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Response to busterbrown (Reply #58)

Wed Dec 18, 2013, 08:56 PM

59. Awareness is a crucial first step -

but there's so much that - even with the best intentions - I'll never be able to see all of the ways in which my actions or thoughts are subtly influenced by living in white skin, rather than some other color.

But as to the first Republican judge I clerked for - it was shortly after the mandatory minimum sentence laws started being hot (and imposed at the federal level). It really tore him up to not be able to take into account the life circumstances of the individuals he was sentencing - both because he knew that the inflexible rules meant disparately heavy sentences imposed on minorities and people living in poverty (who tended to rack up more "points" just by living than those with lighter skin and more resources) - and because he knew that prison was not the place to salvage a life. When his assessment was that the life was salvageable (regardless of the skin holding it), he desperately wanted the flexibility to be creative in sentencing.

Although his analysis about how to solve poverty might not have been the same as mine (I don't recall we had a conversation about it), I am confident that race played no role in it (other than the subtle stuff that none of us with white skin can avoid).

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LineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineReply Awareness is a crucial first step -
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