I grew up in San Diego, California, although I was born in North Carolina and my folks were from Arizona. Right after the war we lived in what is now a very posh area of San Diego—Point Loma—but when my Dad got into San Diego State College on the G. I. Bill, we moved to married student’s housing down by the jetty in Old Town. Most of the living arrangements in that area of town were temporary plywood multi-units built for the influx of workers for the war industries: building airplanes and ships. In Southern California where the weather is friendly, temporary buildings tend to last a long time. When I came home from New Jersey to surprise my buddy who was getting married, they held his bachelor party in a newly built townhouse on the side of a long hill where, until that visit, I would see only those old two-story plywood firetraps still being used to house the less fortunate of San Diego.
It can be confidently argued that the Bush presidency was enabled precisely by the relegation of a large, majority black population of “free” individuals to the status of civil death. George W. Bush “won” the Florida elections in 2000 by a tiny margin of 537 votes. As Congressman John Conyers has pointed out, the fact that 600,000 ex-felons were denied participation in the elections in the state of Florida alone “may have literally changed the history of this nation.” We might thus argue that the deep structural life of racism in the U.S. prison system gave us the president who articulated the collective fears linked to a psychic historical reservoir of racism in order to wage wars on the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq under the guise of combating terror.
From Chapter 10 of The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues by Angela Y. Davis.