Let’s just pass right over the conditions this man faced in jail . . . we can give a miss to the “he said, she said” about whether he flooded his cell and got the water turned off as punishment or whether he flushed his food down the toilet in order to conduct a hunger strike. Two sides of this story and we may never get them straight.
But why, why, why in the name of all that is good and right and holy was this severely mentally ill man in jail from April to August awaiting a room in a mental health facility? Is this where our mentally ill people should go to await their assignment to a treatment facility? Jail? Would we be okay with that for *our mentally ill or disabled familymembers?
And even leaving aside the mental illness, is it appropriate to send someone to jail for four months for stealing $5 worth of food? Didn’t Les Miserables suggest to us that a life sentence for the theft of a loaf of bread is unconscionable?
The bail was high for this $5 theft but I submit that a white family would have had a different outcome here. Either the fine would have been lower or they would have found a way to raise it. Or, aware of their child’s mental illness, they would have found a sympathetic ear in the judicial system to let him out or never charge him in the first place.
Yes, we do still have quite a racist system in the U.S. You can’t imagine this *ever happening to a white family because it wouldn’t.
Please hear me when I say that I don’t regard our law enforcement officers as a racist cog in a non-racist system. Our whole system is racist. The law enforcement and judicial authorities are only following the dictates and preferences of a society totally soaked in racism, so deeply that we can’t even see it in ourselves.
Equal protection under the law is guaranteed but we constantly treat blacks differently, then justify that by saying that they are more violent than whites and *require different treatment. Blaming the victims of the system for the system.
We think of the most violent crimes ever committed by blacks and hold those out as representative of an entire race.
I know we do it. I have heard this my entire life.
And we need to stop slandering our fellow bearers of God’s image. Now.