Episode 6: At the Intersection(s)

Before we get started, we want to let you all know that this episode discusses domestic, intimate partner, and sexual violence, as well as racial violence. Please keep that in mind.

Introduction (Narrated by Joe)

“Let justice run its course.”

In episode three, we briefly mentioned the Baltimore Uprising of 2015. During the unrest, that was the call from people on both sides of the political aisle. “Let the process play out.” Well, that’s exactly what happened. Six Baltimore Police Officers were put on trial for killing a young man from Baltimore named Freddie Gray - it was that homicide that finally triggered the unrest. This year, three of the officers were acquitted, and the charges against the other three were dropped. American justice ran its course.

But before those officers were let off the hook, the US Justice Department launched an investigation into the Baltimore Police Department. In August 2016, they released their findings in the form of a 164-page report that confirmed what  Black Americans living in Baltimore already knew: the city’s police target their communities; with unconstitutional stops and arrests, excessive violence - across the board, BPD treated Black citizens worse than their white counterparts. In some ways, the evidence from the report was vindicating for those who were sympathetic to the Baltimore Uprising. How can we ask people to let justice run its course when this is what justice looks like in Baltimore?

Jelani Cobb, UConn Professor and contributor to The New Yorker, pointed out that what the DOJ found in Baltimore wasn’t new. Not just in terms of community-based knowledge, but also evidence-based research. Other investigations across the country; in cities like Ferguson, Chicago, Newark, and Cleveland, all reached similar conclusions about racialized policing in the US.

There are patterns here. And the Baltimore DOJ report reaffirmed another, related pattern. One that we haven’t paid nearly enough attention in our national conversations about race and justice.

So, really quickly, I’m gonna run through some background for y’all: Between 2010 and 2014, the Baltimore Police Department didn’t test 85 percent of rape kits it received, as it left the majority of its rape cases open, while conducting little or no follow-up investigation. BPD officers abuse their power to coerce sexual acts from sex workers - sometimes threatening them with arrest if they don’t cooperate. And when these abuses were reported, BPD failed to investigate them. BPD officers mistreat transgender people - refusing to acknowledge transgender women as women, and conducting invasive searches of them. BPD detectives often question sexual assault victims in an inflammatory way; that includes accusing victims of wanting to ruin their assailants’ lives.

And guess what? When the DOJ investigated the Newark police department in 2014, they discovered the same type of behaviors. NPD lazily investigated cases of sexual assault and treated victims with little to no empathy - showing “ignorance or bias concerning victims of sexual assault.” The study also found anecdotal evidence of harassment and discriminatory policing directed towards queer and trans individuals, although the DOJ chose not to share any concrete conclusions on that issue.

In every single episode to this point, we’ve learned that seemingly nothing in our society operates in a vacuum. That’s true of identity as well. When we talk about discrimination in the criminal justice system, the victim that pops into our mind is likely a Black man - and that is the demographic at the highest risk of being placed under correctional control. But our justice system also has unique, pernicious effects on those who sit at the intersection of race and other marginalized identities, and we need to be sure not to ignore that. Today, Prasanna and I are gonna dive into a couple of those intersections.

Chapter 1 (Narrated by Joe)

While I was writing this part, I thought of my journey to radicalization as a young Black kid. I think it really started with Trayvon Martin. We were around the same age when he was murdered. He was eating the same type of snack I might after a day at school. Wearing the same type of clothes I might any day of the week. I always rocked a hoodie in middle and high school too. He didn’t seem that different from me. And I watched my country put him, the dead victim, on what felt like an unending public trial.

Then I saw Mike Brown’s body left lying on the street for four hours. Then I watched Tamir Rice’s life get stolen in seconds. I read about the officers refusing to treat him. I read about the officers making his sister sit handcuffed in a police car, just feet away from her dying brother. Then I saw Martese Johnson, a college student trying to have a normal college student weekend, bloodied by officers. Then I watched Walter Scott get shot in the back five times. Then I heard about a white boy killing nine Black people in their church after they had welcomed him in.

All of that’s to say, acts of racial violence don’t really “shock” me anymore. They make me sad, they make me angry, they’re continuous reminders that we have to change things. But it’s hard to find something that shocks me.

