A discussion of race, politics, media and the like… What I see is what you get.

In Prison Reform, Money Trumps Civil Rights


The portion of this piece that really struck me was the notion that the injustice alone is not enough for change. Only in the presence of “white interests” is there room for policy changes. This quote said it all:

“Given this political reality (the political reality being White middle class tax hikes that would be necessary to continue state funded mass incarceration), it is hardly a surprise to read a headline that says, “N.A.A.C.P. Joins With Gingrich in Urging Prison Reform,” rather than the other way around. If there were ever an illustration of Professor Bell’s theory that whites will support racial justice only to the extent that it is in their interests, this would seem to be it.”

Even with my political leanings and racial consciousness, this article focused and expanded the extent of white supremacy, for me ,in this country and, I hate to admit, left me a bit nonplussed, frankly. I always say, “race and racism is everywhere” but this really proves the point. Martin Luther King Jr’s quotes below continue to make the point…

In 1963, in his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” he chastised white ministers for their indifference to black suffering: “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.’ ”

He continued: “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” Such language would not have tested well in a focus group. Yet it helped to change the course of history.

Those who believe that righteous indignation and protest politics were appropriate in the struggle to end Jim Crow, but that something less will do as we seek to dismantle mass incarceration, fail to appreciate the magnitude of the challenge. If our nation were to return to the rates of incarceration we had in the 1970s, we would have to release 4 out of 5 people behind bars. A million people employed by the criminal justice system could lose their jobs. Private prison companies would see their profits vanish. This system is now so deeply rooted in our social, political and economic structures that it is not going to fade away without a major shift in public consciousness. – Michelle Alexander

It’s not enough to be against racism. Without actively pursuing it’s end and offering shared power and responsibility, you are only propagating the negativity that is racism…

In Prison Reform, Money Trumps Civil Rights – NYTimes.com.

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