Author Topic: AM I MY BROTHER'S KEEPER by David Evans  (Read 1311 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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AM I MY BROTHER'S KEEPER by David Evans
« on: January 04, 2010, 05:50:05 am »
In three recently-published books African American scholars address the pervasive ensnarement of black males in the U. S. criminal justice system.  These books by economics professor Glenn C. Loury of Brown University and law professors Paul Butler of George Washington University and Anthony C. Thompson of New York University provide the mantle of scholastic analysis to a shameful problem that many of us have known, suspected or intuited for years.  What these scholars offer, however, are chilling descriptions of the seemingly irreparable "collateral damage" done to an inmate's prospects for self-betterment, his family, his neighborhood and national group-image by a legal system in which more than half of those jailed or imprisoned are African Americans.  In fact, during the period of apartheid, the U. S. imprisoned seven times more black men, per capita, than did South Africa!

The following link is to a combined review of these books in The New York Review of Books (11/19/09) by David Cole:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/23382

After reading Mr. Cole's review, I was reminded of a response to the daunting Biblical question "Am I my brother's keeper?" that I shared a few months ago:

We must either keep our brother or he will assuredly keep us.  He will keep us in debt, e.g., state correctional system budgets run into billions of dollars with California topping them all at $10,000,000,000 (2007)!  He will keep us in fear (many homes in our communities look like jails, with their locks and bars).  He has already driven too many Americans to believe that we can imprison our way out of the problem even if it renders African Americans an ethnic group without functional males between fifteen and forty.  Lest we think this is a problem afflicting only the black “underclass,” we need only observe the growing male/female imbalance in college, graduate and professional schools.  Could this portend a single-gendered black middle class in our future?