Ava DuVernay’s 13th Is The Only Recent Release You Absolutely, Definitely MUST See » VSB

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Ava DuVernay’s 13th Is The Only Recent Release You Absolutely, Definitely MUST See

Netflix

 

Last week, Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th premiered on Netflix. The film documents America’s history of incarceration since the passing of the 13th Amendment and examines the political prowess that has precipitated our country’s prison industrial complex. It’s a visceral dissection of how slavery has evolved from a barbaric labor system to a privatized structure of extortion. Complete with archival footage, interviews with scholars, activists (a few formerly incarcerated), educators, politicians, and statistics, DuVernay provides a necessary narrative that is enlightening as much as it is infuriating. Here are a few of my thoughts:

1. Ava DuVernay Is A Shero

There’s no other way I can put this. Ava DuVernay is a gotdamn super(s)hero. There isn’t anything this woman can’t do, cinematically. I’ve been a fan of her since I stumbled across I Will Follow, and the care, intelligence, and craftsmanship DuVernay exercises in her films is awe inspiring. She understands when and how to evoke emotion, utilizing timely imagery, and dialogue to tell incredibly nuanced stories about Black people. Her treatment of 13th is no different with the finished product serving as a well-seasoned, knowledgeable observation of how our country continues to indomitably disenfranchise people of color courtesy of the very Amendment that secured our freedom.

2. This Is The Context To Black Lives Matter

One of the strongest attributes of this film is that it provides context to the ubiquitousness of police brutality within our country. Police abuse of power was not created in vacuum; it is a product of the system that employs it. Law enforcement is merely a fabric of a larger construct that is predicated on over criminalizing citizens who reside in impoverished neighborhoods; mainly people of color. The film provides pertinent information about how our Executive and Legislative branches of government effectively financed and incentivized municipal police forces to raid Black neighborhoods without cause, justification, or consequence by inciting fear with clever buzz words such as “Public Enemy Number One,” “Just Say No,” and “Super Predator.”

3. The Music Is Phenomenal

The soundtrack throughout the film is nothing short of amazing. Naturally, it’s mostly hip-hop, as rap music has a distinguished history of detailing the many transgressions of our justice system. From The Roots’ “Criminal”, Killer Mike’s “Reagan”, and Dead Prez’s “Behind Enemy Line” to Nas’ “Last Words” and Nina Simone’s “Work Song”, each track beautifully compliments the film’s central narrative. Common’s bars during the closing credits — presumably written just for the purpose of this documentary — serves as a catharsis to the film’s heavy subject matter.

4. Prison Isn’t Just A Place For Criminals, It’s Also For The Poor

While the film mostly investigates the racial biases that have shaped our country’s flawed penal system, it also addresses another prevalent issue: the vilification of innocent Black people. The most disturbing example is Kalief Browder, a Bronx teenager who was imprisoned without conviction for three years for allegedly stealing a backpack. During his incarnation, Kalief was put in solitary confinement and was routinely beaten, both by fellow inmates and guards tasked with protecting him. Upon his release, Crowder told his grim story before tragically taking his own life. The unnecessary trauma this young man endured is heart-wrenching. It’s a tragedy. But it’s all too common. Mainly because there are innocent people who don’t have enough money to fund their defense. Plus, with police exercising “Stop & Frisk” practices, and the emergence of mandatory minimums, too many people are pleading out for crimes they didn’t commit. Basically, it’s either you plead guilty because you don’t want to go away for the mandatory minimum, or you seek a trial and stay locked up because you can’t afford bail.

5. I Wish This Was A Series

When I watch or read information that I’m prone to agree with, I tend to become acquiescent about it. I frequently ask questions like, Am I exercising my own cognitive biases? or Did I find this compelling because it was factual (which it was) or because I’m Black (which I also am)? This stream of consciousness also leads me to conjure prospective arguments from those who are prone to oppose the information that I just absorbed — mainly, White people. One quarrel that I can easily anticipate is the “If Black people don’t want to go to prison maybe they shouldn’t commit crimes” argument. It’s similar to the assertion that “If Black people don’t want to get shot by police they should just submit to authority.”

I’m not going to waste time examining the “prisons are are still majority White” debate, because, well, that’s just dumb. Miss me with the bullshit. Thus, to completely eradicate this asinine claim I wish this documentary was apart of a series that included other films about how institutional racism has shaped our society. In this proposed series, I wish there existed a film that examined how discriminatory housing practices and predatory real estate developers effectively created “ghettos” and reasons why they occupy so much crime, such as the crippling economic decay, nutritional deficiency, and grossly underfunded school systems. That would be dope. And POWERFUL!!!

6. Bill Clinton Wasn’t Shit

Most of my childhood I frequently overheard adults state that Bill Clinton was one of the best Presidents for Black people in American history. I distinctly remember comedians across the country joking about about how Clinton was the closest thing to a Black President this country would ever see — before this smooth-talking brother from Hawaii came along — mostly because he played the saxophone and slept with an intern. But since I’ve grown old enough to know better I can’t imagine why someone would ever fix their mouth to say some shit like that. President Bill Clinton wasn’t great for Black folks. At all. Especially not after he passed the 1994 crime bill (or the 1996 welfare reform bill). He was a Conservative Democrat whose policies did little to help the advancement of African-Americans. The main reason many Black folks voted for President Clinton wasn’t out of admiration, but rather sheer desperation; African-Americans didn’t want four more years of a Republican regime that sought to disenfranchise them while White folks got rich. (Yay, capitalism!) Aside from appointing four Black Cabinet secretaries, staunchly supporting affirmative action, and befriending Vernon Jordan, I’m not sure Bill Clinton did much of anything else to help people of color.

7. Black Folks Should Really Be Paid Some Gotdamn Reparations

I’m not interested in after-the-fact apologies or inconsequential admissions of guilt. Y’all can keep that shit. The only remedy that would even come close to making this country whole (for the first time EVER) is to give reparations to Black folks for all the free labor our ancestors have provided to this nation’s economy. Seriously, just pay us. Or, at the very least, fund our pursuit of higher education, either trade schools or collegiate studies, by providing full scholarships to every Black student upon acceptance into the institution of their choice. Then, retroactively pay all student loans for Black students who have attended college. It doesn’t even matter if they graduated. If they got student loan debt, clear it. Period. It’s a long shot from properly compensating African-Americans for all the trauma we’ve endured for generations, but at least it’s a start.

