We are dealing with a crisis with regards to incarceration in this country. We have outsourced the responsibility for solving issues surrounding poverty, mental illness, and drug abuse to the penal system, on top of being racist in administering punishment and allowing people to profit off this system. It’s absolutely disgusting. So, if that’s Berlatsky’s beef, I’m right there with him. I just don’t see how leaving men out of Orange is the New Black is connected to this.
I agree with Berlatsky that Orange lacks a systemic analysis of the prison-industrial complex. It doesn’t take the time to provide a history lesson on how we reached this point of modern mass incarceration or to deconstruct how policies affect the choices people make in order to survive. It’s not the The Wire. No show is The Wire. It’s probably wise not to try to be The Wire because you will fail.
Orange is a collection of stories about a diverse group of women. It’s a meeting place of varying identities and struggles related to being a woman in America. That’s its strongest quality. And when you tell stories about women, you need not be obligated to additionally tell the stories of men.