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Cracking the Racism Iceberg

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Deb Rostorfer

on 9 December 2013

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Transcript of Cracking the Racism Iceberg

Cracking the Racism Iceberg:
Mass Incarceration
is Racialized Social Control

MASS INCARCERATION/
PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Action Plan Part II:
Gaining Knowledge
Where are all of our black and brown young men? Erin's Cook County Youth Detention Center visits
NIA's Prison Industrial Complex Collective
What happens after someone leaves prison? Conversations with Ceasefire
Action Plan Part I: Observation: What's wrong with this picture?
Action Plan Part III: Participation
Calls to Action
How can we make a difference as a community? As future ministers?
Opportunities to witness restorative justice with Enlace, Ceasefire, Murals, peace walks, and peace circles
Teaching the end of white privilege
What happens when you preach this truth to white privilege?
Loving our Enemies: ending institutional racism in America
Fight against minimum sentencing in Illinois
INJUSTICE:
THE PROBLEM TODAY:


The National Situation:
-
2 million people incarcerated
– highest rate in the world (6)
- Over
7 million incarcerated, on probation, or on parole (
59)
- Highest rate of imprisonment of racial minorities in the world (6)
- 1/3 of black males are in control by the penal system
(9)
- More black males incarcerated today than were enslaved in 1850
- More black men disenfranchised than in 1870 (175)
- ¾ of those imprisoned for drugs are Black and Latino even though white people are statistically more likely to use and sell drugs (96)
- 2/3 of those detained - annual income less than $12,000 (151)
- U.S. crime rates below international norms, but incarcerates at 6 to 10 times more than most industrialized nations (8)

Why does the U.S. have 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's incarcerated population?
What about the fact that most prisoners are black or brown?
What does mass incarceration pretend to solve but actually do?
Who is affected and how?
How does this system play out in Illinois? Chicago? Our local communities?
"Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere." - King

Proposed Goal 1: To gain personal awareness of the relationship between mass incarceration and racial, social, economic, legal, and political structures in society

Activites:
Read and discuss
The New Jim Crow
by Michelle Alexander
Research Illinois and Chicago Incarceration rates
Investigate penalties for crimes in Chicago

LOOKING AT THE STATISTICS IS IT JUST THAT PEOPLE IN THE U.S. DURING THE LAST 40 YEARS COMMITTED MORE CRIME?
DO COMMUNITIES OF COLOR JUST HAVE MORE CRIME AND USE AND SELL MORE DRUGS?
Main claims of Michelle Alexander:
- Mass incarceration in the U.S. today is the third chapter in the history of slavery.
- It is a form of racialized social control that came into effect after the civil rights movement.
- The War on Drugs was actually used as a war on people of color, disguised in “colorblind” rhetoric.
- Racialized incarceration maintains a legalized undercaste of black and brown people.

Timeline of the War on Drugs
HOW DID WE GET TO WHERE WE ARE TODAY WITH MASS INCARCERATION AS THE INSTITUTIONALIZED NEW JIM CROW?

1986 – allowed death penalty for some drug crimes, much harsher penalties for crack cocaine associated with blacks than for cocaine associated with whites (52)
Crack cocaine punished 100x more harshly than powder cocaine
(109)
1988 – Willie Horton Ad
1988 – BYRNE PROGRAM: ECONOMIC INCENTIVE!
(72)
Cash grants
Free training and military equipment
SWAT Teams – militarization of police forces
1988 – “Anti-Drug Abuse Act”
drug related crime now had civil punishments
•eviction from public housing
eliminated from federal benefits including student loans
expanded use of death penalty for drug-related offenses
new mandatory minimums for drug-related offenses (5 years)

Stop-and-Frisk
Late 1960s/1970s:
- Segregationists developed a racially sanitized rhetoric of “cracking down on crime” and “law and order” (42)
- Took advantage of resentment of poor whites about gains of Civil Rights (56)
- Pitted poor whites and poor blacks against each other: “intensified the view among many whites that the condition of life for the disadvantaged – particularly for disadvantaged blacks- is the responsibility of those afflicted, and not the responsibility of the larger society.” (46)
1968: Terry vs. Ohio – “Stop-and-Frisk"
1971 – Nixon’s “War on Drugs”
1972: Drug roundups: a few hundred raids (74)

