Jeanette Stokes

Ferguson & Durham

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I wish I could say I was surprised by the miserable decision from the grand jury in the murder of Michael Brown case. But I wasn’t. I read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow this fall, so I guessed what was coming. If you haven’t read her work, put it at the top of your list. She carefully explains how law enforcement, searches, arrest, indictments, and sentencing are tangled in a racist system that was supposed to be a “war on drugs” but functions as a war on black and brown people.

What I didn’t know was that 99.99% of the time federal grand juries offer an indictment. So what happened in the Michael Brown case was very unusual. You can read about it here.

Citizens gathered in downtown Durham for a protest on Tuesday night after the grand jury’s decision was announced on Monday. Here are a couple of  Durham pictures. You can read the N&O article about the local protest, here.

Folks in Durham have been working to address racist practices in law enforcement. They engaged the help of researchers at UNC who studied more than a decade of data on stops and searches. You guessed it. Black men are stopped and searched in Durham more than anyone else. Read The New York Times story here.

I’m grateful to Ta-Nehisi Coates for getting me started reading about the new Jim Crow. Read Coates’ latest here.  I suggest you check his page weekly.

(Photo credit: upper, J. Stokes; lower, lizzie mcmanus-dail)

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