I have been posting mostly news articles recently, so this will be a deviation.
On Friday (11/4), Common released his latest album “Black America Again”, with another socially conscious album. He went on RapGenius and annotated some of the album. Similarly to “Faithful” from the album “Be”, Common explores how a patriarchal society could be different in his track “The Day Women Took Over”, which he performed at the Tiny Desk Concert at the White House. Another notable track is the title track, “Black America Again” which includes the quotable below. The album is well worth the listen.
Who stole the soul from black folk?
Same man that stole the land from Chief Black Smoke
And made the whip crackle on our back slow
And made us go through the back door
And raffle black bodies on the slave blocks
Now we slave to the blocks, on ’em we spray shots
Leaving our own to lay in a box
Black mothers’ stomachs stay in a knot
We kill each other, it’s part of the plot
I wish the hating will stop (war!) and the battle with us
I know that Black Lives Matter, and they matter to us
These are the things we gotta discuss
If you haven’t listened to “Embedded”, a podcast by NPR, you should listen to their episode about policing Skid Row in LA.
Embedded is a podcast that takes an item from the news and takes your ears inside the situation to gain a greater perspective of the situation. This particular episode of “Embedded” displays two methods of policing and the responses to them by the people living on Skid Row.
Police have been in the news a lot in the last couple of years due to brutality and violence. I know police officers who are great people, but I also know that the United States’ problem with police and criminal justice is a systematic problem. The individual officer’s personal goodness and there being a systematic problem are not mutually exclusive. It is not only ‘crooked’ or ‘bad’ officers who are at fault. I recommend reading Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The book shows how police departments have been incentivized to issue citations and make arrests very clearly at one point.
At the very least, listen to this episode of Embedded, and ask the questions:
- If I was living on Skid Row, which officer would I want to meet?
- Which officer would I want to be?
- Which policing tactic do I think is best for society?