A New Jim Crow Stadium? Florida School Names Stadium After Prison Company

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Another is that few of the black people it profits off of will ever get a chance to attend that university, or any university, for that matter, even if they’ve completed their sentences and meet the entrance requirements.

That’s because it’s extremely difficult for felons to get financial assistance for school, and even tougher for them to be admitted – not to mention the fact that it’s next to impossible for them to get jobs or housing.

Many wind up back in prison – and further fattening the pockets of private prison corporations like GEO.

Then there’s this: Florida spends nearly $3 billion a year on its corrections system. Three of the 59 facilities that GEO operates in the U.S. are in Florida.

That’s money that could be used to pay teachers, or provide the services needed to rebuild communities and create the kind of social and economic stability that might deter people from committing crimes.

That money could also be used to support universities like FAU so that its president won’t be so desperate as to make excuses for accepting money from a corporation that lobbies for state money that it could be using.

But it isn’t.

I hope the protests continue. Because it’s one thing to name a stadium after a company that promises banking or financial services, or office products, or food. They profit off meeting people’s needs.

But it’s another to name a stadium after a corporation that profits by exploiting people’s mistakes – especially the mistakes of a disproportionate number of black males.

Black males who, if they aren’t lucky enough to be playing football in FAU’s new stadium, are certainly paying to have it named after their jailers.

Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her @tonyaajw or like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tonyaajweathersbee.

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