8. Capitalism Is A Bitch

In what I’m sure will only aid conspiracy theorists’ claim in the existence of the Illuminati, 13th exposes the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative organization composed of lawmakers and corporations that seeks to push forward initiatives of its elite members. The organization, whose membership includes the likes of AT&T, FedEx, and ExxonMobil, is tasked with influencing, in some case outright writing, legislation for conservative politicians. It sounds as cynical as you think. It takes lobbying to a completely different level. And they’ve been around for more than 40 years. It’s a stunning example of why capitalism will always trump human rights.

9. We Now Have Another White Person With Cookout Privileges 

Kevin Gannon is the latest White person to be invited to Black barbecues everywhere. Namely because he’s woke as hell, acknowledges the existence of institutional racism, and its role in shaping our society. He joins Greg Popovich, Megan Rapinoe, and Ben & Jerry. Gon’ head and fix y’all some ribs and potato salad. (It’s cool. Aunt Rhonda made it.)

Morgan McDaniel

Morgan McDaniel is a freelance writer originally from Detroit, but lives in Atlanta because apparently that's where Black people are supposed to live out their dreams. When he's not devouring delicious food like it's in short supply or suffering through a Lions game, you can catch him in his feelings at flyerrrr.com.

  • Mr. Mooggyy

    I posted this before, and I will post this again. What Ava did (for me) was take this video that Romany Malco did on Youtube, and expound on the topics. The 13th was informative, well put-together and ……just brilliantly produced. Now, I know it’s not new for a lot of woke folk! But this was produced for the masses. So, it’s my hope that the masses watch this and understand what’s going on!

    • DreamDeferred

      Many of the masses already know and just choose to remain actively ignorant.

      • ThatChickCool

        You’d be surprised how much they don’t. It’s one thing to know something in the abstract, another to see it, put people, places, and names to it to humanize it. It’s mind boggling sometimes.

        • Mr. Mooggyy

          Exactly! They are so far removed from the situation, it’s like it doesn’t exist!

  • DreamDeferred

    While I agree that reparations are extremely warranted, any version of Congress in this country is unlikely to grant it; black citizens do not have that kind of political pressure. The granting of free education and retroactive payment of student loans is a start and something we should all demand no matter how long it takes. Reinstatement of full citizens rights for non-violent offenses for released felons should also be non-negotiable demand. These would be tangible start on the road to reparations for slavery and centuries of discriminatory policies condoned by federal and state governments.

  • Off-Topic: I forgot who asked me but the title of the miniseries regarding the Haitian Revolution is called Toussaint Louverture. It’s 2 episodes and 3 hours in total.

    • Negro Libre

      Which network?

      • France 2. This was back in 2012 though.

    • Jennifer

      That was me. Thanks!

  • That young guy who went to rikers over bogus charges and then committed suicide is heart breaking, its an amazing documentary.

    • Mr. Mooggyy

      Jay-Z is supposed to do a docu-series on Kalief Browder! I am interested to see how that turns out!

  • United_Dreamer

    “Seriously, just pay us. Or, at the very least, fund our pursuit of higher education, either trade schools or collegiate studies, by providing full scholarships to every Black student upon acceptance into the institution of their choice.”

    I agree with the first. The second is just something they can just remove when racism is deemed by them to be over. Of course you’re still left with the troublesome issue of keeping hold of the payment. I mean 40 acres and a mule was supposed to be the repayment but they still managed to take it back. Personally I think they should give the entire slave holding south to black people. Create a reverse Jim Crow that denies white people the vote and let Democracy find it’s own path to enlightenment. The racists can return to where they want. The others can live in peace…

  • Mizwest

    This documentary had and still has me rethinking everything. It was well put together and easy to follow. I’m for reparations more so than I used to be….it may not happen in my generation, but I’d be willing to fight for it amongst everything else we deserve as a people.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      We’re not gonna get it. Getting reparations is going to be like a college grad looking at starter jobs:

      Starter Job:

      Must have 8 years of experience, knowledge of the following proprietary company software, must have worked in a management position 6 of the 8 years

      Reparations requirements:

      Documented DNA linkage to one of the original slaves that came over, a picture of them at the family reunion, identical facial features, etc.

      • Kas

        Signed, notarized letter from Slave attesting that you are his or her descendant.

      • Negro Libre

        I think black people can reparations, I just think a certain amount of leverage, plus a good ad campaign over a couple of years can make it so.

        However, that being said, I’ve always felt it was more practical to go after Jim Crow Reparations, as well as getting reparations for those who were killed or noosed before they could get their constitutional right to a “fair” trial.

        Alas, it seems many black people are so interested in winning the war, that they forget to focus on all the battles needed to be won in the mean time.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          “Alas, it seems many black people are so interested in winning the war,
          that they forget to focus on all the battles needed to be won in the
          mean time.”

          I’m Sigma_Since93 and I approve this message.

        • Mizwest

          I agree

        • I agree on Jim Crow reparations. For one, it wouldn’t require figuring out who was and wasn’t a slave. Two, a lot of the documentation around redlining and education disparities exists and is readily available.

      • raul

        I don’t get the hand waiving away of the logistics. I mean sure black folks ain’t going to mind if the occasional fresh off the boat African immigrant gets in on the action but what happens when Rachel Dozzel shows up for her free college education?

        • Mizwest

          Stop it!!! LOL I met her not to long ago…I kept staring like weirdo cause I see what is clearly a white woman with braids in a headwrap with a newborn. The only thing I can say is her backside may have fooled them into thinking she’s black, but thassit.

          • raul

            Well yeah even in the pictures she looks like a tan white woman with curly hair. But there are no doubt some white folks with token amounts of African DNA. And the current and quite poplular standard is self identification.

          • Does she legitimately have a donk? I do know some White women with legit no BS donks, but they aren’t fooling anyone about their background.

            • Mizwest

              It was legit, I followed her from behind before asking if she was Rachel. *Don’t judge me*

              • NonyaB?

                LOL, how did she answer and what was your response?

          • NonyaB?

            But how d’you know she didn’t buy it? I mean, her crazy IS a dedicated one, so I could see her arranging for donk installation along with along with weave/fro-ish textured hair and fake tan.

