Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow” will be speaking at the Justice on Trial Film Festival at Loyola Marymount University on Oct 20th.
Hannah Petrie: Even though the rates of drug-dealing and drug-using occurs equally among different races – (think weed here) whites deal to whites, blacks deal to blacks, Hispanics to Hispanics – it’s the people of color who get busted. And once you’re labeled a felon – and denied access to employment, housing, and other rights — your chances of returning to a straight and normal life are extremely low. It is a system designed to keep felons felons.
Peter Harris is interested in knowing how Black men define happiness. Says Harris, “Black men were brought to America to make others happy and then die! Thomas Jefferson didn’t have Black men in mind when he drafted the Declaration of Independence. A happy Black man, given our American journey, is the ultimate avant garde. . .”
Michelle Alexander: The uncomfortable truth, however, is that crime rates do not explain the sudden and dramatic mass incarceration of African Americans during the past 30 years. Crime rates have fluctuated over the last few decades — they are currently are at historical lows — but imprisonment rates have consistently soared. Quintupled, in fact. And the vast majority of that increase is due to the War on Drugs.