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Had a moment today at the jail when one of the guys told me he was reading Richard Rothstein's THE COLOR OF LAW & that he had never heard of "redlining" until now. Said the book helped him understand why his community looked the way it did & gave him language to name tht reality.
Some of the best moments as a teacher are when you watch the people you work with have moments of clarity, when a book helps them make sense of the world in a new way.

He grew up in a community that experienced redlining, but this book gave him the toolkit to name & analyze it.
We spoke for a while about how he was never taught this history & how at odds it was with what he heard growing up.

Black kids are told over & over again tht they simply need to work harder, but few ppl tell them the history that's been working hard against them for a long time.
This is especially important, I think, for incarcerated ppl, who have been fed a message that the reason they are in this cage is their fault & their fault alone.

But our prisons are filled w/poor, black, & brown ppl which we know is impossible to disentangle from that history.
It's not to say that personal responsibility doesn't matter, but it is to say tht those actions should be contextualized in the history they emerge from.

The data on what happens to redlined communities is clear, but rarely considered when ppl get involved in the justice system.
Anyway, it was an important reminder for me of how important historical & political education is for incarcerated ppl. How important it is for all of us.

This is why access to books for ppl in prison is essential. It can transform how they see the world & their place within it.
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