        • L8Comer

          Birth certificates

        • brothaskeeper
        • YeaSoh

          Is black female on here license? QTNA

      • Digital_Underground

        I’m not holding out on reparations either. But if the US government is dumb enough to open the door for private citizens to sue governments for past wrong doing then who knows.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          Black farmers have been waiting for their reparations for years. It’s on the books they should get it yet they have not.

          http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/15/black-farmers-settlement-money/1991735/

          I’m not holding my breath.

          • I actually remember (from the stopped clock is right twice a day files) that Breitbart.com stumbled onto how the reparations program was being robbed blind, while claimed from actual Black farmers got denied. One of the all-time weirdest stories I’ve ever read.

      • Mizwest

        That’s true, but I’ve been told that things like that (ridiculous requirements for entry level positions) can be used as a scare tactic. If you have the courage and the confidence in your abilities, you still may have a chance at an audience.

        • Kas

          My personal opinion, it’s not what you know it’s who you know regardless of race/color.

          • Kylroy

            Just that who you know is highly correlated with your race/color.

            • Kas

              Absolutely. Affirmative action = bad. Legacy admittance and nepotism is just fine though. My point is being a highly educated person of color doesn’t automatically come with a middle/upper middle income.

          • QueenRaven23

            I tell the students I work with that everyday, especially when they ask the question about getting a job. I let them know, you’re potentially going to one of the best schools in world. It’s a mix of what you know and who you know. I’m personally learning this the hard way.

      • pls

        I think the only reason they won’t do it is because they’d have to admit all black people didn’t get here on a boat with Englishmen. Idky they feel the need to keep perpetuating this lie.

      • The thing is that I literally have the receipts from my slave ancestors, along with access to the necessary paperwork to establish a chain of descendants all the way down to me. I would still have my doubts.

      • YeaSoh

        Nah, later for that. All black people in this country get treated poorly, they all get reparations. Not just that, you start forcing people to prove lineage that means you can also set amounts based on “how black” they are or deep their slave ancestry runs. Nah uh. It can get way to complicated and shifty.

        I say, much like when the finance crisis hit and the bail out took place. You get money back at tax time. You file and send in a copy of your license – which shows your race btw -you get a check and a deed. The End.

  • Julian Green

    Okay; you’ve convinced me to watch this.

  • Mr. Mooggyy

    I mentioned this in the thread already but here’s the link for folks.

    http://www.attn.com/stories/11994/jay-z-producing-kalief-browders-story-in-docuseries-on-tv

  • PinkRose

    Educational NOT monetery reparations, don’t want to make the (white) Cadillac dealerships rich.

    • Val

      Lol @ PR being PR.

      • PinkRose

        PR keeping it 100! ;)

      • Kas

        Classic PR

      • Hibiscus???

        I just now got this, I was reading it as Puerto Rico being Puerto Rico. And then I thought maybe you meant public relations. Lisssen…..

    • Kas

      So you are assuming that most of us would waste our money on frivolous purchases? I would say that we can’t on one hand say how great we are as a people but then assume most of us would act in not our own best interests. Regardless, making money only available for education too narrow of a way to provide reparations.

      • L8Comer

        Yeah, I’m not going back to school… now if I can get reimbursed though, I’d take that lol. But that leaves a lot of people out

        • YeaSoh

          L8 get out of my d@mn head

          • L8Comer

            ?? YeasSoh!! :)

      • Brandon Allen

        I just think cash is too fleeting of an asset. I think getting a whole bunch of services/education/land for free would work.

        • YeaSoh

          Cash is only fleeting is you allow it to be and of course it depends on how much cash we’re talking about. I like the land idea and I think higher education will work for some. Services need examples.

          My biggest issue is everyone throws education out there usually referring to collegiate level for reparations but Y’ALL the issue starts at the grade school level. Like for real, that’s where the attention needs to be if we’re going to talk education.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        Gimme the cash, or 40 acres and the equivalent of a mule.

        I know plenty of folks with mortgage payments on their minds, and they ain’t making money.

        Saw a programming sister at DuPont Circle on Wednesday wearing a sandwich board talking bout how she know LISP and ASP. She has the education, but still gotta be in them streets trying to drum up a job?

        College Education != answer

        • PinkRose

          Show me something other than death that’s 100%.

          Education is how most Blacks are able to live middle class. #FACTS.

          Know how many unemployed programmers I know that are Black? NONE. And I program too, so I know a few.

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            Cash in hand better than forced education. The American economy underemploys most of its college educated workforce. That trend is getting worse as time goes on.

            40 acres of fertile soil, access to water, and the requisite equipment to till it would put our reparated folks in a position to not have to depend on other folks for employment or sustenance.

            Most degrees are useless outside of large scale and majority controlled institutions that can use you.

            It’s not like our education teaches us to be actually independent

            • Imagine if you got 40 acres of land in Texas and you got some oil under that there land.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                We probably did and the Klan ran us off or I could see eminent domain or this area is being rezoned so you can’t drill being used.

          • QueenRaven23

            Programming/programmers primarily in bioinformatics or just across the board?

            • PinkRose

              ….

            • PinkRose

              Most of the programmers I know do so in the context of other fields like Software Engineering or Data Science. I know quite a few (mostly Asians) using programming for biological/clinical applications as in Informatics, but I only know 5 that are Black women, personally.

              • QueenRaven23

                Oh okay. I know you’re doing research and I connect with people that are in Bioinformatics and and Data Analytics as well.

                • PinkRose

                  Really? In what way? If you prefer to comment privately, send me an email at smartpinkrose@gmail.com

                  • QueenRaven23

                    Just in education in admissions. The school I work with offer graduate programs in these areas and I talk to a lot of professionals in the field, as well as people that want to get into bioinfo or data analytics based on salary and potential growth.

                    • PinkRose

                      The salary/growth potential in the field is phenomenal! But the competition from Asians is also phenomenal, and many of these Asian groups (in academic settings or on jobs) aren’t all that friendly to letting Black folks “in”, at least that’s what I’ve seen and experienced.

      • Mizwest

        I’m with Kas on this one, my only interest would be to fund my own businesses and become an entrepreneur of sorts investing in other black businesses.

