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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 62,510

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Criminalization, Race and Food Access in a Time of Hyper-Afrophobia

Black and brown people deserve the right to LIFE, liberty and the ability to pursue happiness. Black and brown people deserve the right to access quality food. Those rights are connected.

Last week, thousands of people marched the streets all over the country for Trayvon Martin, after the teen's murderer was acquitted, in part, because of racist imagery painted on Trayvon, making this dead young black male guilty of his own murder. People all over took to the streets in outrage afterward, calling forth the question of the worth of black bodies and the need to challenge the assumed criminality of blackness. It just wasn't fair that the person who was murdered was assumed guilty and more on trial than his "innocent" killer, who supposedly feared for his life.

The assumed criminality of blackness is a major issue and enforced in myriad ways by media, police, judges, prosecutors and the lack of resources to prove innocence. Racist imagery and assumptions not only instigate shortened life spans for young black and brown bodies, they also underlie harmful public policies that lend to the creation and maintenance of a permanent underclass in this country.

Take for example, an amendment to the farm bill recently passed through the US Senate. In May of this year, Senator David Vitter of Louisiana added a vicious amendment to the farm bill, one of the largest pieces of legislation affecting our ability to access food. In addition to a devastating $4 billion cut to food stamps in the farm bill, the US Senate passed Sen. Vitter's amendment barring anyone convicted of a violent crime from ever being allowed to access SNAP (food stamps) ever again. Ever.


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