In Ava DuVernay’s documentary “13th”, it shows how white people found a loophole around the 13th amendment.This documentary proves that African American people are targeted in a systematic racial system which leads to mass incarceration and mass incarceration is just an extension of slavery.
The 13th amendment states , “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”( The Liberty of Congress,2017). The exception to slavery is being convicted of a crime. People of color began to be convicted of crimes. Some crimes that was petty and some crimes that they might have not committed at all. There became a “war on drugs” which was really a war on people of color. Drugs were most likely to be found in ghettos and in urban areas where color people lived, the government knew this.
This made it effortless to convict African American people,mostly African American men. This led to the increase in prison population also known as mass incarceration. Being convicted and labeled as a criminal makes you a slave.
You are being held in a building where the living conditions aren’t good, you are being told when to eat,bathe, and sleep, and we witnessed police brutality in the documentary. No matter what the crime is or if you even committed the crime. According to Duvernay(2018), ” ….You know, every person who is in prison is not a criminal, that all crimes are not created equal, that all sentences are not equal.” More and more people are falling victim to this racial system regardless of the crime because they are being profited off. According to Duvernay(2018), “The current moment of mass criminalization, of incarceration as an industry, prison as a profit, punishment as profit.” The more people get convicted, the more the prison population will go up, the more money will be made which is a bigger reason to keep locking up people of color.
The same way African Americans are being profited off of is the same way they were profited off of during the 18th century. The 13th reframes American history because it shows you the oppression African American people experienced before and what African American people are still going through now. What a lot of people didn’t know before, they learned in the documentary. According the Duvernay(2018), “Leads you to the now, leads you to the movement.
The whole film is a virtual tour through racism. We’re giving you 150 years of oppression in 100 minutes. The film was 150 years in the making.
Really, it’s to give context to the current moment.” The documentary is trying to get you to look at what’s going on in our society and why the U.S has the highest population rate. Ava Duvernay wanted people to look at everything that has happened in a different way. According to Duvernay (2018), “You can see the color red by itself,right? But when you put it next to other colors,it creates a different picture.
….We can talk about black codes and reconstruction by itself. We can talk about Jim Crow by itself.
But when you line them up and put them all side by side ,that’s what the film does, and you think Lord,have mercy. Look at this picture. Look where we are.” The documentary was supposed to make you have a different perspective of racism and mass incarceration. In the documentary, Duvernay proved that mass incarceration is an extension of slavery. She used credible people, she used statistics and facts, and she used hurtful pictures and videos to get people to really pay attention and view racism and mass incarceration differently than they viewed it before.
She used this documentary to reframe American history and spread her knowledge about what is going on in our society.