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Begs for Restorative Justice

privilege

Tuesday’s New York Times carried a thoughtfully written piece by Princeton professor Tali Mendelberg. Entitled “America Failed to Prepare for Disaster Long before Trump Took Over,” Mendelberg contends that our health system was challenged long before 2017.

The very same thing can be said of other issues facing America, including the socio-economic and related circumstances facing people of color and other minorities. When analysts began reporting the disproportionate impact COVID-19 was having on minority Americans, many asked, “How could this have happened?”

Privilege and oppression are baked into American society. Anything but new, the dynamic is historic. And it’s time to reverse course.

Here’s one answer. Minority Americans don’t participate fully in society because privilege and oppression are embedded pervasively and deeply. Opportunities for some and restrictions for others are found in land ownership, housing, education, health care, jobs, public services, criminal justice, and beyond.

Privilege and oppression have become America’s silent partner—always there, but mostly away from public sight until crises hit. In 2015, African Americans sat atop Louisiana rooftops calling for help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In 2020, COVID-19 is having a deadly impact on minority communities. And those are just two examples.

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Privilege and oppression are baked into American society. Anything but new, the dynamic is historic. And it’s time to reverse course.

That call accentuates the importance of a new book, Institutional Racism and Restorative Justice (Routledge, 2020), written by Diane Carpenter Emling, professor and academic dean emeritus at Northwestern Michigan College. In her book, Diane helps us understand the problem and, then, walks us through important and viable solutions.

Listen to Dr. Emling talk about her book at my podcast, Under the Radar. Click here to tune in.

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Frank Fear

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