      • PinkRose

        Want the most significant way Black folks don’t act in their own best interest?The diabetes/obesity epidemic in the Black community, especially after age ~35.

        • Val

          Come on, PR, that’s the whole country.

          • PinkRose

            That’s true, but I don’t care about the whole country, I care about Black folks ie health disparities. Plus, that doesn’t make what I say incorrect.

            • Val

              Yes it does because you make it seem like a Black pathology is causing it instead of an American one.

              • Kylroy

                You can use this to argue for reparations as education rather than cash payouts: handing a large sum of money to people who aren’t used to managing it on that scale frequently ends poorly, regardless of the color of the recipient.

                • Mizwest

                  On that note, rumor has it that they are going to start teaching Financial Education in Washington Schools.

                  • Conrad Bess

                    Not sure how it is south of the 49th, but I remember in high school (mid 90s) in Canada, we actually had business math. A friend of mine used to crack on me about how I can figure out a parabola, but at least he can do his taxes. At my oldest daughter’s most recent parent/teacher interview, I asked if they teach business math. Dude gave me the Kanye shrug.

                    • Kas

                      Financial education in a couple of sentences. Spend less than you make. Save 10% of your take home pay. If you can’t afford to do the above all the financial education in the world isn’t going to help.

                    • Val

                      You should write a post.

                    • Kas

                      I just did. :)

                    • YeaSoh

                      No, like a real one. I am HERE for the finance 101 posts. That would be great! And you know about property stuff too. You could get a whole movement started with other finance savvy writers to start contributing what they know. Educate your people Kas with stuff they can use now to make a better future for themselves. Stuff like best practices when you’re saving to buy x,y,z or best ways to decide if you’re ready to buy a house (my thing is if you paying rent… you can own) or how to maneuver the credit game so you can get a home loan (for the college kids especially) or the best ways to manage your money or what would a black investment group look like if a bunch of VSSs and VSBs pooled together some of their money – what they could buy and what the return could be (I’m thinking a development type thang – that’s actually been on my heart for a while le sigh)… you already know the list goes on. Plus, you be on here so much anyway so it’s not like you ain’t got the time *eye roll*

                    • Kas

                      Savings:
                      Rule of thumb is 10% of what you make. I try to save about 15% of my gross pay (before taxes, healthcare etc.). I would recommend filling buckets in the following order:
                      – cash equal to at least 6 months of expenses
                      – 401k/457: put in enough to get employee match. However, I recommend trying to put in max investment (currently$18k/year for those under 50, and $24k for those 50 or older)
                      – Balling so hard you still have money burning a hole in your pocket. Pick a low cost index fund with domestic and foreign exposure for the remaining funds to get to your overall chosen savings goal

                    • YeaSoh

                      What is this? I said write a post. Stop being lazy

                    • Kas

                      So clearly you don’t max . It hasn’t been $15k for awhile

                    • Hugh Akston

                      Saturday is re balancing day for my financials if needed checking out news in the finance world etc

                      trying to live off of one check (bought a house, and had to do some major repairs so savings was almost depleted) trying to get back to that 6 months of cash for rainy days

                      curious though why 15% of gross rather than net?

                      been eyeing the dow for the past few weeks and it hasn’t closed below 18k i keep thinking that it will either bust or surge above either after election, or December if Yellen hike interest rates

                    • Kas

                      15% of gross is what I can afford without being over the top about watching what I spend. Regardless of what someone targets, it needs to be something that is sustainable long term. With regards to the level of the stock market, since I don’t bother trying to time the market it doesn’t matter. I have a set amount that i put every month regardless of what the market is doing. I’m not looking to touch those funds for at least another 15 to 20 years, so I don’t worry about the fluctuations. Bond investors (much more analytical than stock investors) are betting Yellen is not going to raise rates much. Check out how yields on long dated treasuries popped after her speech basically saying she is willing to let inflation get above long term goal of 2%. Pretty much every macro fund has been getting crushed the past few years. They get paid a lot to get this stuff right and they have been getting it wrong, so I dollar cost average and worry about other things.

                    • Kas

                      Things to consider in buying a house vs. renting:
                      – It’s very illiquid and in my opinion shouldn’t be thought of as in investment, though it can be the start of building wealth for your children (be nice to your children so they don’t jump the gun in moving you into a convalescent home so they can sell your house)
                      – Do you want to be in the area long time (house prices don’t always go up)
                      – Is your job/employment stable
                      – Make sure you can afford it. Mortgage, taxes, and insurance all need to be factored in doing this analysis. You also need to have a enough cash for any repairs that come up. Roof, heating/ac, water heater, etc will all take turns dipping into your bank account.

                      If after going through the analysis, you feel comfortable buying, welcome to home ownership.

                    • YeaSoh

                      Stop it. Go write a post weirdo.

                    • Kas

                      Life insurance – if you have people that are dependent on your income, buy term life insurance in a sufficient amount to cover them while they figure out the next move. If you have young kids and a nonworking spouse, make sure it’s enough to cover for quite a few years of living expenses. If you don’t have people reliant on your income don’t buy life insurance. Also DON’T ever buy variable annuity insurance. The fees are too high for what you get out of it.

                    • Kas

                      Credit cards – cash back cards, pay off in full every month. If you do a lot of traveling, get one for miles instead.

                    • YeaSoh

                      What is happening right now? I don’t need the advice Kas (although I love to read it, always). WRITE A POST!

                    • Kas

                      Can’t. My job would never clear it.

                    • Kas

                      I really don’t think the topic merits a post.

                    • YeaSoh

                      It does.

                    • Kas

                      Then I volunteer you.

                    • YeaSoh

                      Hmmm

                    • Kas

                      I like the sound of that hmm. You know you want to. Gon do it.

                • Val

                  True but that can be overcome.

                • Kas

                  Agreed even though I’m being contrary with pinkrose up above about the same point. However, I would prefer someone be given land/property with a restriction on it being sold or having debt placed on it for a set amount of time over free education. I would prefer both but if I had to pick one ovrr the other, free property would easily win.

                • YeaSoh

                  Well learning finance is as easy as learning math and it should START in the grade, middle and high schools. Clean that up at those levels of education and then we don’t have to worry about scholarships for degrees (a lot of times not worth the paper they’re written on). Fix the public school education system and cut these people a check (and sign a deed while you’re at it- I want my 40 acres).

