Often on my social media I pose questions or point out an issue to inspire thought and discussion instead of just preaching my own viewpoints at you.
This WordPress blog page is reserved for those instances where I want to take a deeper dive into an issue and put forth my own thoughts in more detail that social media allows.
Today, I’m going to provide some answers to questions I have been asking and issues I have been pointing out for quite some time.
At the beginning of this month, I posted this message on my Facebook page:
It included a link to a series of articles by David MIlls published through Medium.
I implored people to read it them.
Please do so if you haven’t. David Mills provides us one of the more important pieces of our discussions on how to recognize the problems holding us back with our #Culturalinertia and begin to address them to force change as we progress forward.
If we could wave a magic wand and somehow make it so nobody in America ever again had a racist thought, we still wouldn’t have ended the ongoing impact of four centuries of racism embedded in our history and culture nor how it affects us today or in the future.
Similarly, giving every Black person any amount of reparations that the government might someday approve isn’t going to put an end to those policies.
Sadly; however, we can’t even take that magical step.
So, what can we really do, now, to start to make a difference?
Exposure and Removal
First and foremost, we must continue to aggressively remove people who expose themselves as racist, or bigoted in any way, from any and all positions of power and influence over the lives of those they hate and/or fear.
Second we need to redefine the concept of reparations and start making good on them.
Reparations — Redefined
To do this, we must begin to reverse the damage created by generations of societal segregation and redlining.
The term “redlining” was coined by sociologist James McKnight in the 1960s and derives from how lenders would literally draw a red line on a map around the neighborhoods they would not invest in based on demographics alone. Black inner-city neighborhoods were most likely to be redlined. Investigations found that lenders would make loans to lower-income whites but not to middle- or upper-income African Americans.
Indeed, in the 1930s the federal government began redlining real estate, marking “risky” neighborhoods for federal mortgage loans on the basis of race. The result of this redlining in real estate could still be felt decades later. In 1997 homes in the redlined neighborhoods were worth less than half that of the homes in what the government had deemed as “best” for mortgage lending, and that disparity has only grown greater in the last two decades.
Examples of redlining can be found in a variety of financial services, including not only mortgages but also student loans, credit cards, and insurance. Although the Community Reinvestment Act was passed in 1977 to put an end to all redlining practices, critics say the discrimination still occurs. For example, redlining has been used to describe discriminatory practices by retailers, both brick-and-mortar and online. Reverse redlining is the practice of targeting neighborhoods (mostly nonwhite) for products and services that are priced higher than the same services in areas with more competition.
Federal Minimum Wage
Reversing this starts with setting a standard federal minimum wage tied to the inflation rate that maintains a living wage for a single worker working a full time job.
Universal Heath Care
The next step is moving to a universal single payer health care eliminating the need for employment secured health insurance. This can be accomplished by eliminating corporate loop holes in the tax code and having companies pay appropriate taxes and wages while not being responsible for securing and covering massive employee (and family) health insurance expenses. The people would immediately have more “disposable income” to return to the local economy, personal savings, and investments if they were no longer dealing with the massive personal expenses of their insurance premiums, deductibles, and copays.
Another important step would be identifying the maps used for redlining (which also served as the basis for gerrymandering voting districts) and under funding school systems) and directing efforts to those same areas and neighborhoods to incentivize residents in that area receiving mortgage, home improvement, and vehicle loans, as well as small business loans for businesses in the community serving the needs of the community and run by residents of it.
All these maps still exist.
An interactive site from “Mapping Inequality” takes scores of Home Owners’ Loan Corporation maps — previously accessible only in person at the Archives or in scanned images posted piecemeal online — and embeds them on a single map of the USA. Selecting a city reveals the old map images; zooming in shows a color overlay over a modern map with street names and building outlines. NPR
Equitable Public Education
Then we need to invest in the school systems in those previous redlined communities to bring them up to the same standards and availability of resources as those in surrounding areas. This would require a city’s educational funding to be distributed equitably based upon number of students and teachers required, not on property tax values in an individual school district.
Amended 13th Amendment
Section 1 of the 13th Amendment needs to be amended from:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Repeal Jim Crow
Along with this, all Jim Crow laws must be officially repealed and removed from the city, county, state, national ordinances.
Criminal Justice Audit
Logically, it would be necessary to end racial disparity in sentencing of crimes as well. An annual independent audit of sentencing disparities and automatic immediate correction of anything inappropriate for each judge would be a good place to start with that, as well as required disciplinary actions up to and including disbarment for judges who are repeat offenders. [See Exposure And Removal above.]
Demilitarize The Police
Finally, this brings us to what we can do about unjust policing.
Demilitarize police and end warrior training programs for them.
Routine independent review of body camera footage with appropriate disciplinary action for any abuse of power. A full body cam audit for any officer found to have committed an infraction during routine review.
The creation of a national database and its mandatory use by all law enforcement in the US identifying any officer fired for abuse of power or racially/bigoted misconduct as ineligible for rehire at any force.
Decriminalize a large number of offenses in which no person or property is damaged, commute sentences and/or pardon convictions for those already imprisoned for such offenses.
Treat drug addiction and mental health issues as health care problems instead of policing problems. Redistributed funds police departments had earmarked for such things and their militarization to community enrichment programs, trained mental health first responders, homelessness, rehabilitation centers, and other outreach programs.
Require all officers to carry professional liability insurance just like every other profession entrusted with the lives and welfare of others.
Eliminate qualified immunity and union protection for malpractice and abuse of power.
Fire as many polices officers as necessary and then hire and train properly to end the Organized Crime mentality within many police forces. Reward those officers who come forward to report problems within their ranks as the community heroes they are, instead of allowing their careers to be ruined and treating them as “rats” to be ostracized and removed or exterminated.
If we can accomplish these things we will not have eradicated racism, nor will we have made up for 400 years of slavery and oppression. But we will have laid the foundation for a much more equitable and peaceful future less influenced by them and placed everyone on the path toward it.