Things That Matter

Would You Buy Prison–Made Clothes?

CREDIT: ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK / Netflix / THE BUSINESS OF FASHION

How would you feel if the clothes you bought were made in a prison, most likely by a Hispanic inmate?

Although it’s not a popular practice, it’s becoming more common worldwide including in countries like Peru, and the U.S. And since, the Hispanic population in this country is at 35 percent, according to the United States Sentencing Commission, it’s likely the clothes is being made by one of our own.

Some argue this practice is unethical because companies around the world are bringing in huge profits and paying inmates cents to a dollar an hour. The Federal Prison Industries (Unicor) is a federal enterprise with 78 manufacturing facilities around the country.

Inmates who work for Unicor make from 23 cents to $1.15 an hour making uniforms and bedding for the prison itself. Other companies, like U.S. Prison Blues, is a U.S. company that manufactures prison and fashion clothing in an Oregon prison. There commercial line includes denim, Ts and hats.

READ: This Prison is So Dangerous, Even the Guards Won’t Go In

The companies, however, argue this type of work allows the inmates to learn a skill they can use to find work once they’re released. Since this type of training takes money, the companies are essentially investing in rehabilitating the inmates.

“Don’t think that because people are in prison that they’re forgotten and that they’re useless to society,” says Jason Swettenham, head of public sector prison industries in England and Wales. “Because most of them have just done wrong and want to make amends and want a chance.”

Read more about how fashion companies around the world are setting up shop in prisons here.

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The Daily Show’ Tried To Use The Term ‘Latinx’ And People Weren’t Happy About It

Entertainment

The Daily Show’ Tried To Use The Term ‘Latinx’ And People Weren’t Happy About It

Latino, Latinx, or Hispanic? You’ve heard all of those terms before, and you have, of course, also heard the arguments that come over their use. Nowadays, many younger generations of Latinx folks decide to opt for “Latinx” because it’s more inclusive but there are still others who haven’t fully accepted or adopted this term in their daily lives. 

Many people who are of Mexican, Argentinian, Cuban, Guatemalan, Honduran, Nicaraguan (and many other countries!) descent, have a difficult time coming agreeing to one term that everyone can identify as. 

But that’s the point of having different opinions and experiences, so it’s important to learn more about one’s history and also be open to another’s point of view.

Reddit user u/Aldopeck posted a status on the thread r/stupidpol posted about the Daily Show trying to use “Latinx to seem woke to Spanish people. All the Latinos in the comment section react saying ‘Latinx’ is a bullshit term that’s never going to be a thing.” 

Many people have also tried to make sense of whether Latino, Latinx or Hispanic is any “better” or “more inclusive” of a term. For example, last year, Remezcla published an extensive article on a brief but thorough history of how these words originated.  “Through my conversations and research into the background of these terms, it became clear that the origins and evolution of what we call ourselves is as complicated as our history in the United States,” writes Yara Simón for Remezcla on the topic

“We’ll probably never find a perfect term, especially as some prefer to identify as their (or their family’s) country of origin.”

Arturo Castro went on the Daily Show last month to talk to Trevor Noah about his latest sketch show “Alternatino.” In the segment, Castro spoke to Noah about how difficult it was to juggle his characters from “Broad City” and “Narcos.” But he also talked about his heritage and how his experiences as a Latino influence his work. 

“You know, being Latino, everybody sort of expects you to be, like, suave, you know, and really like spicy food or be really good at dancing,” Castro said. “I really like matcha, you know?”

But regardless of his matcha-loving ways, Castro is very intentional about uplifting his community (he’s from Guatemala) and isn’t one to shy away from major issues affecting people of color through his Comedy Central sketch show, “Alternatino.” For example, earlier this week, Comedy Central aired an episode of “Alternatino” that includes a mass-shooting-themed sketch

In “The Daily Show” interview, Noah then asks Castro, “what do you think some of the biggest misconceptions are about being Latino that you’ve come across in America that you try and debunk in the show?” 

To which Castro replies, “Well, you know, there’s this thing about being ultra-violent or being lazy. Like, you know, the most common misconception is about Latino immigrants being lazy. Where I find Latino immigrants to be some of the hardest-working people in the world, right?” 

While Arturo Castro dropped some gems during the interview, notice that his quotes all referred to his community and himself as “Latino”? Well, when The Daily Show shared a promotional post on Facebook about the interview, they used the term “Latinx” and people were not happy about it.