1982: 300,000 prisoners; illegal drug use on the decline (5)
1982 – “WAR ON DRUGS” declared by Reagan Administration
“THE WAR ON DRUGS, CLOAKED IN RACE NEUTRAL LANGUAGE, OFFERED WHITES OPPOSED TO RACIAL REFORM A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPRESS THEIR HOSTILITY TOWARDS BLACKS AND BLACK PROGRESS, WITHOUT BEING EXPOSED TO THE CHARGE OF RACISM.” (53)
Image of “welfare queen” = “lazy, greedy, black ghetto mother” (48)
WARTIME PROPAGANDA BEGINS
Money to law enforcement and FBI increased by millions; drug rehabilitation and education was reduced by millions (49)
1984 – OPERATION PIPELINE
: Police trained to use “consent” searches and pretext stops; huge cash grants for roundups
1984 – Forfeiture Laws
: Police allowed to claim assets from drug roundups
1985 – crack “crisis” hit
Media campaign
: Sensationalized crack cocaine in inner-city neighborhoods – black inner-city neighborhoods impacted by globalization and deindustrialization

1990s-2000s
1986-1990s
1980-1985
Goals and Activities:
GOAL: To gain knowledge through conversation with people and communities affected by the penal system and interact with organizations advocating restorative justice
ACTIVITIES:
Visiting young people, parents, staff at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center
Project NIA conversations
Goals and Activities
Goal: Bring awareness to the problem, advocate for restorative justice

Activities:
- Preach about restorative justice
- Participate in restorative justice peace circles for incarcerated youth.
- Create lesson plans for a curriculum that advocates reconciliation and restorative justice among a social community of focus.
(Ex. Back of the Yards).
- Advocate for a political response which offers an alternative to incarceration
Wartime Propaganda:
Massive media campaign to exploit images of "welfare moms" and "crack crisis"
Media images of black "crack babies"
Impact on Illinois and Chicago
Illinois:
90% of those sentenced to prison in Illinois are for drug-related offenses (184)
From 1985 to 2005: Increase of 2000% of people incarcerated for drug crimes
DePaul Study in 2000: Of 98 professions requiring licenses, 57 restrict ex-felons
Routinely denied public housing and welfare benefits (185)
2001: 20,000 more black men in state prisons than in state colleges
KKK - intended to “join the battle against illegal drugs” (54)
1994
- Clinton crime bill - trying to get swing votes of poor whites
“Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act”
TANF – Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
Lifetime ban for anyone convicted of a drug offense (including marijuana possession)
Public housing able to exclude because of criminal record
1996 - 30,000+ drug raids (74)
2001 - 40,000+ drug raids (74)
2001 – Alexander vs. Sandoval: Supreme Court supported racial profiling
maintained through racial indifference not racial hostility and an institutionalized system in place (198)


Cook County Juvenile Detention Center
largest in nation
ages 10-17
$600 per child/day
predominantly black and brown boys
JTDC:

- coercion and confusion of system
- already leave and live with stigma of “criminal” label before they are 18
- express self-hate and belief that they are unlovable
- belief that they have the option of being in prison or 6 feet underground
- many have talked about their fathers, brothers and cousins who are incarcerated
- all speak of losing loved ones to gun violence
Restorative Justice:
Supporting victims, perpetrators, and communities
No mas violencia!
COMMUNITY!
We have to do this together!
- we need widespread political consciousness and widespread strategic activism similar to that of the Civil Rights movement bringing down Jim Crow (15)
- multi-racial, bottom-up, resistance movement; whites are affected by mass incarceration too (200)
Chicago
55% of black male population are current or ex-felons
80% of adult black male workforce in Chicago formerly incarcerated (184)
Young black men in Chicago more likely to go to prison than college (185)
70% of black men 18-45 in North Lawndale have criminal record
60% drug offenses (191)
Bill SB1342
Heavily pushed by Rahm Emmanuel
Increase from 1 yr to 3 yrs
4,000 more inmates
Cost $1 billion over 10 years
Mandatory minimums Do Not deter crime, they simply put more people in prison!

Fighting Minimum Sentencing in Illinois
- Slavery (exploitation)
- confusion-transition
- Jim Crow (discrimination)
- confusion-transition
- Mass Incarceration (marginalization) ...

- “I came to see that mass incarceration in the United States had, in fact, emerged as a stunningly comprehensive and well disguised system of racialized social control that functions in a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow.” (4)

Patterns of racialized social control
militarization of police through Byrne program $ incentives
We have to address the denial, deal with the racial component of the problem and tell the truth about what is going on
Truth-telling
Multiracial resistance
End the War on Drugs and Financial Incentives to Incarceration
Consciousness Raising
Effects of Mass Incarceration
legalized, institutionalized, racialized undercaste
EMPLOYMENT
FEDERAL AID
Ineligible for public housing for at least 5 years (141)
Lifetime discrimination in private and public markets (141)
Without housing, children can be taken away (143)
Nearly ¼ of those in homeless shelters once incarcerated (145)

