On January 1, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation making slavery illegal in the US. Soon afterwards, newspapers such as the Southwestern Christian Advocate in New Orleans were flooded with letters and advertisements by freedmen searching for their mothers, children, and spouses who had been sold or disappeared, or who had fled the brutality of plantation owners. These letters reveal no one ever adjusted to slavery. And the trauma the experience caused endured long after Lincoln’s decree. How does slavery continue to impact African American families today?
I am, in the words of Black twitter, #ActualBlack. I say this not to endorse “identity policing” but to point out:
I have parents, grandparents and great grandparents who were forced to cope with the following forms of White supremacy (in chronological order): the TransAtlantic Slave Trade, lynching, segregation, mass incarceration, and microaggressions.
My body, skin, hair, voice, accent (or lack of accent), sashay, and personal aesthetics are to some degree disturbing in all public and private institutions (except for prisons and the morgue).
I did not sign up for this club, but I am proud to be a member.
In all seriousness, I have been thinking a lot about the question: Why has the outing of Rachel Dolezal and Andrea Smith as White – allegedly – caused such a sensation?
All over the country the #BlackLivesMatter movement has spread, making an impact here at The New School as well. I am only an ally to the cause; I don’t personally know what it is like to be Black in this country. However, I do know what it is like to be a person of color and the challenges that comes with it. I understand the discrimination communities of color face. (more…)
Dr. Robin J. Hayes, director of the award-winning documentary Black and Cuba will be on New York City’s WBAI today Tuesday April 14 at 2pm EST to discuss the film and “Feeling a Foreigner” on the Artsy Fartsy Show. Listen live or download here.
Any theory is just a theory. It can never be fully proven, but it can always be debunked. The Broken Windows Theoryhas been used to justify aggressive policing of identified ‘unsafe‘ areas. Broken Windows policing violates rights, moral ground, and creates a perception of criminality amongst certain communities. Introduced in 1982, the criminological theory is rooted in the belief that people view disorder as a breeding ground for crime. The example often used (and the theory’s namesake) is a broken window in a building or a car, more damage to the car or building would encourage several undesirable actions including, vandalism, loitering, and squatting. Ultimately, the theory alludes that police can make an area, or an entire city, safer by focusing on smaller crimes that may build up to larger acts of crime. (more…)
The general concept behind decriminalization is simply to make a previously illegal act, legal. However, the actual practice of decriminalization is much more complex and involved. The term is often thrown around within the discourse of social control within our criminal justice system. Referencing the debate that outlawing vices is an outdated means of dictating “norms,” decriminalization is often looked at as an action that needs to be taken in order to properly reflect an evolving society. (more…)
Chicago is well-known for more than just being a beautiful city. Like many other large cities, Chicago has a major problem with juvenile delinquency. Every day more and more organizations, both new and old, work to change the system that is more punitive, than rehabilitative to the youth it serves.
One of the up and coming initiatives for addressing criminal behavior among young people is Restorative Justice. Instead of looking at the crime as an offense against the state and punitively throwing the offender into jail, the system would look at the crime at the victim/offender/community level. There would be a dialogue between the victim, the offender, and the community affected that would require the offender to take responsibility for the harm caused. Some of the faces of this would be an apology or community service depending on the nature of the crime. (more…)
Today, too few of us will make our voices heard at ballot boxes throughout the United States. The representatives chosen to speak and decide for us at local, state and national levels in these mid-term elections will have a great deal of power over many of the things that matter to us most: such as how our children are educated, whether we feel safe with police officers in the street, the conditions in which we work, and how much we are compensated for our work. Voting is an important way we can use our power, but too many of us have been falsely convinced that we do not have any power at all. (Click here to find out about the voter identification laws in your state).