Political activist Angela Davis, immortalized in the 1972 John Lennon song “Angela”, offered up her sobering views in regards to the ongoing racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City. By extension, she includes the 2012 controversy of Trayvon Martin. Davis certainly believes in bringing individual perpetrators to justice. At the same time, she believes that to focus too much attention on a single instance is to reinvent the wheel each time. In an interview with the UK’s Guardian, she expounded what she means by reinventing the wheel.
Davis believes that racism is endemic in the American judicial system and has remained this way from the days of slavery. While not denying the advances the nation has made on racial issues, she neither cites them nor laudes them. This is because she does not believe that the nation is actually dealing with the structural aspects of institutional or systemic racism. Until those are faced, the nation will merely continue to get embroiled in one off incidences such as those which have dominated the headlines in recent months.
In particular, Davis wants the issue of reforming the prison industrial complex addressed. This system has a disproportionate number of blacks and minorities being jailed. In many instances, those who are released from prison are denied the right to vote. In many instances, the felony conviction becomes a barrier to employment. She’s not singling out the United States alone. She also pointed out that the prison industrial complex she decries in the United States is worse in Great Britain with an even higher percentage of blacks serving time.
On the Web: