Home | About | Donate

How A Broken Tail Light Leads to Death


How A Broken Tail Light Leads to Death

Karen Dolan

The situation that led to the alleged murder of Walter L. Scott by a white police officer in North Charleston SC is indicative of the crisis created by the growing criminalization of poverty in America and the persistent de-humanization of black people.


Ms. Dolan, your article is right on and important until you fall back on the ridiculous WE frame, as thus:

“We’ve created a perfect storm of poverty, fear, social control and racially charged policing.” (Thanks to a brave young man with a cell phone, we now have proof that a broken tail light can get you killed if you are poor and black in America.")

Your concluding statement reflects a sloppy analysis due to its grand generalization. Who is the WE? Is the Black community part of that frame? How about poor people like those put in jail (and charged by the day for their own incarceration) in low income pockets of Alabama and other states?

The ACCURATE frame might say that thanks to a growing Draconian police state, the planners and architects behind Homeland Security, the corporate overlords who have greased the skids to allot themselves more and more profits off the labor of the working class, and the lobbyists who represent odious entities like Corrections Corp. of America and thereby push congress critters to build more jails and prisons… that a major infrastructure is in place that REQUIRES warm bodies the way expensively-run hotel chains require guests.

Falling back on the all-encompassing we frame suggests that these authoritarian policies have the public’s support.

As the Page & Gilens Study recently made clear: Almost NO policy decisions and determinations passed in recent years reflect public consensuses or majority opinions.

So any writer who still falls back on this one-size-fits-all WE frame deserves to be called to the mat.

It’s a slick way of making the actually responsible parties invisible, and I, for one, am friggin over it!

Karen Dolan