When I read Arrested Justice by Dr. Beth Richie, I was shocked. It’s a book about the various unique forms of violence Black women in our country face day in and day out. The book contains graphic detail about a number of tragic cases. The stories could be really triggering, so I’m gonna try to avoid going into most of those specifics today, but if you’re up to it, Dr. Richie’s book, and others like it are definitely worth a read. A lot of the ideas I’m going to share in this section come from Dr. Richie.

Last thing before I get into the information: throughout this project, Prasanna and I have talked about experiences that largely differ from ours. Even though I’m a Black man, I’ve never lived in poverty, and class, combined with race, has played a distinct role in the issues we’ve discussed. Knowing that we’re speaking on experiences that are not our own, we’ve both tried to be very thoughtful about everything we say. Well, in this section, that obviously extends further, as I’m going to explore how gender intersects with some of the race and class dynamics we’ve learned about. We still have a lot more to learn in this regard. I’m definitely not done being shocked by gendered violence. But Pras and I think it’s important to share what we’ve learned to this point.

To start off, we have to come to an understanding of the social position of Black American women. That’s what I’m gonna spend the next few minutes describing. Remember our discussions last week about how social and economic disadvantage can worsen what may otherwise be universal problems? We focused in on crack use and drug market-related violence. Violent crime, in that context in particular, is an issue where the conversation often revolves around men, because, well, they’re overwhelmingly the perpetrators, and slightly more often the victims - though not in cases of sexual assault and rape, but we’ll get to that. The point is that solutions to violent crime among men of color should be sure to address any systemic disadvantages they may face that are specific to their identity. Well, of course, Black women similarly deal with unique social disadvantage.

Andrea James: We are already a group of people who are struggling through incredible poverty and although we’ve been able to make some strides in terms of increase in access to education, closing that gap - people talk about the gap between, income gap between men and women, look at the income gap between white women and every other women. And then you talk about black women who have per capita the most poverty in the country. And we were already, before, the fastest growing population of incarcerated people in the country are women, predominantly poor women of color, predominantly black women.

That was Andrea James, who founded Families for Justice as Healing, but you may know her better as the Colored Podcast all-time record holder for episode appearances - we missed her last week, but this is her 5th one. And I’ll give y’all a little spoiler: she’s in episode seven too. According to Dr. Beth Richie, on top of what Andrea mentioned, Black women are also more likely to live in unsafe public housing, have to travel on inefficient public transportation, and are more vulnerable to all forms of abuse than women of almost all other races (Richie 43). We also got the chance to speak with Charmaine Arthur, who currently works at the Freedom House here in Boston. She’s been doing community work in the city for 25 years, and her early work focused on helping young people, specifically young mothers, through substance abuse recovery.

Charmaine Arthur: Women in general carry a lot. Parenting, work, the home. There’s a lot that you carry. Now let’s include incest. Let’s include violence, domestic violence. Let’s include rape. Let’s include pedophilia. Let’s include drug abuse. Let’s include the foster system. Let’s just include a lot of things that come forth, that we deal with in life.

Right now I’d guess that some of you are asking the same question you may have asked in episodes one and two of this series: what does this have to do with crack cocaine and/or the War on Drugs?

Well, poor Black women’s socioeconomic status has been demonized and criminalized. Does that sound familiar from other episodes? We’ve mentioned the popular imagery of “welfare queens” in passing a couple times. This was actually a significant push of Reagan’s. He framed Black women on welfare as lazy but also conniving. Plotting to steal money from the hardworking American taxpayer. So again, we see a conversation that should be centered on rectifying systemic wrongs begin to focus more on individual moral failures, even when those failures were fabricated.

See, the origin story of the welfare queen mythology is actually really interesting - Reagan propped a woman named Linda Taylor as an example of a welfare queen. In Reagan’s hyper-focused efforts to demonize welfare-abusing women, he ignored the worst of Taylor’s crimes - multiple cases of kidnapping, for example. If you’re interested in learning more about the oversights and lies that created the welfare queen myth, check out a really succinct article on NPR, called The Truth Behind the Lies of the Original 'Welfare Queen.' No one ever actually clarified Taylor’s race, but typical discussions of “welfare queens” were dripping with racial code.

To clarify, the idea of women on welfare living lavish lives is untrue - families who receive public benefits spend substantially less than families who don’t. As of 2013, families on public assistance spent around $30,000 annually. And we’ve already talked about the fact that Black families don’t even make up the majority of welfare recipients.