HOUSING

Private employers can discriminate based on past criminal conviction or arrest record.
"Check the box” on applications (145)
70% of offenders lack a high school diploma 50% unable to read (147)
Debt and prison fees (152)
Some parole requires maintaining employment
5 year minimum removal from TANF (153)
Permanent ineligibility for drugs (153)
Ineligible for federal student loans

Prohibited from voting while incarcerated (except in Maine and Vermont)
Many states do not allow parolees to vote.
Some states prohibit voting for extended period of punishment, including lifetime disenfranchisement. (153)

VOTING RIGHTS
Black and brown people segregated from society in prisons (190)
Prisons often hidden and placed in rural areas (190)
Perpetuates and deepens racial segregation and isolation of poor communities of color (191)

LEGALIZED RACIAL SEGREGATION
Many excluded from juries because of label as ex-felon (189)
EXCLUSION FROM JURIES
“Crimnalblackman” (192)
racial stigma of “criminal” divides rather than unites black communities (196)
RACIAL STIGMA AND BLACKNESS OF CRIME
Theological Faith Based Response
The vineyard of the Lord of heavenly forces
is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah
are the plantings in which God delighted.
God expected justice, but there was bloodshed; righteousness, but there was a cry of distress!
Reflection and Action
"Considering the ways in which Bonhoeffer and King disrupted the status quo of their time... We [must] approach one another's work and lives [in] care filled listening, observation, and engagement. This takes time, energy, resources, fortitude, and a stout will to attempt the hard work of being pilgrims on the journey with others"
(Bonhoeffer and King, Townes pg 16-17).
Inspiration
"All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I-it" relationship for an "I-thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things" (King, Letter from a Birmingham Jail).
Education
“Costly grace is... costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: 'Ye were bought at a price', and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.” (The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer).
Isaiah 5:1-7
'The key terms of this critique of society are "justice" and "righteousness"... whether employed singly, in parallelism, or together as a hendiadys. Used by itself, [justice] can refer to divine attribute... a legal stipulation... or a judicial system in general. When used in tandem with [righteousness], the basic connotation is of a society in which the rights of all, including the most marginalized −−− the destitute, orphans and widows --- are respected'
(Isaiah 1-39, Blenkkinsopp pg 108).
Isaiah
Gather
As we come together, Christ is present in our gathering. We acknowledge one another and the many ways in which Christ is present within us.
Reading of Isaiah 5:1-7
One line per person.
Listen for the uniqueness of each other's voice.
Be aware of each other's presence.
Listen for commonalities and differences within our voices.
Questions for reflection
What are some things that bring us together as scripture has done today?
What are some of our differences that we ought to be aware of?
How do these things which bring us together, allow us to see the suffering in others?
Theological Reflection Through Conversation
Groups of three to four people will explore the ways in which God's Interaction with Judah changes throughout the text.
Group 3
Isaiah 5:7
Why has God's interaction with God's people changed?
Group 2
Isaiah 5:5-6
How is God's interaction with God's people related with to the previous verses?
Group 1
Isaiah 4:1-4
What is God's interaction with God's people like?
Engage
Theological Reflection Conclusions
and Engagement Question
God provided protection and care to Judah.
God is displeased due to Judah's failure to produce the fruit of Justice and Righteousness.
God removes such care and protection due to Judah's injustice and inequity.
Injustice is something that God despises.
God is with the victims of injustice.
Exegetical Insight
Exegetical Background reveals that:
People who became widows and orphans due the death of a sibling in the line of Battle, were overlooked and their needs were neglected.
The rights of the Innocent were taken away through bribes and a corrupt judicial system, among many other injustices.
The Questions is, can this be happening in our society?
Let's look back into history and find out.
Past
Today
We listened to portions of the audio book "The New JimCrow" by Michelle Alexander a Civil Rights Lawyer, which included the following quotes:
"Never did I consider the possibility that a New Racial Cast System was operating in this country"
"I clung to the notion that the evils of Jim Crow are behind us."
"The War on Drugs is the new Jim Crow"
What we learned:
A New [Racial Cast] System had been developed and implemented swiftly and it was largely invisible (TNJ, MA).
It targeted color minorities and deprived them from basic human rights, such as; Housing, voting, welfare benefits, education, among many more.
Commission
As we share a sense of Justice and Righteousness with God, what are the ways in which we are commissioned to respond?
Faith Based Response
Prayer
Fasting
Sermons
Bible Studies
Interfaith dialogue
Community Based Response
Marches
Civil Rights Advocacy
Connect and Partner with Community Based Agencies who are involved, such as:
Community Renewal and F.O.R.C.E.
Full transcript