Jan 2, 2017

Latent Criminals—Here They Come Again

From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime, The Making of
Mass Incarceration in America, (Harvard University Press)
What do you call three black men walking down the street?

Neighborhood destroyers, latent criminals. They're loud, black, brown, (some of them are really black). They're spoiling for a fight, disordering the peaceful citizens of white America.

Surly, the time has come to get behind Donald Trump who will take our country back. Republicans are amped-up. And the brown shirts are wearing blue and can be found in your local police departments, adjunct Republican Party units.

The paranoid escalation in the war on latent criminals means 'get them before they get us.'

This imbecilic posture toward people by racists is caught in the iconic shot of the 28-year-old nurse, Ieshia Evans, who was rushed by Louisiana riot police for walking in July 2016, (captured by Reuters photographer Jonathan Bachman).

Black man killed by American police in 2013
White America, under an openly racist banner, is off and running on a crash project in a few short weeks.

What do they want? To the extent one can discern coherency, Trumpians' views are "irrational, unscientific and demonstrably nonsensical," as Norman Cohn writes in Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World-Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, (1967).

Not so much desired policy, just reenactments of myths, some tangible way for pathological racists to feel good about themselves. The warrants are out. Time to wake up.

From Elizabeth Hinton and her From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime, The Making of Mass Incarceration in America, (Harvard University Press), 2016:

Johnson’s War on Poverty policies sought to foster equality and economic opportunity. But these initiatives were also rooted in widely shared assumptions about African Americans’ role in urban disorder, which prompted Johnson to call for a simultaneous War on Crime. The 1965 Law Enforcement Assistance Act empowered the national government to take a direct role in militarizing local police. Federal anticrime funding soon incentivized social service providers to ally with police departments, courts, and prisons. Under Richard Nixon and his successors, welfare programs fell by the wayside while investment in policing and punishment expanded. Anticipating future crime, policymakers urged states to build new prisons and introduced law enforcement measures into urban schools and public housing, turning neighborhoods into targets of police surveillance.

By the 1980s, crime control and incarceration dominated national responses to poverty and inequality. The initiatives of that decade were less a sharp departure than the full realization of the punitive transformation of urban policy implemented by Republicans and Democrats alike since the 1960s.

Lock them up, it's open season and happy hunting.

Ieshia Evans faces lunatics in Louisiana in July 2016. Get her, she's coming!

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