Easter book. Umm…
I have been referring to my current reading as my “Easter book,” which seems almost creepily unfitting. But i hardly buy books new, so it seems special, and i got a bookly gift card for Easter from my folks, with which i bought this:
I’m on page 13 – not even out of the introduction – so i may be in no position to say this, but: go read this book! It is the sort of subject that makes me so hot i lose coherence, so let me simply read you an excerpt,
What has changed since the collapse of Jim Crow has less to do with the basic structure of our society than with the language we use to justify it. In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. So we don’t. Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color “criminals” and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind. Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination–employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service–are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.
I’ve come a bit out of my weird hermit-shell recently, but i haven’t shown it here at all largely because i am becoming a bit engrossed in the magnitude of these sorts of real problems.
One thing makes me a little hopeful: the reason i bought this book is that when i looked to check it out from the library there were 5 holds on it – and the library had not even received it yet.