The Shadowproof Mailbag
Welcome back to the Shadowproof Mailbag.
As I mentioned last week, I took the weekend off to enjoy Connecticut and New York City. I reconnected with family and a friend from middle school. Now I’m back in Austin, and enjoying all the great comments, tweets, and feedback we’ve received.
Below you’ll find some selections from the best reader feedback, and a few of our thoughts. Remember, this is an open thread — I’d love to chat in the comments below. Tell me whatever is on your mind, or share links you’ve enjoyed recently.
Giving credit to #BlackLivesMatter
Last week, Desiree Kane shared video she shot of a Black Lives Matter protest during a Jeb Bush rally. On Facebook, I asked, “Why do you think the mainstream media is so reluctant to give this movement credit for changing the conversation during this election season?”
Jim Dixon responded,
The press is afraid to have the conversation themselves. It would require that they acknowledge their own racist reporting by not reporting. Let’s face it. All you have to do is take a look at the press reporting on food stamps. You will see a picture of people sitting on the step in the hood and seldom a picture of the white rural people. They are responsible for reinforcing the narrative of the 1% which has been used to divide people forever in this country. They are complicit with the slave masters of old.
I think Jim is onto something here. In addition to their unexamined racism, the mainstream media always seems reluctant to acknowledge the effectiveness of popular protest, from Occupy through to today’s movements for police accountability and racial justice.
On payday scammers
Last Thursday, Dan revealed how “Data Brokers Charged For Selling Payday Loan Info To Scammers.” On Facebook, I asked, “Is it possible to reform the payday loan industry, or does it need to be destroyed?”
Carl Howard responded,
At its core, the industry is predicated upon predation.
That’s a fancy way of saying they’re based on targeted theft. If they are unable to maintain a base in predominantly low wage neighborhoods and to charge usurious interest rates, they’ll lose interest and disappear.
Further, in these neighborhoods, their worst enemies are a Fair Wage and an expanded job base, because these are the phenomena which render them unnecessary.
It’s not unlike how Wall Street went from a source for startup capital for new businesses to “rent-seeking vampires” that cost the economy $20 trillion dollars in the 2008 financial crisis.
Stop & Frisk in Illinois
On Friday, Kevin examined a controversial Stop & Frisk settlement between the ACLU of Illinois and the Chicago Police. He revisited the topic in his “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast, interviewing Page May, a member of We Charge Genocide, about the settlement.
After doing some work for the ACLU of Ohio this summer, I see both sides of how this worked out.
I think it’s obvious that the ACLU did some capitalizing off the work of these black and brown led groups. Transformative power comes from grassroots movements generally, and I wouldn’t say it should be any different here.
At the same time, I know what the ACLU’s goals are and how it sees reform as a means to improve the conditions of folks as it pertains to their personal liberties, and in this case, it seems that the deal being brokered might mean some good things in the end. The way the org went about it though is undercutting for sure though.
The young black organizers leading these local grassroots groups are not going to allow their efforts to be stymied by the ACLU. They will keep fighting for what they believe should really be done about stop and frisk and other police issues.
So, the big question to ask is whether the ACLU is okay with being further isolated in the Chicago community. The local chapter appears to have acted as if it could collaborate or assist these activists. Now, [the ACLU] has to regain trust because most activists see them as being in their ivory tower judging what activists choose to do while at the same collaborating with the city to get a deal that ultimately allows the police to avoid harsher accountability.
By the way, since a few people have asked, here’s the Unauthorized Disclosure RSS feed that you an add to your favorite feed reader or podcast app.
‘I was petrified of being injured’
Brian’s series on privatized prison healthcare, “Gaming the System,” concluded on Monday by examining how Advanced Correctional Healthcare defended Dr. Ronald Davis, one of its most troubled jailhouse physicians. Once again, our readers shared their own experiences with the dehumanizing prison-industrial complex.
Artie Alfreds described a troubling legislative see-saw between public and private jailhouse healthcare:
I worked at our County Correctional Health for 10 years, but had to use my civil service privileges once we were privatized; then after 2 different private companies, with ensuing scandals, the county decided to move its Correctional Health back to us public employees. After another 5-10 years, they decide again to privatize.
In the same discussion, Jen Centers provided a former prisoner’s view:
I sat for 37 days in jail, I was petrified of getting injured. The care was so poor and I was well aware that an injury could easily be a death sentence there. It was horrifying to see how injured inmates were treated. When I read of someone dying in jail, it’s never surprising. This system needs to be desperately fixed.
Additionally, Brian asked me to highlight some tweets he’s received recently in response to his Prison Protest reporting:
Mike Katz-Lacabe has some ideas about why Advanced Correctional Healthcare keeps getting contracts:
Ken Montenegro wants to know why we keep “reforming” an utterly broken system:
‘I’m sorry, Worker Dave, I’m afraid I can’t give you time off’
Everyone in the newsroom enjoyed this disturbing “2001”-inspired scenario, inspired by Dan’s coverage of biometric surveillance in the workplace, one of this week’s most popular articles:
Thanks for the laugh, Michael Wyman!
In conclusion …
- This introduction to our community is a good place to start if you want to know how you can help us make Shadowproof a better and more welcoming place.
- We encourage you to share feedback, ideas, links, music recommendations, and even silly jokes in the comments below. Also, don’t forget you can Share Anything With Us
With <3 and Solidarity,