“Arturo Castro pokes fun at Latinx stereotypes on his new sketch series, “Alternatino,” the social team for The Daily Show wrote on Facebook. 

It didn’t take long for the backlash to pop up in the comments section.

Users were quick to comment on the use of the term Latinx, and criticize the show for inserting the word into Castro’s quote.

While the argument about whether one should use Latino, Latinx, or Hispanic is still up in the air, people can’t help but have opinions about it. 

A reddit user argued that “you can’t really say [Latinx] in Spanish. I mean you can ‘Latin-equis’ but nobody does. The whole thing just reeks of white liberal wokeness being imposed on a community of smelly unfortunates. If they’re so concerned with gendered languages why don’t they do the same thing with French, Italian, Hebrew, Arabic, etc.?” 

But other Facebook commenters weren’t going to let people off the hook for criticizing The Daily Show’s use of “Latinx” in their promotion. 

As one Facebook user pointed out, “not everyone identifies as binary male/female…hence the use of Latinx…it is for people who can’t or won’t identify as either. If you don’t like Latinx then don’t use it…see how simple that was?”

So, what’s it going to be? Latinx, Latino, or Hispanic? This social outrage also begs the question, if someone didn’t refer to themselves as “Latinx,” then should you omit the use of that term completely? Should brands be thinking harder about this before they hit post? 

You tell us! Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

This Massive Prison Riot In Brazil Is Making Headlines Around The World For How Gruesome It Was

Things That Matter

This Massive Prison Riot In Brazil Is Making Headlines Around The World For How Gruesome It Was

Inmates were seen on the rooftop of the prison during the violence / screenshot video bbc

At least 57 inmates died, 16 of whom were decapitated, in a prison riot that broke out on Monday morning in the northern Brazilian state of Para – the latest in a series of deadly clashes.

Authorities said the riot involved rival criminal gangs who took at least two penitentiary officers hostage as they battled one another.

Nearly 60 people have been killed after a prison riot in Brazil.

Officials said a local drug gang had invaded the wing controlled by its rivals in the city of Altamira in the state of Pará, decapitated 16 prisoners and set mattresses on fire, with dozens more thought to have been asphyxiated in the smoke.

Security specialists blamed a war across the Amazon region for control of the lucrative drug trade, which is also believed to have been the reason for the killing of 56 prisoners in a prison in the Amazon city of Manaus in 2017 and a series of bloody revenge killings that ensued.

Sixteen of the inmates who died were killed by decapitation.

Videos circulating online showed inmates at the prison celebrating as they kicked decapitated heads across the floor.

Authorities also say that inmates set fire to the prison killing dozens more.

Prisoners belonging to the Comando Classe A gang set fire to a cell containing inmates from the rival Comando Vermelho, or Red Command, gang, Para’s state government said in a statement.

Most of the dead died in the fire, they said, while two guards were taken hostage, but later released.

The state government says that the riot started after a brawl broke out between rival gangs.

As Brazil’s incarcerated population has surged eight-fold in three decades to around 750,000 inmates – the world’s third-highest – its prison gangs have come to wield vast power that reaches far beyond prison walls.

Prison gangs originally formed to protect inmates and advocate for better conditions, but have come to wield vast power that reaches far beyond prison walls. The gangs have been linked to bank heists, drug trafficking and gun-running, with jailed kingpins presiding over criminal empires via smuggled cellphones.

In the country’s violent northeast, prison gangs have grown powerful by moving cocaine from Colombia and Peru along the Amazon’s waterways to the Atlantic coast, where it heads to Africa and Europe. Murderous disputes often arise as they clash over territorial control.

The Red Command hails from Rio de Janeiro, but has expanded deep into northernBrazilas it seeks to diversify its income. That expansion has often led to confrontations with Brazil’s largest and most powerful gang, the First Capital Command, headquartered in Sao Paulo.

The Comando Classe A gang is seen as a relatively small gang, and is little known outside Para. Its high-profile attack against the Red Command could give it a nationwide reputation.

And this riot is just one of many in a recent outbreak of intense prison violence.

Elected on a tough-on-crime message, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has benefited from a sharp drop in homicides so far this year. Nonetheless, endemic prison violence has been a stubborn public security challenge in one of the world’s most violent countries.

In May, at least 55 inmates died during prison attacks in the northern state of Amazonas. Weeks of violence in Amazonas in 2017 resulted in 150 prison deaths as local gangs backed by Brazil’s two largest drug factions went to war.

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