              • PinkRose

                And you make it seem like America cares about the ills of ALL Americans. Newsflash, they don’t.

                I refer to Black folks because I do research that benefits US and volunteer in clinics and communities where WE are the majority. Fact is that no one else seems to give a d@mn, yet I get flack for stating the obvious? Child whatever!

                https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a45103c418cdc54cbedb0ecd4bd213e42af10969ff7d2f5c9c93ad31ef427d5e.jpg

            • -h.h.h.-

              so are you assisting in efforts to clean the water in Flint, MI?

              or is that a unique/’one off’ exception that proves the rule that black folks just drink sugar water because they don’t currr?

        • Kas

          You miss my point. I didn’t say say I disagree with you. I said we can’t have it both ways (I.e., we are so great but when it comes to managing our affairs we should be treated like children).

          • PinkRose

            And I didn’t say anything about treating people like children, ya’ll LOVE to put words into my mouth ’round here, LOL!!!

            Give a person a fish, they’ll eat for a day. TEACH them to fish and they’ll eat forever. Haven’t you ever heard of that before?

            • Kas

              I believe your point was we couldn’t be trusted with cash. I am happy to be corrected on my interpretation.

              • PinkRose

                My point is that I think it’s illogical to assume that I speak in terms of 100% just because I don’t qualify every thing I post here.

                If I say dogs stink, don’t assume I’m talking about my Mama’s dog just MOST dogs, umkay?

      • PinkRose

        There’s not a Black person ANYWHERE that wouldn’t benefit from education, be it trade/vocational school or college.

        • Kas

          My 78 year old mother would benefit from more education how? I was just having a conversation with someone whose daughter, after graduating from Columbia, ended up teaching English in Spain for lack of job opportunities.

          • PinkRose

            If your 78 year old Mama can volunteer in an under performing predominately Black school, then h ell YEAH sign her up and put her to work!! Honey, I’m a part-time Adjunct Chem Prof/former high school chem teacher, you’ll be hard pressed to get me to not cosign on getting an education. EVER

            BTW, it’s lame to try an make a point with outliers like a Columbia grad that doesn’t have a job. Is ANYTHING in life 100% guaranteed?

            • Kas

              Outliers aside, explain to me how my mom or anyone in her age bracket benefits from free education.

              • PinkRose

                You don’t think her sharing her education with under educated kids would benefit her too?

                Well daaaaaayum, I’m not sure what to say about that. I get GREAT benefit doing things that benefit others especially if I’m able to use my education in the process.

                Or is this just an age thing? What’s the max age limit on education because I think its death.

                • Kas

                  High school gave my mom all she could handle. That aside, let’s say she had a PhD, I don’t understand how her sharing her education helps her. I would also add there is nothing that keeps highly educated people of color from sharing their education. I’m not trying to be difficult, but I am not following your argument.

                  • PinkRose

                    We ain’t going to agree all the time Kas. And I’m known among my family/friends for being an OVER emphasizer on the value of an education.

                    *This ain’t medical device ’cause I ain’t a doctor…….yet.*
                    There’s an old saying use it or you’ll lose it. And while using the brain doesn’t stave off diseases like dementia indefinitely, activities like teaching others could certainly help slow the process down some:

                    http://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/archive/MJ16p5.shtml

                    I LOVE old people and babies, so I try to stay tuned to what’s going on with them too especially when it could potentially improve their lives. ;)

          • YeaSoh

            I mean education is great but I’m not trying to go back to school. F that.

    • fedup

      They can have the money. Free education, through at least Masters level, and the land that was promised to our people. You can do alot with those two right there.

      • PinkRose

        As a PhD student, Imma’ need to up that to the Doctoral level for numerous reasons not the least of which is that we are tremendously unrepresented at that level.

        And I’m 100% on the land being thrown in there too.

      • StillSuga

        Agree with you on land and add on that property taxes should be waived for a certain number of years

        • PinkRose

          Hold for the number of years that America had slaves!

    • Mr. Mooggyy

      I’m a MOPAR man myself….but I get what your laying down!

      • brothaskeeper

        MOPAR all day!

        • Mr. Mooggyy

          ***Daps***

    • YeaSoh

      That was so racist smh

      • PinkRose

        Yea, Soh?

  • Hugh Akston

    Watched and learned a bit more info but nothing too new but at the end of it I was sitting there like “now what?” Go back to sleep?

    It would have been nice once in a while to see something like this and there is a plan that is laid out on how to tackle the issue:

    In xyz year we want the black incarceration to reduce by x percentage from age 18-30 reduce by x percentage

    This is how: sets fund with x amount to fund y organization for x amount of years which will provide xyz services work with local representatives etc

    But maybe I’m alone in this thinking

    • You’re not. A lot of Black thought that’s come from institutions over the last 10~15 years has been very good at poignantly pointed out problems and their sources. Solutions are another things entirely. I feel that’s largely because a lot of Black academics don’t really have an economic/political worldview (be they democratic socialist, anarchist, libertarians, moderates, etc.) to go along with their analysis.

      Not that expect everyone to agree on a solution or a means of tackling it, but just having a view/perspective on how they would like to go about it would be a refreshing start.

      • I agree. I think a lot of Black thought is either ignorant or flat out uncomfortable dealing with economics. On top of that, the Black people who are comfortable with economics tend to shy away from politics. That’s a major disconnect.

        • YeaSoh

          I mean how hard is it to say “these corporations are known and documented as supporting x,y,z which has led to x,y,z… do not buy/support them”?

          I agree with Esa, it starts with calling them out by name and putting their dirt out there for all to see. Next, you turn your back on them (and wallet) so they recognize they got to do better by you to get your support. A lot these influence(r)s when it comes to the politics behind it all only care about their reputations and their money. While I love what Ava has done – and I haven’t seen this doc yet, I’ll watch today though – we need to start thinking about the goal of it all and it can no longer be to just “educate” on the subject we need to start making moves… threats even. Even if no one joins in – imagine a documentary mentioning your corporation as one to be boycotted going viral. You’d be like “nah what’s the problem?”… “but, what they want tho? I’m tryna clean this up”

          • esa

            yes ! in this here United States the only thing that matters is the bottom line. money is their God: it has always been and it ain’t eva gonna change.

            once the problem is identified, in my mind, the only thing that matters is devising a viable solution. that is no small task, and i dont think it falls on us as individuals. i personally cannot organize strikes & boycotts & public shaming on the scale it needs to reach, so i keep an eye out to see who’s doing what.

            although Shaun King is highly questionable, i’m willing to wait and see how things pan out. on September 30, he announced a plan for a major boycott to begin December 5: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/king-boycott-injustice-police-brutality-article-1.2812999

            if you or anyone knows of any other organizers working on solution-based initiatives, please let me know ~*~

            • YeaSoh

              Thank you for this link, Esa.

