If you’ve ever known, or conceived of, someone being released from prison, or if you’ve ever watched a movie in which a character is being released from prison, there is an almost unfailing probability that the concept you’ve constructed of such an experience is inaccurate. If you’ve never been incarcerated you would assume that the person being released is happy, joyful, ecstatic even, but that assumption is really just an affirmation of your supposed “humanity.” It serves as confirmation that you are experiencing and processing emotions and ideas the way others do, in a “natural” way, so, realistically, your assumption has more to do with psychologically solidifying your place amongst society as a fully functioning member and less to do with arriving at an intelligent and reasonable conclusion.
To assume that the recently-released convict is experiencing anything other than happiness, joy, elation – you know, optimistic, hopeful and favorable emotion – is to admit that you coexist alongside others whose nature has been altered and is now different from yours. Or, at the very least, this admittance is the acknowledgement that the American experience is a tale of two worlds, one in which its inhabitants experience the best of times, and in the other world, the worst of times. This admittance (either) is the equivalent of a guilty plea. If we are aware and accepting of the deliberate alteration of human nature, or if we are aware and accepting of this tale of two worlds, where division reigns king, and if we’re turning a blind eye to maltreatment, then we are in collusion with the perpetrator, an accessory to the crime, sharing in the responsibility of injustice.