This book is about Michael Lewis, who was arrested at age 13 and unjustly convicted of murder, but it is also a compendium of racism in America. It looks at the problem from several angles: Historical, social, judicial, economic, personal, statistical, and more. Taken together, we see a picture of racism persisting into the 21st century, with nearly 1 out of 4 blacks living below the poverty line (Non-Hispanic whites about 1 out of 12).
If you’ve ever watched a debate and wondered who was telling the truth, you may have wished, as I have, that they would just pick a topic and drill down to get to the bottom of it all. This book does just that, and apparently Brown defies anyone to challenge her on the facts, with 30 pages of footnotes, in fine print.
This book will arm you with points you can use in your conversations with racists. For example, with a person who complains about gang violence, I mentioned the white school shooters and the police brutalization of Amadou Diallo. When he lumped people of color together with terrorists, I reminded him of our tragic history of lynching, disturbingly evoked recently by the display of nooses in Jena, Louisiana and Columbia University in New York.
As a Green I was interested in the chapter about how Clinton essentially put the blame for crime and poverty not on government but on blacks themselves. This after slavery, Jim Crow, the KKK, institutional racism, and segregation. The book tells about how William Jefferson Clinton started his presidency at the plantation of Thomas Jefferson. While Jefferson got it right on the separation of church and state, his writings about blacks helped form the foundation for modern racism.
I was intrigued by the information that crack was introduced during the Reagan administration to help pay for the contras. Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News explored this in 1996.
Little B was placed in an awful situation, a situation that no one should be placed in. After completing the book I checked the Internet and sadly, Michael Lewis is still in prison. You can contribute to his defense fund at: http://www.elainebrown.org/littleb.htm