              • esa

                no doubt ~*~ if you hear of anything going on, let me know. i’m makin it a priority to investigate and spread the word.

                • YeaSoh

                  Will do.

    • fedup

      Hey, the first step is awareness. I think a large portion of the American people are in a deep state of denial about structural and institutional racism, another 3rd (at the least) are unaware of all the ways that racism permeates every aspect of our daily lives, and yet another portion either just don’t care, or are too busy just trying to survive out in these streets to pay that much attention.

      Rome wasn’t built in a day my friend.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        Who isn’t aware though?

        • Mr. Mooggyy

          People who deny the reality of the situation. Or, those far removed from the people affected and go on with their everyday lives.

          • L8Comer

            And they aren’t about to watch this doc.

            • Val

              Exactly. It’s not like this information is hidden. It’s readily available. Those that aren’t inclined to acknowledge this stuff aren’t going to seek out anything that contradicts what they want to believe.

              • Mr. Mooggyy

                No dispute from me! But when there’s enough hype, people do things out of sheer curiosity! I would hope a few fall for the trap and become a bit more educated! But, alas, that isn’t always reality!

              • fedup

                Yeah, well, how to properly cook rice also isn’t a big secret, and yet alot of people routinely eff it up. So, do you just shake your head everytime your woman cooks puts a bunch of mushy rice and peas in front of you, or, do you show her how to properly prepare it?

                • Val

                  Lol That’s a heck of an analogy.

                  White folks collectively have had how many hundreds of years to get this right? At a certain point you understand that not making rice and peas correctly even when she’s been told how a million times is some seriously passive aggressive behavior. Same for those White folks who claim not to get what is right in front of their eyes.

                  • fedup

                    Lol. Touché. I guess my comment was more about what started us down this train (up thread), than your comment. Ma bad. :)

              • Blueberry01

                #FACTS

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            Lemme rephrase, try it from a different angle.

            The nation has watched multiple folks die on camera at the hands of the police.

            They have knowledge. They are aware.

            Has they’re been change?

            Global warming, ozone depletion, political and financial scandals…

            Awareness is not the issue.

            They’re aware. They don’t care, about anything.

            Look how long it took them to turn against Trump.

            Not to be pointlessly nihilistic, the country is aware, the conversation has started, people are on notice…

            We can no longer shock the audience into caring.

            New tactics are needed

            • esa

              ~ New tactics are needed

              public shaming. for many people, their “image” and “reputation” is more important than their actions or beliefs. the are pure pragmatists: they will do whatever they can get away with, but if they get busted—it’s a wrap.

              they will not be swayed by morality. they will be swayed by damage and liability. the thing they hold above their soul is their self image. shame them, and those who are not sociopaths will fall to their knees.

              • Blueberry01

                I also call those people, “narcissists”…

                • esa

                  as a recovering narcissist, i agree, but what i was addressing was more than narcissism: it’s about pragmatism, which has crossed over from pathology to ideology, to the point where many believe it is their “right.”

                  narcissists are sinners, in the sense that they’ve taken vanity to its most extreme ends. the irony is that, were narcissists aware of how they looked, they’d do everything in their power to shed that pathology right quick.

                  pragmatists, however, aren’t driven by vanity—they are driven by greed. true, they are both sins, but (and i could be wrong) sins of greed have far worse consequences for the population and planet as a whole.

                  • Blueberry01

                    First, thank you sharing your recovery process and I pray that you reach your end goal.

                    Second, I’ve understood narcissists to retain a sense of entitlement, which is why it is hard for rational rebuttals to their negative behavior to their inflated ego. (So, maybe there are pragmatic narcissists?)

                    Lastly, a sin is a sin in my book. But yes, the consequences of sin that you face in this world do vary in severity. So, I’m not sure if I’d consider pragmatists worse – or better off – than narcissists.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              Change is happening but it’s slow. Man is resistant to change. When you look at the police situation, the change is the closing of all the loopholes the cops used to use to feign ignorance. The sad part about this is that it took for someone to lose their life to make it happen.

              • Brooklyn_Bruin

                151 years is a mad slow.

                • Sigma_Since 93

                  I agree wholeheartedly. Think about it. If you had to concede power, money, land, etc., you would give the very minimum amount you had to and put the onus on the other party to demand more.

                  • Brooklyn_Bruin

                    *cues up Public Enemy*

                  • YeaSoh

                    Touche. Closed mouths don’t get…

            • Mr. Mooggyy

              I get what you’re saying! They see what’s going on! But, do they know the history? How did we get to this point? If you are told that black males make up over 40% of the prison population and fed shows like Cops or the first 48! Then you come to the conclusion that back people are more dangerous (not true of course)!

              People suffer from the lack of knowledge and being in their own bubble!

              • Brooklyn_Bruin

                Decision makers, white voters, black voters, voters in general?

                Shocking the conscience used to work. Seeing the violence in the deep South helped mobilize the country to pass legislation. Nightly news images of Dead soldiers in Vietnam turned the tide.

                Think about all of the horrible stuff on your Facebook feed right now.

                What sort of effect does it have on you?

                Last two images that people responded to, that changed public policy and sentiment
                – dead toddler on a beach basically opened up Europe.
                – little boy covered in ash sitting in a chair (on the world stage, maybe that changed the perception on Syria..(or was that Yemen?)

                We’re seeing body cam and dashcam deaths fairly often now – but unlike Europe, it’s not really affecting us.

                So a well reasoned argument like the documentary, something that appeals to viewers sense of justice and fairness…

                My faith is low given the evidence.