Anyway, our country has definitely never operated with the best interest of Black women in mind. But as Reagan’s “family-centered” philosophies ostracized Black women further, we saw the animus that was directed towards them begin to evolve.

Dr. Richie writes that Black women are heavily criticized for the challenges facing Black communities - sometimes even by their neighbors or community leaders (Richie 47). So let’s think back to the Moynihan Report from episode one. The main assertion was that broken families caused a culture of poverty, right? Well, you might remember that Moynihan saw women as the key cog in that supposedly defective culture. He wrote, “the Negro community has been forced into a matriarchal structure which, because it is so out of line with the rest of the American society, seriously retards the progress of the group as a whole.” Thus, issues such as crime and violence - the roots of which we’ve already dug into - are passed off as failures of Black mothers.

And here’s what I’m getting at: there are tangible consequences to being so heavily devalued. When society doesn’t value you, often they don’t protect you. So, women are 85 percent of the victims of domestic violence. Black (and Native) women face the most extreme levels of that violence. It’s one of the leading causes of death among young Black women, and they also experience sexual assault at higher rates than women of most other races - again, Indigenous women being the exception. In the intro, I discussed that when Black women are assaulted, police departments very often fail to come to their aid. And when that happens, sometimes they can’t even turn to their communities for support.

Because see, It’s no secret in Black communities that we live in an era that will largely be socially defined by incarceration. And it’s no secret that our justice system has made Black men public enemy number one. That extends beyond the sheer number of Black men under correctional control - to Black men receiving disproportionately long sentences and being the primary targets of racialized policing policies like stop and frisk, including here in Boston. In response, some communities have created an ecosystem that attempts to minimize Black mens’ interactions with the police. Unfortunately, when that philosophy is applied to cases of domestic or sexual violence, the protection of abusive men can be prioritized over the protection of the women they assault (Richie 30-31). Dr. Richie also writes that some Black women fall into what she calls a “trap of loyalty,” where their commitment to their partner, shielding their family from the scrutiny of cultural racism, and other external pressures cause them to conceal their abuse (Richie 36).

All of these dynamics factor into the reality that the abuse of Black women is frequently tolerated. That’s not okay. And it’s very relevant to this project. Once again, this ties back to a theme we touched on earlier in this series. In episode two, we talked about how drug use can be an escape from trauma. Well, sexual assault, which we’ve established disproportionately impacts women, can severely traumatize its victims. So maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that rape victims are 26 times more likely to suffer from drug addiction. And when crack was at its height, men often took advantage of poor Black women’s addictions - Mary Curry, who you met in episodes two and five, explained this dynamic to us.

Mary Curry: Most of the time, it’s men that would have the money to get high, and then you have sex with them to do it.

Joe: Was that a common thing? For men to take advantage of women?

Mary Curry: Yes, most definitely. Whether it be oral sex, vagina, or jerking them off. It most certainly was. And you know, I couldn’t be on the streets because too many people knew my mom and would call her and say I see your daughter out here on Blue Hill Ave or Washington Street. So I had to go inside the bar to look for a victim. Not realizing that i was the victim. So one time I remember being with a state trooper. And he spent a whole bunch of money.

Joe: It was a police officer that was doing that?

Mary Curry: An actual police officer. Yeah.

A police officer. Based on the findings of the Baltimore DOJ report, I guess I shouldn’t have found this surprising. Beyond that exploitation, you have to remember - this is a society that has demonized and criminalized addiction, particularly among Black Americans. So you might imagine where this goes next.

Andrea James: The fact of the matter is that when you look at offenses that women have been convicted of, they are mostly what we call self-harm things. There are things that women are incarcerated for because they can’t get help. It’s years of untreated trauma from sexual abuse to domestic violence to self-medication, using drugs, needing treatment. Those are the reasons women are incarcerated, the majority of them. None of those women need to be in a prison, and our prisons are full of them. They are not there for murder, rape, even though there is a small percentage of them. But even when you look at those women, they have histories of untreated trauma in relation to something that somebody has done to them to cause them to go down that spiral to winding up on a prison bunk. So women are different and the reasons why we’re in prison are very different.

