Talking About Inequality …

By James Kwak

How about this?

In Georgia, you can get a life sentence for a second or succeeding drug offense.

Right now, there are 375 people serving those life sentences. 369 of them—more than 98%—are African-American.

There’s no population base rate that can explain that discrepancy. One justice on the Georgia Supreme Court found that an African-American with two or more drug priors is 28 times as likely to get a life sentence than a white person with the same record.

Or this?

On Monday last week, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Foster v. Chatman. In that case—a death penalty case—the prosecution struck every black member of the jury pool. The law says that you can’t strike a potential juror because of race, so the prosecution came up with facially race-neutral reasons for all of their strikes. Their notes, however, showed that they highlighted the names of the black jurors, marked them with a “B,” identified one of them as the best “if it comes down to having to pick one of the black jurors,” and put the five black jurors at the top of their list of definite strikes—ahead of a white person who said she opposed the death penalty on principle. The all-white jury sentenced the African-American defendant to death. Even after the evidence came to light, the Georgia Supreme Court refused to overturn the verdict.

My favorite professor, Steve Bright, argued the case last week. Some of you may have heard him on NPR.

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Or this?

Adel Edwards pled guilty to burning leaves in his yard without a permit. He couldn’t pay the $500 fine, so he was sentenced to a year of probation. His probation was “supervised” by a private company—that piled its own fees on top of the original fine. A year later, he owed more than $1,000, mainly to the probation company, and he was sent to jail immediately.

If you want to do something about injustice and inequality, please consider making a donation to the Southern Center for Human Rights—today. The Southern Center, based in Atlanta, is one of the best organizations fighting inequality in the justice system by challenging unsafe prison conditions, the criminalization of poverty, unequal access to justice for poor people, abusive practices by for-profit companies, and the racially biased imposition of the death penalty. I am a board member of the Southern Center and its attorneys and staff are the some of the most talented, hard-working, dedicated, and selfless people I know.

The reason to give now is that today is Georgia Gives Day, and one of our foundation supporters will match any gifts from new donors and any increased gifts from existing donors. So if this is an issue you care about,now is the time to do something.

Thanks for listening.

Also posted on Medium.

9 responses to “Talking About Inequality …

  1. Fantastic read. Thank you for helping shed light on such an important issue.

  2. Thanks for the link to the Southern Center for Human Rights, made my contribution!

  3. Join (in spirit) our group to dissolve injustice by means of natural laws, the constitutional convention is soon and based on the abuses of the Declaration of Independence by collectivists, the evidence is clear, the time is now,

    here is a cut and paste of part of it,

    The first sentence of the Declaration asserts as a matter of Natural law the
    ability of a people to assume political independence, and acknowledges that the grounds for such independence must be reasonable.

    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    The next section, the famous preamble, includes the ideas and ideals that were principles of the Declaration. It is also an assertion of what is known as the “right of revolution”: that is, people have certain rights, and when a government violates these rights, the people have the right to “alter or abolish” that government.
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that
    they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish
    it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes but for violations of these undisputable Natural Laws.

  4. Damn Kwak, you are actually very kind, it’s like a time limit, right?? Ok, I still think you’re pretentious, but I forgive you, Your Bro always

  5. Here’s to the greatest blog hosts ever: Kwak and Simon Johnson:

  6. miss Lettterman, do you,, commen

  7. Every human being has the NATURAL “right” to make their lives less miserable through HONEST WORK.

    Which means that until there is an “app” on the smartarse phone that cleans a dirty diaper if you wave the diaper over the phone, you have NOT done HONEST WORK with techno-development.

    So any “government” that does NOT secure the individual’s right to enjoy the fruits of their labor – a less miserable life that they EARNED through honest work, then that juggernaut of sadistic power has to be addressed.

    “…with words they try to jail you….”

  8. This Alabama’s last post, yeah I had to use some alias’s along way, in an evolutionary sort of way, it’s explained at the following link, you’ll see it there, perhaps you’ll see me on the street, but then again, maybe not. Either way i’ll be there, the Baseline Scenario was the best of all the blogs I encountered and I give thanks to all the ones who made it possible.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-19/here-comes-china-xi-vows-terror-fight-after-isis-executes-first-chinese-hostage#comment-6812514