America’s numerous acute socio-economic problems have not been this apparent since the Confederacy was ground into the dust at the end of the Civil War.

Systemic racism is rampant, police violence continues unabated and income inequality of the most grotesque kind continues intensify under Trump’s presidency.

Black men are for the overwhelming part both economically disenfranchised and disproportionately singled out by the police and punished by the courts.

Take a pause to cast your mind back to 2014 and the death of Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD – the first time, sadly, the phrase “I can’t breathe” echoed around the country and then the world. Five years later and, astonishingly, we heard George Floyd cry out the same at the hands of vicious police killers.

Looking back at Eric once more, his “crime” was selling loose cigarettes. Crucially, we must ponder as to why Eric was selling loose cigarettes in the first place. The primary reason? To survive and to provide for his family.

Like millions of black men in America, Eric had a police record for petty offenses. As far as post-crime employment opportunities go, the odds are already stacked up against them. A criminal record, even for crimes that were necessary to feed and clothe your family, effectively shut you out of the jobs market.

This is why mass incarceration of African-American men is so unjust and incendiary because it not only punishes the individual with time behind bars, it also robs them of any opportunity to change their ways after they are released through employment. They also have limited housing and educational opportunities.