That was Andrea again. She’s right, women are nearly 20% less likely than men to be incarcerated for a violent offense. We also talk a lot about the US being a prison nation. One of the big stats is that we house 5 percent of the world’s population, but over 20% of the world’s prison population. Well we also house 5 percent of the world’s women, but nearly 30% of the world’s incarcerated women. Even Massachusetts, which incarcerates much fewer women than many other states, would imprison women at the 10th highest rate in the world, if it were a country of its own. And yes, Black women overwhelmingly bare the brunt of that force. 

Then when you dig deeper, you find that what Andrea just told us is disturbingly accurate. Incarcerated women are more likely to report having used drugs at the time of their arrest than men are. They’re more likely to have a diagnosed mental health condition. And? Nearly 70% of incarcerated Black women have experienced some type of intimate partner violence during their lives (Richie 27). All of these things capture the interplay between gender, race, violence, trauma, and our criminal justice system.

The “Framingham Eight” was a pretty high profile story here in Massachusetts during the late 80s. When we spoke to Charmaine from the Freedom House, she recounted her memory of the story for us.

Charmaine Arthur: I don’t know if you were born yet. But there was a group of women who they called the Framingham 8, that were put in jail because they killed their spouses. Because of domestic abuse, domestic violence. And here we come years after that, and some brilliant person in charge realized that we did not understand the whole picture when we threw them in jail. That we needed to look at the other part of the mental, physical, emotional abuse that was going on. That this person said I cannot take it anymore. So in self-defense, reactionary, trauma, everything, that those women were dealing with, they killed their abuser. So they went from being a victim to a perpetrator.

Now, not all of the Framingham Eight were Black women, and I understand if this case makes some of you uneasy because it involves death. But it highlights what we’re getting at here. We as a society run from our responsibility to confront systemic violence against women. And it is systemic. So failed by their justice system, their communities, and their loved ones, some traumatized women are forced to cope with their traumas in unhealthy ways - whether it be through substance abuse, retaliatory violence, or something else.

Charmaine Arthur: So we don’t look at a mother who may have been raped. A mother who may have dealt with incest at a young age. And there were behaviors that were developed. And based on these experiences, they have made some poor decisions, which ended up being illegal decisions. So what we do, we lock ‘em up. Instead of trying to build a plan before we throw ‘em into jail.

That was Charmaine again. Specific drug war policies have also fostered that criminalization of Black women. In episode three, we talked a bit about the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. One of the pillars of our punitive War on Drugs. Prasanna mentioned that the act had a less well-known “conspiracy” provision. But we didn’t mention that the provision criminalized women if they had proximity to a drug dealer - taking phone messages or money from a drug dealing spouse could result in a conspiracy charge, even if the money was simply for household spending. So we see this societal need to attach women to a man, and how it can be harmful in this context.

Before we go on, I should touch on something briefly - though we talk a lot about the criminal justice system, this series hasn’t focused too much on what goes on inside of prisons. Rest assured, it’s bad. And it’s important to note that many of the unique harms that plague women in our society follow them into prison. Sadly, what stands out most is sexual violence from prison correctional officers, or COs. Because prisons are such “secure” institutions, a large sample of data on sexual abuse in prisons can be difficult to come by. But, in many prisons, COs are allowed to watch women dress, shower, use the toilet, etc. They can also grope women under the guise of pat down searches and otherwise harass them.

Jason Lydon: Strip searches are a form of sexual assault, right? If any of us were walking down the street and someone said in order for you to cross the street, forced you to take all of your clothes off. And I can look at your body and touch it if I want to, we would all say that we had been sexually assaulted. But that is just the security of the institution of prisons.

That was Jason Lydon who’s one of the founders of an awesome organization called Black and Pink. You’ll hear from him a lot more in the next part. But remember, for incarcerated Black women who are more likely than not to have histories of abuse at the hands of men, those types of interactions can worsen trauma. And on top of that, a UN investigation in 1999 found that sexual abuse at the hands of COs is widespread.

Alright, so hopefully we know that we imprison far too many Black women, subjecting them to disturbing conditions in the process. We also know the same is true of Black men, though it manifests in different ways. But both of those things being true creates another troubling gap because the majority of our prisoners are parents. Andrea James is going to take this crucial point home.

Andrea James: And so with women, with an increase now in the incarceration of women in this country, being the fastest growing population, there is a dramatic effect on our communities and our children. When I was in the federal system, there would be two generations of women - the mother and the grandmother were incarcerated on the same drug case in the prison that I was in. If you ask them where are the male counterparts, where’s your husband, where are your brothers, where’s your fathers and whatever, they would be also, from the same family, multiple generations incarcerated - they would say well he’s serving fifteen years in the feds somewhere else. And then you sit back and say, ‘Well, My god. Who’s left in the communities raising the children?’

