Disability / prison / Racism / women's issues

Letter from Edmonton Institution for Women

My first inclination is to introduce myself by my FPS number; but my indignation prevents me from demoralizing myself to digits. Consider this a feminine spin-off to the alpha-males about how club-fed is just a conservative-laced media hype…much like the hype on statistic & crime the conservatives push.

As a proud, Black , gay woman, I find imprisonment at Edmonton Institution for Women barbaric, degrading, and yes, inhumane. There is no type of support for Black women here – we are not recognized as “visible minorities with distinct needs.” We are the punch line to double entendres, ie; “do you really need to ask why your cell light needs to be turned on?”
We are the elephant in the room when the Ethnocultural policy is dusted off…we are the whispered fun in dysfunctional and the malevolent “n” word when someone decides we are too loud to live with. We are the dirt that sullies the white informant that receives witch-hazel from the Management for the bruised eye that has an uncanny resemblance to sparkled eye shadow.
I live with Attention Deficit Disorder and Bi-Polar Disorder. This combination of deficit meets chemical disorder is crippling at times. When Management converse with me, they lean on my ADD & Bipolar as though its a comfort blanket – when I am in solitary confinement, they use it as ammo and behavior modification. It is almost as though being a visible minority is equated, or expected, to be in conjunction with some type of deficient. Weed out the undesirables and weak, the non-pure…the regime of the White Supremacists; only now, slavery is the regime in carceral, unwritten politics.
I never expected imprisonment to be easy. No, I’ve been willing to do my penance. What I didn’t anticipate was the thinly-veiled racism, the homophobia, and the bizarre mind-games that come with certain uniforms who play the race card long before you. I have my flaws and deficiencies – you’re dame right I do. But the color of my skin is not one of them, no matter how hard they try and convince me otherwise….



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