Rad Reading: "Something more is required of us now. What?"

by Abaki Beck

Text: Something more is required of us now. What?

Author: Michelle Alexander

Quote to Highlight:Our entire political system is financed by wealthy private interests buying politicians and making sure the rules are written in their favor. But selling CDs or loose cigarettes? In America, that’s treated as a serious crime, especially if you’re black. For that act of survival, you can be wrestled to the ground and choked to death or shot at point blank range. Our entire system of government is designed to protect and serve the interests of the most powerful, while punishing, controlling and exploiting the least advantaged.”

Quick Summary: In this brief essay, Michelle Alexander, the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, reflects on the recent police killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. She argues that something more must be done than providing commentary and assuming that small shifts in the system will make substantial change. In particular, she critiques the idea that "fixing" the police (like by creating task forces on police-community relations) will stop police brutality, as they still exist within a system built on the devaluation and exploitation of POC lives. She urges that activism must not be reactive, but imaginative in how to radically restructure or society and values.

File it under: Police brutality, prison industrial complex, activism, transformative justice

Type of text: Opinion article with limited jargon/theory


POC Online Classroom strives to make readings and resources that celebrate the intellectual tradition and knowledge production of marginalized communities more accessible. Rad Reading is a new series that highlight texts to read and writers to support! We will post every Tuesday.