Past Becomes Present

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“Good or bad, the past is a fact, and it often holds the keys to who we are in the present, and who we’re likely to become in the future.”

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise

Power of Self-Determination

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“…think how meaningful it can be to learn early on that people have a right to self-determination, to define their own reality, to claim their own identity—and that you have no right to impose your judgment of them, on them.”

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise

Wisconsin Drug War

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Even in small towns, such as those in Dodge County, Wisconsin, SWAT teams treat routine searches for narcotics as a major battlefront in the drug war. In Dodge County, police raided the mobile home of Scott Bryant in April 1995, after finding traces of marijuana in his garbage. Moments after busting into the mobile home, police shot Bryant—who was unarmed—killing him. Bryant’s eight-year-old son was asleep in the next room and watched his father die while waiting for an ambulance…The Dodge County sheriff compared the shooting to a hunting accident.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

 

A Warrior’s Spirit

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Born To Fight

“They’re tryin’ to take away my pride
By stripping me of everything I own
They’re tryin’ to hurt me inside
And make me into a white man’s drone”

“But this one’s not for sale
And I was born to fight”

Crossroads by Tracy Chapmen

Labels and Injustice

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What is completely missed in the rare public debates today about the plight of African Americans is that a huge percentage of them are not free to move up at all. It is not just that they lack opportunity, attend poor schools, or are plagued by poverty. They are barred by law from doing so. And the major institutions with which they come into contact are designed to prevent their mobility.

Like Jim Crow (and slavery), mass incarceration operates as a tightly networked system of laws, policies, customs, and institutions that operate collectively to ensure the subordinate status of a group defined largely by race.

The system of mass incarceration is based on the prison label, not prison time.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Note: See the Book Reviews here and here.

Absence of Experience is Experience

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“Although white Americans often think we’ve had few first-hand experiences with race, because most of us are so isolated from people of color in our day-to-day lives, the reality is that this isolation is our experience with race.”

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise

Caste, Class and Conversation

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Public discussions about racial caste in America are relatively rare. We avoid talking about caste in our society because we are ashamed of our racial history. We also avoid talking about race. We even avoid talking about class. Conversations about class are resisted in part because there is a tendency to imagine that one’s class reflects upon one’s character.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Note: See the Book Reviews here and here.

Minneapolis Drug War

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The escalation of military force was quite dramatic in cities throughout the United States. In the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, for example, its SWAT team was deployed on no-knock warrants thirty-five times in 1986, but in 1996 that same team was deployed for drug raids more than seven hundred times.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

 

Should Not Have To

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I usually don’t post from my cellphone, but these quotes stood out:

“We shouldn’t have to explain that the punishment for even the most heinous crimes in our country is not a public execution without a trial.”

“We shouldn’t have to explain why we fight back when we are attacked.”

This Is Why We’re Mad About the Shooting of Mike Brown , Jezebel.com, written by Kara Brown