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In light of another high-profile case of possible racial discrimination by law enforcement, the NFL recently announced an updated policy regarding the national anthem. From now on, everyone is expected to stand. For those who wish to support anthem protests must do so in the locker room, away from public view.

Unlike other pundits, I have a nuanced view on this contentious issue. Undoubtedly, law enforcement keeps a close eye on blacks: anyone that suggests otherwise is simply not living in reality. And certainly, overzealous officers are more likely to draw charges of racism. To address this critical dilemma in our justice system, star athletes are speaking out.

On the flipside, I understand that the NFL team owners have a product to protect. While many are sympathetic to addressing racism, the optics of anthem protests have a financial impact – most Americans, certainly most white Americans, don’t want politics to be mixed in with their sports.

But no matter which side you’re on, this much we can agree on: not discussing racism ensures that racism will be alive and well.

Moreover, I’ll make an additional point: the American economy “needs” racism. Indeed, our so-called justice system is a form of modern-day slavery.

How can I make such an outrageous statement, you ask? Consider that the average wage of federal and state prisoners is 63 cents per hour. Considering how devalued our dollar has become, these are inhuman wages.

Granted, these are prisoners – they committed crimes, and therefore, they need to pay the price. However, not all crimes are equal. Under this payroll structure in our justice system, all prisoners average earnings of 63 cents, whether they murdered someone or simply smoked a joint.

Now consider that Blacks and Hispanics are overrepresented in the prison community relative to the percentage of their respective population. By having such skewed prison populations, the justice system is able to milk each prisoner economically for an overhead pittance.

When prisoners are finished with their terms, the social stigma associated with incarceration ensures a high recidivism rate. Thus, the justice system can essentially bank on recurring economic assets.

And yes, of course, not all white-on-black law enforcement encounters are rooted in racism. But by snuffing out anthem protests or other means of resistance, we lull ourselves into complacency. We may collectively allow more law enforcement powers under the false guise of safety.

But what’s really going on here is that further allowances of government overreach will facilitate economic slavery.

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