Friday, April 7, 2017
New Jim Crow Panel
Thank you for calling our attention to the panel at Edgewood College last evening.
Seeing five panelists on stage who had spent many years in Wisconsin prisons was a living image of the book many of us read, The New Jim Crow. Four panelists were black men and one a white woman. All but one was a member of EXPO (Ex Prisoners Organizing.) The evening was a dialogue with students who had read the book and the five who had experienced the deliberativeness of a system that keeps people of color out of civic life. When people are labeled as felons and/or registered sex offenders for the rest of their lives, they are prohibited from work as health professionals or federal employees. They cannot live in federally subsidized housing. They may be tracked with an ankle bracelet or on parole for many years. “The system is not broken,” a couple of the panelists emphasized. The system separates black people and other people of color from the rest of society in the same way that slavery and Jim Crow have in the past.
How can we join with ex prisoners, who know the system only too well, to systemically change this racially biased system? That was the question that sends us to learn more and join with others to undo racism.