Over 2 million people are currently locked up either in a US jail or prison. When also including people on parole and probation this number shoots up to a staggering 6.84 million. To put this into perspective, the US population makes up only 5 percent of the world´s population but holds 25 percent of the global inmate population – no other country in the world puts this many people behind bars. Furthermore, it is disproportionately the black population that is locked into the system of mass incarceration. Examining the issue of black mass incarceration in more detail, a strong argument can be made that this system maintains and perpetuates a racialized social order severely marginalizing people of color.
We should be aware of “othering” as a phenomenon increasingly influencing the way we think and talk about the transatlantic relationship. We need to ensure that mechanisms of “othering”—so convenient to us and so skillfully employed by populist actors—do not unduly distort and amplify the existing differences that we need to work out.