        • fedup

          It’s not a lack of awareness about the broader problem, but a lack of awareness of all the ways in which the broader problem manifests itself. For example, your average citizen is aware that Black folks get locked up at higher rates than other people. What is probably less clear to people is the various elements that effect this outcome.

          In CA, we’ll be voting on Prop. 57 in Nov., which (if passed) would transfer the power to decide whether or not to charge youth as adults, back to Judges, and away from Prosecutors. I highly doubt that your average citizen even knew that to be the current reality. By highlighting this, it gives everyday people the power to attack a tangible law, instead of an abstract feeling. THAT is why awareness is important.

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            We’re going to start talking about plebiscites and voter education now?

            Let’s go with your idea that awareness really matters.

            *switches hats*

            Isn’t this the same state where black voters are blamed for Prop 8? (Gay rights in Cali)

            Do we now start to discuss how black thought is manipulated via political ads and elected and un-elected leaders?

            Indeed the criminal justice context of this case –

            So the person/entity who decides the ultimate punishment also gets to decide how to shape the charge?

            That’s an improvement?

            Especially with the “kids for cash” scandal in Pennsylvania from last year.

            • fedup

              Black people were the scapegoat for why Prop. 8 passed. But you knew that already, so using a baseless stat to prove a point as to why awareness on grander scale isn’t “necessary” is just…

              • Brooklyn_Bruin

                Pointless of is my critique of making people generally aware.

                We should be focused on other avenues of political participation.

                At this point, we’ve done litigation, gotten legislation passed and repealed, marches and sit ins, divestment, art, academic papers.

                New solution time

            • fedup

              Its the lesser of two evils. Prosecutors have an incentive to over charge. Judges have an incentive to be prudent in their decision-making, to show fair application of the law. Given how things currently work in CA, I’d opt for the judge. Judgse work with the charges their given. Prosecutors decide what the person is charged with.

              • Brooklyn_Bruin

                ” Judges have an incentive to be prudent in their decision-making”

                LOL.

                Had to make sure Cali was like most of the country elected judges.

                It is.

                Hanging judges not fair judges get elected. They run on being tough on crime.

                There is no incentive for the State, the will of the majority and the powerful, to treat us humanely.

                There’s not much of a mechanism for disciplining prosecutors or judges that overcharge or over sentence. Same with cops they over police. Nobody loses a license or goes to jail, not over a black, Latino, or poor white person. But Accuse three frat boys and you’ll lose your career

                Full funding of a public defender’s office including its own investigatory arm is what would be required to counter balance the awful power of the state. At the minimum

                VSB needs to tighten up on criminal justice issues. It ain’t a game outchea.

      • L8Comer

        but are the people who either don’t or cant afford to care watching this doc and increasing their awareness? They are probably too busy or don’t care.

        • fedup

          I think alot of people are watching. I’ve seen comments from online reviews of this film that cross the spectrum of opinions. And, information moves by word of mouth alot faster than trying to get everyone who should be paying attention to actually pay attention.

          That’s not to say I disagree with the need for smart next steps. Just sayin that masses of people must be educated about the existence of an issue in order to move on an issue.

      • Blue Skies Bring Tears

        I think you’re absolutely right. Many, many people don’t realize/want to realize how pervasive institutional racism is and how much damage it continues to do. I think most people are selfish by nature and don’t want to be bothered about issues that don’t affect them personally. This is the most insidious and depressing thing of all imo: to think that because we aren’t victims of a certain injustice, that said injustice is not our problem. It should be everyone’s problem.

        I know a lot of white people who are basically decent and well-meaning, but are just unaware. (I don’t want to imply that I’m better. I was woefully ignorant too in my 20’s and still have much to learn and understand).

        • brothaskeeper

          Are you saying anything to them to help alter their thought processes? Are they genuinely receptive? What actions are you taking to stem the tide of hatred? How have you applied what you learned, and what still do you need to learn?

          • Blue Skies Bring Tears

            I’ve talked to my parents about why I support Black Lives Matter and why All Lives Matter is an idiotic knee-jerk reaction, yes. They are kind people, but like many, they had a knee-jerk reaction to BLM because on a superficial level, it seems to exclude them. “Yeah, but everyone’s life matters, etc. etc.”

            They also express negative thoughts about Gay Pride, the Gay Games, perhaps for similar reasons. They say things like “Well, if they want to be treated like everyone else, why are they segregating themselves by creating these exclusive events”?

            My parents have been receptive, but not everyone is. At the risk of sounding snotty, I’ve noticed that people who have a higher education tend to be more receptive and open-minded than others. More advanced critical thinking skills, I guess.

            Nevertheless, I will always express my views on the subject when the topic comes up in conversation with my family and acquaintances.

            • brothaskeeper

              Be careful not to surmise that higher order thinkers and well-credentialed people are necessarily socially progressive in word and deed, and also be careful to not exercise your stance solely in an effort to be contrarian, that it must be genuine and originate from a place of authenticity. Prepare to never speak to certain people ever again, and as harsh as it sounds, that may include one or both of your own parents. I can’t quantify struggles and pain, but a proven fact in this world is that Blackness can literally kill you, and to me that’s deeper than losing touch with a family member for awhile.

          • Blue Skies Bring Tears

            To answer your other questions, I can not say I have taken concrete actions to stem the tide of hatred, no. I politely intervene and correct people when they says something racist or ignorant in front of me. I know it’s not enough.

            I do think the situation concerns me. Every person who considers him/herself a humanist should be compelled by the gross injustices that other people are subjected to. I want to be a part of the solution. Besides speaking up against racism and explaining BLM to the people I know and participating in BLM demonstrations, I am not certain what else to do.

            Well, I could write to politicians to denounce the discriminatory practices in the justice system. Yes. It needs to be denounced loud and clear by everyone.

            I’m sorry if my response seems disjointed. I was thinking as I was writing and it took me forever to type this.

      • Hugh Akston

        No one is denying anything awareness…my question is what then?

        Isn’t the whole point of awareness is to make a change? I want you to be awareness of x problem so we can solve and here are some solutions of how we might solve it

        Let’s start here once you are awake

        That’s how I think…pointing a problem is one step then possible solutions should also provided for those who received your message

        • fedup

          So, share your list then man? Instead of pointing the finger and waiting for someone else to publish their list (which you’ll probably critique to no end), how bout you stop trying to argue, and start doing exactly what you claim others aren’t doing.

