[Ed. – Yawn!]
Every conversation about resources in the United States is also about race and racism. Like parents choosing a neighborhood for its “good schools,” Americans talk about prison and crime as a means of discussing race and racism in polite company.
One needn’t hate Hispanics to choose a school system with no Hispanics. One need not say that black people are violent apes to call the police when an injured human being who happens to be black knocks on your door for help. Freedom—from being stopped and frisked; from predatory criminal justice fines; from cells—is arguably the resource from which every other resource flows: education, marriage, income, wealth, happiness, actualization. In “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a decoder ring for the language of criminality, revealing that it rests on the idea that America can only be great so long as America is fundamentally white.