Michelle Alexander Reveals the Sinister Dynamics of Economic and Social Injustice
Michelle Alexander on Cultural Disparities
Have you seen this picture before? Last month I published an article in The Nation condemning the Clintons’ role in escalating the drug war, dismantling the federal social safety net, and transferring billions of dollars in funding away from child welfare and public housing in order to invest, on an unprecedented scale, in the prison building boom. I noted that, back in the 1990’s, Bill Clinton “mastered the art of sending mixed cultural messages” — warmly embracing black folks, singing in black churches and wearing shades while playing the saxophone, while at the same time signaling to poor and working class whites that he could be trusted to be tougher on struggling black communities than the Republicans had been.
Christopher Petrella points out, in this article in The Boston Review, that there is more to the story, and this photo is worth a thousand words. As he puts it, “One would be hard-pressed to find a photograph that more forcefully exposes the deep racial paradox of the DLC and the modern Democratic Party.” Everything about the public relations stunt captured in this photo — including its location at Stone Mountain — sent a not-so-subtle message to white voters that the Democratic Party was about to turn its back, literally, on black folks. It is often said that if we do not learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it. I fear that we have not yet truly faced this history, much less learned from it. Here’s the link to the article: