels phones as contraband. The justification being that a phone in an inmate’s hand can be used as an escape device and that’s causes a security health hazard. A phone in an inmate’s hand today, just like the book in the slaves hand of yesterday, grants him unlimited access to knowledge. And no one can keep you a slave if you know what they know. Thus the goal of rehabilitation has become counterproductive.


Maybe this also speaks to why they would come up with an entirely different dictionary with different meanings concerning law. The new slave as inmate has transitioned from the time of black codes in a reconstruction era two black law dictionary and digital circumcision Willie Lynch would be proud of today’s digital divide. Orange is undeniably the new black!

Related Posts