The poor routinely vanish from city streets after encounters with police. They are swallowed up by jails and prisons for weeks, months or years for offenses often trivial or invented. These disruptions of lives have destroyed cohesion in urban communities, which live in heightened states of fear and troubling unrest.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s current attempt to close down 54 public schools largely inhabited by poor minorities is one more example of a savage, racist neoliberal system that uses the politics of austerity and consolidation to further disenfranchise unskilled youths in the inner city.
A thoughtful, personal essay by photographer Hank Willis Thomas makes the case that the cultures of America’s inner-city black communities, once dignified by the gains of the civil rights movement, have been steadily degraded over the last three decades by corporate capitalism.
David Kennedy, author of “Don’t Shoot: One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America,” spent more than 10 years in the worst corners of the worst cities in the country before going to Baltimore.