Get mad and do something

Ferguson police shooting

A wise friend–John Inazu–who teaches criminal law at Washington University in St. Louis has written an insightful piece about race and criminal law in St. Louis. I encourage you to pick up and read and consider how you might do likewise where you are:

John D. Inazu

“You spent too much time talking about race in this class.” Of all the student evaluations I’ve received over the years, this one rankled me the most. I teach criminal law. In St. Louis. It’s not possible to talk too much about race in that context.

In past years, our class discussions on race have centered on Trayvon Martin, or before that, on the kids shot up by Bernie Goetz on a New York City subway. From now on, the example will come from much closer to home.

In the coming weeks, we will have much to say about the tragedy, chaos and anger surrounding the death of Michael Brown. Among the most important issues will be the connection between law enforcement and race. That is not to say that all police officers are evil or that all black youths are innocent. But it is to insist that criminal justice and racial injustice are intrinsically linked in this city and its surrounding communities. And the injustices that manifest in handcuffs and bullets flow out of the injustices of neighborhoods, schools and shopping malls — all linked to issues of race that nobody in this city likes to talk about.

Read the rest here.

One Reply to “Get mad and do something”

  1. Civil Rights are issues waiting in the wings to come back around. Ferguson will be the standard bearer for a while like Newtown, CT was with gun violence issues.

    There is a gradual creep away from looking to ourselves to take care of things. Now “somebody has to help” if my house is burned by a wild fire, swept away by a tornado, or destroyed in a flood or hurricane. “Somebody’s got to help” as if we no longer should be expected to take responsibility for ourselves. There is also a sense of entitlement that revolves around being poor. I’m entitled to be taken care of, simply because I am poor. “Somebody’s got to help” because I can’t be expected to take care of myself.

    Race and wealth stratification is a big factor in both but we don’t like to talk about it.


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