Locking Up Our Own Themes

James Forman Jr.
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The Origins of Black-on-Black Mass Incarcerations

The book’s central claim is that the disproportionately high number of imprisoned black people in America (primarily men, but also women) has its origins in legal, political, and socio-cultural attitudes and actions from approximately 40 years ago (i.e. in the mid-to-late 1970’s). The author further contends that those attitudes and actions had their roots in decades, and even centuries, of history across the legal, political, and socio-cultural spectrum of American race relations.

This history, the author suggests, combined to shape the experiences and perspectives of black citizens desperate to reduce their racism-defined suffering by any means necessary, including the use of drugs and the deployment of violence. Their desperation, the author adds, led to the shaping of vividly contrasting experiences and perspectives – those of black leaders determined to improve black lives across America by establishing laws and identities defined by lawfulness, dignity...

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This section contains 2,074 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Locking Up Our Own Study Guide
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