Tag Archives: Ta-Nehisi Coates

If All You Have Is A Hammer, Everything Looks Like A Nail

Hammer and nails by Hans Godo Frabel

Hammer and nails by Hans Godo Frabel

We asked the city for help, and we got a raid.
—Taylonn Murphy

We somehow understand punishment, but then we put a period after that word. Nothing follows. Nothing about rehabilitation, redemption, second chances.
Leon Botstein, President, Bard College

This is not my typical reading material, but recently, three noteworthy articles relating to the subject of criminal justice came to my attention in quick succession. The first, in The Atlantic, by 2015 MacArthur Genius award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates, is entitled “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration.”  Using as his springboard Daniel Moynihan’s controversial 1965 report, “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” Coates, with clarity, intelligence, and nuanced marshaling of evidence, traces the plight of the black family in the United States from its origins in slavery to the present. In so doing, he sets current incarceration rates in the United States in bold relief: Continue reading