It's going to be an abbreviated reading list this morning, but I'll make sure you have plenty of material to get you through the day!
Vann R. Newkirk II, writing in The Atlantic, reminisces about growing up in the shadow of the Confederacy:
Indeed, as the legends behind the statues revealed themselves to me, so another truth was revealed: that I lived in occupied territory. I did not belong in the society represented by the statues, even though my ancestors had tilled the land for centuries. I was at once, somehow, a thrall and an invader. It occurred to me that it is not possible to both worship at the altar of the Confederacy and fight for the liberation of people like me. That fact may seem obvious now, but for my white classmates who wore Confederate flag shirts to class, even as they assured me that “I’m not racist,” the idea that one could celebrate the heritage without the hate held currency. And I believe that even today, many of those old friends tell themselves just that.
Emma Ketteringham, writing in The New York Times about the child-protection system, discusses the ways in which social policy misses the point when providing support for poor people:
There is a misconception that the child-protection system is broken because child services fails to protect children from dangerous homes. That’s because the media exhaustively covers child deaths, but not the everyday tragedy of unnecessary child removals.The problem is not that child services fails to remove enough children. It’s that the agency has not been equipped to address the daily manifestations of economic and racial inequality. Instead, it is designed to treat structural failings as the personal flaws of low-income parents. In that framework, the answer is not affordable housing or transportation, meaningful employment, health care or access to healthy foods, as it should be. Why is the focus always on removing children to foster care and imposing parenting classes? This never-ending cycle traps generations of low-income families in a punitive system of state surveillance and foster care. Worse, it makes parents fear contacting child services when they need help caring for their children.
The structural flaws described here stretch well beyond child-protection services, including education, health, welfare, and criminal justice. At almost every turn, we blame families for structural plights, while failing to hold systems, and the people in them, accountable for hastening social change.