“We have a myth today that the ghettos in metropolitan areas around the country are what the Supreme Court calls ‘de-facto’ — just the accident of the fact that people have not enough income to move into middle class neighborhoods or because real estate agents steered black and white families to different neighborhoods or because there was white flight,” Rothstein tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.
There are 2.3 million Americans in prison or jail. The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of its prisoners. One in three black men can expect to spend time in prison. There are 2.7 million minors with an incarcerated parent. The imprisonment rate has grown by more than 400 percent since 1970.
Check out this 538 analysis of “justice” in America.
Posted in Sociology | Comments Off on The Imprisoner’s Dilemma
On Monday, President Obama commuted the sentences of 46 federal prisoners locked up for nonviolent drug offenses, raising the total number of commutations he’s issued to 89. The decision came 15 months after former Attorney General Eric Holder announced the president’s request to prioritize clemency applications from nonviolent, well-behaved, oversentenced drug offenders.
While there’s still time, the president should consider an act of clemency that measures up to history: pardoning every marijuana offender.
Hollaback, an organization that wants to stamp out street harassment and intimidation (a.k.a.catcalls), produced a video in which it videotaped a young woman walking around Manhattan for 10 hours this past August. A hidden video camera was placed in the backpack of a man walking in front of her, catching every catcall, whistle, and even one persistent character who walked alongside the woman for five minutes.
“In these communities, the dominant argument is usually that sports lure students into school and keep them out of trouble—the same argument American educators have made for more than a century. And it remains relevant, without a doubt, for some small portion of students.
But at this moment in history, now that more than 20 countries are pulling off better high-school-graduation rates than we are, with mostly nominal athletic offerings, using sports to tempt kids into getting an education feels dangerously old-fashioned. America has not found a way to dramatically improve its children’s academic performance over the past 50 years, but other countries have—and they are starting to reap the economic benefits…
Imagine, for a moment, if Americans transferred our obsessive intensity about high-school sports—the rankings, the trophies, the ceremonies, the pride—to high-school academics.”
“But for the most part, I don’t think we don’t say very much about greed, not comfortably at least. Perhaps that is the inevitable price of an economic system that relies on the vigor of self-interested pursuits, that it instills a kind of moral quietism in the face of avarice, for whether out of a desire to appear non-judgmental or for reasons of moral expediency, unless some action verges on the criminal, we hesitate to call it greed, much less evidence of someone greedy. We don’t deny the existence of such individuals, but like Bigfoot, they tend to be more rumored than seen.
Moral revolutions come about in different ways. If we reject some conduct but rarely admit an example, we enjoy the benefit of being high-minded without the burden of moral restraint. We also embolden that behavior, which proceeds with a presumptive blessing. As a matter of public discourse and polite conversation, “Greed” is unlikely to be “Good” anytime soon, but a vice need not become a virtue for the end result to look the same.”
This journalistic tour de force is the best piece I’ve read this year. Coates puts the question squarely into the reader’s face and, in so doing, changes the dialogue about reparations.
I. “So That’s Just One Of My Losses”
II. “A Difference of Kind, Not Degree”
III. “We Inherit Our Ample Patrimony”
IV. “The Ills That Slavery Frees Us From”
V. The Quiet Plunder
VI. Making The Second Ghetto
VII. “A Lot Of People Fell By The Way”
VIII. “Negro Poverty is not White Poverty”
IX. Toward A New Country
X. “There Will Be No ‘Reparations’ From Germany”