African Americans

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: On Locking up Our Own

Adam Shatz
London Review of Books
If anyone doubted Black Americans still today suffer unfairly from incarceration rates and other horrific inequities out of all proportion to their numbers in the population, the case was closed by Michelle Alexander in her masterly The New Jim Crow (2010). Comes now James Forman Jr., to argue convincingly that key sections of the black community themselves abetted the criminalizing of black youths in a misguided effort to make so-called law and order work for them.

“I’m Going to Learn to Dance If It Takes Me All Night and Day” - Thoughts on Chuck Berry

Geoffrey Jacques
Portside
Much commentary on the late Chuck Berry will focus on how his songs expressed fun and teenage angst. This is the right thing to do. Yet there’s more. For example, Berry’s obsession with the comparative qualities of fast cars — most brilliantly displayed in his song “Maybellene” — did not just reflect the rise of post-WW II consumerist culture....He preferred V-8 Fords over Cadillacs because he spent several years in the late 1940s and early 1950s helping make Ford cars.

Harry Belafonte Knows a Thing or Two

John Leland
New York Times
The city native, about to turn 90, looks back at a glorious past and wonders what his next act will be. The rise of Donald J. Trump alarmed him, but not as much as the passion and numbers of Mr. Trump's supporters. 'I've never known this country to be so' - he paused before saying the word.' Though encouraged by the energy in the Black Lives Matter and Occupy movements, he felt that both lacked an ideology to make real change.

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