One of the most critical, yet often overlooked aspects of poverty in this nation is the escalating incarceration rate of American citizens. The Justice Policy Institute notes that since 1970, the number of incarcerated Americans has grown nearly eight-fold to a total of more than 2.2 million people today. In addition, nearly five million more American adults are currently caught up in the criminal justice system through probation or parole. This precipitous spike in the U.S. prison population coincides with this country’s war on drugs and is representative of a proliferation in America’s poor, which now counts more than 46 million people among its ranks.
The link between poverty and contact with the criminal justice system is well established. Continue Reading →
By Ron Daniels
The Christmas season provides an excellent opportunity for Africans in America to engage in a season of resistance. The corporate retail establishment in this country is heavily dependent upon this season for consumers to participate in a frenzy of buying to buttress their bottom line. The unofficial kick-off of the “shop until you drop” season is the Friday after Thanksgiving, which is called Black Friday. This is the day corporate retail giants begin an all-out effort to induce, seduce, bribe and otherwise “persuade” consumers to buy enough goods to enable companies to “break into the black” — achieve profitability for the year. Unfortunately, the sons and daughters of formerly enslaved Africans in America, who complain about the oppressive conditions of stop-and-frisk, joblessness, the War on Drugs, crime, violence, fratricide, and the murder of unarmed Black men such as Trayvon Martin and Black women such as Renisha McBride are not immune to the seductive appeal of the Christmas season. Continue Reading →
As the weather begins to improve and we plan for all the cookouts, graduations, holidays and birthday parties, one thing that will not be forgotten is the drinks. It would not be a party without them, right? Some of us cannot wait for happy hour to start right now so we can go and get two-for-ones. Do not have any shame in your game. Many of us have been there, needing something to take the edge off from a stressful day. Continue Reading →
“Police!” The shout from outside the front door was followed by the house shaking violently from a stampede of police exploding through the door. I was a terrified four-year-old in Spiderman pajamas staring at high-powered assault rifles aimed at me and my mother. After ransacking our home, the police soon realized that they had raided the wrong apartment. It was 1982, the year President Reagan declared a “War on Drugs.” The war became a tool of a discriminatory and oppressive social control system. Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow (New Press, 2010) is a compelling analysis of how the war on drugs resulted in the mass incarceration of African Americans, which led to second-class citizenship. Continue Reading →