In her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander invokes the metaphor of a birdcage to describe the structural racism that plagues our country. She writes,
“If one thinks about racism by examining only one wire of the cage, or one form of disadvantage, it is difficult to understand how and why the bird is trapped. Only a large number of wires arranged in a specific way, and connected to one another, serve to enclose the bird and ensure it cannot escape.”
The Just Reading Circle at St. Lydia’s is an invitation to delve deeply into particular justice issues. This January, we’ll read about structural racism and how we can be a part of dismantling these systems locally and nationwide. Part of this process is learning about each wire of the birdcage Michelle Alexander refers to and educating ourselves about how those wires, together, create a structure in which Black lives are de-valued. So we’ve selected a variety of books that come at the problem of structural racism from different perspectives.
Discussion Time and Place
We’ll come together to discuss the readings. Please come with a quote that struck you in your selected reading, and why it surprised you or changed your perspective.
Wednesday January 21, 2015
304 Bond Street near Union
You’re invited to read one of these four readings listed below, each of which addressed a different “wire” of the cage of structural racism. We’ll come together to discuss the readings on Wednesday January 21 at 7:00 pm, 304 Bond Street, Brooklyn. Please come with a quote that struck you in your selected reading, and why it surprised you or changed your perspective.
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander, a book that lays out the injustices of the prison system in our country
- “The Case for Reparations,” Ta Nehisi Coates, an article (available online) that details discriminatory mortgage practices and their influence on American neighborhoods.
- The Cross and the Lynching Tree, James Cone, a short, theological work exploring the interconnection of these two powerful symbols.
- The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a book exploring the criminalization of African Americans in our country.