Chapter 2 (Narrated by Prasanna)

For simplicity’s sake, we split this episode into two parts; one about how the themes we’re discussing uniquely impact women, and one about how they uniquely impact queer and trans folks. Of course, we recognize the intersection of those identities for trans women and lesbians, and hope our listeners will also keep that in mind.

One of the earlier interviews we did was with a man named Jason Lydon - Joe introduced him a few minutes ago. He’s one of the founders of an organization called Black & Pink, which is based right here in Boston.

Jason Lydon: Black & Pink is a nationally networked grassroots organization working to abolish the prison-industrial complex while simultaneously meeting the immediate needs of LGBTQ and HIV-positive prisoners across the country. We’re the largest ever network of LGBTQ and HIV-positive prisoners and we have a monthly newspaper, prisoner generated content that’s used to support organizing of prisoners around the country, we have a pen pal program where we encourage free world folks to build with folks on the inside to build relationships, get to know each other, build connections to strengthen the larger movement.

Jason recommended that we check out a book called Queer Injustice, which was written by Joey Mogul, Andrea Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock. Like with every book we mention, we recommend that you read through Queer Injustice. One of the reasons we think you should read this book is because it covers a lot of really important information that we just couldn’t find a way to cleanly tie into the focus of this podcast.

Alright, so the Drug War was part of a larger “tough on crime” era that swept through America from around 1960 to 1990. This is a huge theme of our podcast - during these 3 decades, we as a country became really obsessed with stopping crime. That obsession extended well beyond the War on Drugs

Queer Injustice specifically talks about how, in New York City, sex work was heavily criminalized through stop and frisk. People could be stopped simply for carrying condoms. This is super problematic for a whole bunch of different reasons, but one of the worst things to come out of stop and frisk was the excessive harassment of trans and queer people of color. Trans people of color are stopped and frisked so often that when it happens, it’s simply called “walking while trans.” (Mogul, Ritchie, Whitlock 61)

And remember stop and frisk was part of this larger movement of criminalization, which the War on Drugs was also a part of. All of these policies, therefore, worked in tandem - they built off of each other. So, for example, stop and frisk was used as a measure to prohibit sex work - but it was also used as a way to arrest people for drug possession. In fact, Queer Injustice talks about how there was an assumed association between sex work, drugs, and violent crime. (Mogul, Ritchie, Whitlock 61)

Now let’s look at the two big Anti-Drug Abuse Acts of the 80s and the ‘94 Crime Bill - we need to look at them outside the sole context of drug policy. These policies put more than a hundred thousand new police officers on the streets and incentivized police departments to put more and more people in jail. Remember in Episode 4 how we talked about the Supreme Court cases that upheld many policies of the drug war? Well, the impact of that was that police abuses, prosecutorial discretion, and disparate sentencing were protected across the board, not just in drug cases. In other words, the War on Drugs had a drastic impact on the criminal justice system as a whole - not just on drug policy.

So consider the drastic increase in criminalization that was happening throughout all parts of the criminal justice system in context of one of the most important themes of our podcast: that marginalized people are most severely impacted harsh policing policies. LGBTQ communities - like communities of color - felt the brunt of all this.

Jason Lydon: Dealing with poverty and things like that, and also as people are coming out, this coming out process that was happening, people were getting kicked out of their homes in ways that they weren’t before. So we see a rise in LGBTQ youth homelessness, which results in LGBT young people being involved in criminalized economies to survive.

particularly being young people of color and getting policed by police departments in urban areas around the country, leading to disproportionate incarceration of LGBT folks.

That sounds familiar.

Jason Lydon: I think the war on drugs, anything that criminalizes survival-based economies disproportionately impacts LGBTQ folks, specifically LGBTQ people of color, because of the realities of people getting kicked out of their homes, of LGBTQ folks are much more likely to use substances, and people who use substances are more likely to sell substances, right, that are illegal.

That sounds familiar too.

Jason Lydon: So anything that criminalizes the drug trade disproportionately impacts LGBTQ people of color. And then, the criminalization, and growth of, the criminalization of homelessness where police are going after and targeting folks sleeping in the Boston common.

