Black lives; a history of endemic violence rooted in economic opportunity

On May 30, 1921, the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a thriving black community: a rarity in an era of lynchings, segregation, and the rapid growth of the Ku Klux Klan. About an alleged fake assault on a white woman by a black man.

Although police questioned the Page woman, no written account of her statement was found. However, police determined that what happened between the two teenagers was something less than an assault. Authorities conducted a quiet investigation rather than launching a manhunt for her alleged attacker. Page told police Rowland grabbed her arm, but nothing more, and that she would not press charges.

The massacre took place when mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It has been called “the worst incident of racial violence in American history.” The attack, carried out on the ground and from private planes, destroyed more than 35 city blocks in the then richest black community in the United States, known as “Black Wall Street.” ».15


Decades-old housing policies have had a lasting effect on American society. “The segregation of our metropolitan areas today results in stagnant inequalities, as families are much less able to move upwards when they live in segregated neighborhoods where opportunity is lacking”, A decrease in hostility between the police and young African-American men, presupposes desegregation. “16

The Federal Housing Administration, which was established in 1934, bolstered segregation efforts by refusing to insure mortgages in and near African American neighborhoods – a policy known as “redlining.” At the same time, the FHA subsidized builders who mass-produced entire housing estates for whites, on condition that none of the homes were sold to African Americans.

Decades later, the “tough on crime” policy with racist overtones resulted in harsh drug sentences and mandatory minimum sentences that were racially unevenly enforced. The incarceration rate quadrupled between the 1970s and the mass incarceration system grew exponentially. And prison work continues with little monetary benefit for inmates.

Once labeled as criminals, even for a minor drug-related offense, old forms of discrimination are suddenly legal again. In Alexander’s words, “We have not ended the racial caste in America; we just redesigned it. Image and quote:

Once labeled as criminals, even for a minor drug-related offense, old forms of discrimination are suddenly legal again. In Alexander’s words, “We have not ended the racial caste in America; we just redesigned it. Image and quote:

“The New Jim Crow” in her book of the same name Michelle Alexander details this phenomenon. “Two years after Obama’s election, Alexander brought the entire criminal justice system to justice, exposing racial discrimination from making laws to maintaining order to denying the right to vote to ex-prisoners. This bestseller sparked the spark that would ultimately ignite the fire of Black Lives Matter. ”

Today, the United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, with 2.2 million behind bars, even though crime has declined dramatically since the early 1990s. Black Americans make up only 13% of the American population, they make up 37% of the incarcerated population. Forty percent of police killings of unarmed people are black males, who make up just 6 percent of the population, according to a 2015 Washington Post report.

In conclusion

The Bronx River Houses were the first housing projects in the country to be placed under 24-hour police surveillance and their common areas have been redesigned so that the entire housing project is monitored by cameras. .

In a system of separation and containment that manifests itself in so many ways, crime and law enforcement are just two of the things and probably not the main ones. The system includes residential segregation, inequalities in public schools, travel, as well as health and environmental inequalities. (We see this health inequality as the uneven toll the pandemic is taking on minority communities, including the Latin American community here in Sonoma County. This community that provides cheap labor in as hospital employees and sustains the growth of our vineyards.)

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