          • Hugh Akston

            1. I don’t have a documentary under my name that will be shared among thousands of people

            2. I never stated that I’m waiting for someone to publish them as I already doing my work in my daily life. I volunteer with kids who are suffering from the school to prison pipeline and mentoring them and teaching them basic skills especially financial skills

            3. I work with and help friends who work with individuals who were incarcerated to keep them out from going back

            4. You don’t know me and have no idea what I would and would not probably do

            5. I have the liberty to critique anyone I wish and you have the liberty to ignore me

            6 you yourself can provide a list rather than trying to make it sound as if I dislike the documentary and that there was no positive to it

            • Kas

              Do you ever exchange notes with Brass?

            • fedup

              Must be lonely at the top, being the only person who sees a need for solutions, coming up with solutions, saving all the poor children. I feel you Hugh. You just want some help, and someone to acknowledge all you’ve done for humanity instead of heaping praise where you feel none is due.

              If you wanted a hype man, all you had to do was ask!

              • Kas

                Interesting to watch two people interact via the internet and get crossways with one another, when I’m sure if those two people were sitting in the same room, the interaction would go in a much better direction. I think you two are agreeing more than anything else.

                • fedup

                  But he hit me first! *pouts*

                  Is sarcasm not allowed? Sorry, I guess I really didn’t read the rules of engagement.

                  Never any love lost for my people. Hugh is coo. Verbal sparring is healthy for the gut. I read that in Marie Claire once. Or maybe it was Reader’s Digest. I can’t remember.

                  • Kas

                    Sarcasm is embraced. But it’s the internet so people don’t always get it.

                    • fedup

                      Ooooooh. Maybe that’s why ma mama hasn’t called me back after that last email I sent her. Lemme call her and tell her not to be mad. Cause the internet an thangs.

                    • Kas

                      It can be the devil.

                • Blueberry01

                  I peeped this, too.

              • YeaSoh

                You are bugging.

              • Hugh Akston
            • Blueberry01

              Everyone, calm down, calm down…

              We’re all on the same team here. Stay focused on the solution instead of fighting each other, please.

              • Hugh Akston

                sometimes it’s hard to tell who is on your team, or who is a mold…so to my corner i go

                • Blueberry01

                  Lol! It’s okay, HA. You can come out of time out now. :gently rubs his back:

          • Blueberry01

            Everyone, stay calm, stay calm…

            We’re all on the same team here. Stay focused on the solution instead of fighting each other, please.

      • Blueberry01

        …and neither was ignorance.

        Girl, they know. They are swimming in immense guilt about it, thus they create mental structures that block the understanding any type of rational explanation for these atrocities.

        In essence, they are trying to decrease their cognitive dissonance.

    • esa

      i started looking at this like, how did we handle Apartheid in the ’80s? economics are the path to reform. all the corporations complicit in slavery need to be publicly shamed and boycott until they withdraw all ties to the prison industrial complex.

      the simplest place to begin is by supporting the on-going prison strike, which is pretty much being ignored. the DOJ is now investigating, and stepping up public pressure is a powerful start.

      • Val

        Yep, it is being ignored by the media. It just goes to show that media parent companies have their hands in all sorts of places and the easiest way to tell where is by the stories they ignore.

        • esa

          yea but the media is a business, just like everything else, and will follow whatever story shows market share. they may repackage it as disinformation, but they won’t ignore the demand.

          the thing i notice is, real solutions are incredibly uncomfortable, in that they demand a permanent end to cognitive dissonance.

          • Blueberry01

            Speak on that cognitive dissonance, please!

      • Hugh Akston

        I agree with you

        Even putting something like that out there would have been helpful to those who are actually trying to do something

        “Hey there is a prison strike organization going on look up xyz organization and support them in their efforts”

        But nothing for possible solutions? Can’t accept that..too much

        • esa

          let me make it even easier for anyone who wants to get involved:

          The Free Alabama Movement (F.A.M. y’all) at Holman organized the prison strike. The guards went on strike in solidarity, which is unheard of. They are operating inside the prison and their influence has made enough waves to get the DOJ involved.

          Site: https://freealabamamovement.wordpress.com/
          Twitter: @FREEALAMOVEMENT
          If you are an attorney and want to contribute, check out: https://freealabamamovement.wordpress.com/2016/10/07/the-next-step-for-free-alabama-movement-legal-clinic-network/

          For those who want to donate money, the site is set up for PayPal.

          They also link to other prison strike organizations in different states, as each state involved is coordinating their own set list of needs and reforms.

          It’s really easy to take action, and get involved now that the prisoners have done the work to set up a nationwide call to action to end slavery.

        • esa

          for those who want to support the prison strike, check out the Free Alabama Movement (F.A.M. y’all). They coordinated the strike, and have enough sway to get the DOJ on the case:
          https://freealabamamovement.wordpress.com/
          Twitter: @FREEALAMOVEMENT

          they are looking for attorneys to help support the cause. if you’re not an attorney but want to contribute, they have PayPal set up.

          for those who want to boycott and/or publicly shame corporations that use prison labor, check out Buycott: http://buycott.com/campaign/companies/504/boycott-companies-that-use-prison-labor

          • Hugh Akston

            Thank you for this

            Will definitely keep up with them and for it to my friends

            • esa

              right on ~*~

      • Betty’s Babygirl
        • esa

          thank you for this ~*~

          • Betty’s Babygirl

            No thanks necessary. Knowledge is POWER and FACTS are our friends. I love my people in all our diverse facets. I CHOOSE to call us Resilients. We ALL have our roles to play in this thing called life.

    • Furious Styles

      Or “What are some ways that people have effectively organized against it? I agree. We could look that up ourselves, but it just begged the question.

    • Yellow Tail

      Just like they talked about at the end of the film, when mass incarceration is tackled the problem turns to something else and I fully agree that will be GPS tracking. We’ve seen a steady increase in public surveillance and i wouldn’t be surprised if convicted criminals are required to wear GPS monitors and become prisoners in their own homes. There’s no telling how the government can use that information on a mass scale.

      I think the real solution is redefining how America becomes profitable. If it’s not going to be free labor or predatory behavior on the poor then what will it be?

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