I won’t lie: this book is a hard read. It took me weeks, actually - I first checked it out in December. And it was a harder read than I expected. Where <i>So You Want To Talk About Race</i> and <i>You Can’t Touch My Hair</i> had humor elements or were primarily humor, this was a head-on look at how white fear is crushing minority groups in the US, especially Black people. There is little that the average white person wants to confront less than their own fear, and while I’d like to be better, I am no exception.
Hayes draws on his own experiences covering news in Baltimore, Ferguson, and from his childhood in New York City to bring out how pervasive and ugly this fear can be. He takes us with him into a police training designed to assist them in determining whether to use their guns, and into the streets following the acquittal of the police officers in Missouri. Hayes spends a lot of time talking about the “broken window” theory of crime management and detailing how it came to pass. He also notes that it’s hard to say if it has actually had any positive effect.
The book’s title comes from Hayes’ thesis that there are really two different Americas: the Nation, where order is paramount and white people live, and the Colony, where PoC are forced to live and where white fear calls for SWAT teams instead of deescalation. It’s not a comprehensive survey of the factors keeping PoC down - he doesn’t really touch much on the school to prison pipeline, for instance. His issue is very much the way that white people prize “order” so much that they are willing to regard others as less than human.
Five of five stars. But be ready to read it in chunks.
Seemed like he was referencing others' books within his book (for example, Michelle Williams' "The New Jim Crow"). I've read all those, so was hoping for a fresh perspective. Instead, I got a book that appears to be cobbled together from the words of other people. This tactic is reminiscent of most white cis men. I wish he would have done better and used original work.
Chris Hayes' idea that we are levelling down our criminal justice system instead of using it to promote lawful behavior is on the mark. A previous reader criticizes him for not including the economic bias against the "colony" is a reasonable one. Other books have done this well and I think the points Hayes makes are ones that need to be considered as well.
Chris Hayes, doing what he does best, injecting Identity Politics to misdirect or redirect attention away from the socioeconomic issues - - always blaming everything on racism or sexism or this ism or that ism, and never examining the core problems, as if racism were to disappear tomorrow, life would be hunky dory, and nothing has to do with the economic warfare of the super-rich on the rest of us.
Please keep in mind that Hayes was awarded his position on TV as a result of his so-called // debunking \\ of that Trans-National Highway [whose plans back then be found on the CFR website, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce website, and various other biz sites] which was hopefully circumvented by a grassroots activist movement in the Texas region. [i.e., building a hugh superhighway through the central area of America and Canada, connected to a western deepwater port off the coast of Mexico, thereby avoiding longshore unions and teamsters unions]
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