Now, this is where intersectionality comes into play. Those young people live as young people of color in the world we’ve spent the past six weeks describing, so they face all the risks we’ve identified. Then you have to throw the oppression of their sexual and/or gender identity on top of that.

And, of course, like Joe discussed in the last section, those social dynamics follow them into prison. US prisons are notorious for making rules that restrict sexual expression (Mogul, Ritchie, Whitlock 94).

Jason Lydon: I don’t know if y’all saw it, in the Globe even a few months ago when Whitey Bulger got placed in solitary confinement for masturbating. And it’s a joke cause Whitey Bulger is like sure, whatever, we can all laugh at Whitey Bulger. But the reality is that people are getting enormously disciplined, and disproportionately LGBT folks, particularly gay men and trans women, for any sense of sexuality. This thing called the prison rape elimination act, which is supposed to in theory help and make LGBTQ folks safer from sexual violence is actually making a lot of folks get disciplinary focus from across the country, and some of the worst here in Massachusetts, for hand holding, for hugging, for one person having their shirt of in the day room, got a disciplinary ticket as a prison rape elimination act violation. Because they had their shirt off. These are absurd things that the prison system is using these reform ideas that were supposed to make things better for LGBT folks and are actually using it to criminalize folks.

I actually believe, and it’s going to be impossible to track, but I believe in ten years we’re actually going to see an enormous decrease in parole rates for LGBT folks, particularly gay men and trans women, because of these PREA violations, that folks are going to come up for their parole hearing, they’re gonna be like ‘you have 14 v tickets for PREA, oh my god, who did you rape, what happened?’ But people are engaging in consensual sexual activity, people are engaging in romantic friendships, any of those things. And that’s just outrageous.

Queer and trans folks are also at high risk for sexual assault while under correctional control.

Jason Lydon: Trans women, gender nonconforming folks - so trans women in men's prisons and gender nonconforming folks in men’s prisons and cisgender gay men in men’s prisons are more likely than not going to be sexually assaulted during their incarceration. So any time a judge sentences somebody who is a gay man or a trans woman to a prison, they are sentencing to more likely than not be sexually assaulted during their time. That is outrageous. That’s the state of affairs for folks on the inside.

To be clear, that truth doesn’t justify prohibiting all displays of affection and sexuality in prisons. If the solution was to ban sexuality, then we wouldn’t currently have this problem in our prisons - because that’s what we’re already doing. The solution is really not that complex: accountability. We’ve already discussed how many correctional officers abuse inmates - that has to change. Inmates can report that they’ve been repeatedly assaulted and still not receive any protection from prison staff (Mogul, Ritchie, and Whitlock 98-99) - that has to change.

So when we look into it, we actually know a lot about how our justice system impacts LGBTQ folks, especially when they’re in prison. But what are we doing about it? Recently, criminal justice reform has been vaulted to the front of many political conversations - we asked Jason how he thinks queer and trans people are represented in those conversations.

Jason Lydon: Yeah, I mean, we’re not. If you look at who’s getting pardoned, these commutations that the president is doing, not a single one of our members has been one of those folks. We have nearly ten thousand prisoners, many of whom are federal prisoners, he could pardon some of them if he wanted to. Including ones who are convicted of drug offenses, and that’s not happening. And I think part of that has to do with if you look at who’s getting these pardons, they’re people who folks are fighting for, right? So I think one of the things that happens when we rely on these person to person commutation campaigns, that requires people to have some sense of who they are. So that means there has to be someone on the outside who cares about them. And so, prisoners in general often lose the people who care about them, but queer and trans folks often didn’t have anyone who cared about them in the first place.

So as an organization that works with everybody, we get some anxiety around the focus on the war on drugs and ending the war on drugs as the end to mass incarceration because it won’t end mass incarceration.

It’s essential, we must end the war on drugs. But that won’t end the violence of the prison system, and so we’re constantly engaged on that.

Conclusion (Narrated by Prasanna)

All of these issues are complex and many of them are long-standing. We have to be thoughtful about how we try to address them to make sure we don’t leave people behind as we trudge forward.

In episode 5, we mentioned that disenfranchised Americans deserve better than all that we had discussed up to that point in the series. Certainly better than what we discussed today. And we promised that we would get into what “better” might look like. Let’s talk about next week... on the Colored finale.

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