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Sami Schalk @DrSamiSchalk
, 14 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
Wow, that last #thread really took off. Let’s try another. I want to think with folks about how we can talk about #SurvivingRKelly outside the logic of the prison industrial complex.
Many of the people who responded to my last thread engaged in carceral logics saying some variation on “his ass should rot in jail” if not calls for his death. Are there other ways we can imagine justice, accountability and healing?
Prison abolitionist Mariame Kaba has said, as ppl raised w/ carceral logics it’s hard for us to imagine or desire alternatives. The #prisonindustrialcomplex has limited how we think about justice—even though other nations do things differently.
A lot of prison abolitionists & restorative justice activists, however, are working to imagine justice outside of the prison systems. @WalidahImarisha for example says all organizing is an act of science fiction—trying to make a world that doesn’t (yet) exist.
What could we imagine would hold R. Kelly accountable for the harm he has done that isn’t (or isn’t just) prison time? Paying for his victims to receive lifelong therapy & to attend school or get job training? A ban on contact with anyone under 21 years of age? Required therapy?
What would it take to have a full divestment from his music by platforms like @Pandora, @iTunes, @Spotify & @amazonmusic as well as having his record label drop him? How can we refuse as a culture to let him continue to have so much financial & social power?
I also encourage all of us calling for justice for black women right now to consider what it would mean to hold the many people who looked the other way, profited from, or facilitated R. Kelly’s abuse accountable.
One way would be for musicians who have worked with him to donate their royalties from that music to organizations which focus on supporting black women & girls and/or survivors of sexual and domestic violence. I’m sure there are other ways too.
What I’m trying to say is that I want us to stretch our brains to consider what we really want here (justice, social change, accountability, healing) and how incarceration of one or more person(s) does or does not move us closer to the thing we actually want.
When we’ve done that thinking we can include these alternatives in our calls for justice rather than relying on a racist, cissexist, ableist, homophobic, classist “criminal justice” system to help us as a society move past our racism, cissexism, ableism, homophobia, & classism.
For me the overarching questions are: How do we address the devaluing of black girls & women in our country? How do we look beyond this particularly bad individual to the many systems, including cult of celebrity & misogynoir, which allowed this individual to do harm for so long?
To me these questions reflect the deeper, harder work that is required next, once we’ve been vocal in support of black women survivors & opposition to R. Kelly, as I called for before. This is the work of imagining systemic & social change beyond our broken harmful system.
Adding this @BYP_100 article to my thread bc it’s a brilliant reflection on the struggle to imagine a world without prisons but believing fiercely in the need to turn away from the US’s patterns of violence & abuse that birthed the #prisonindustrialcomplex…
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