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← Colorblind :Rethinking Race (2012)

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Showing Revision 9 created 07/07/2019 by lam_jen.

  1. Talking about race like rocket science
    is something much more difficult.
  2. Scientists of all time will say that
    race doesn't really have meaning,
  3. scientifically or biologically.
  4. Race is complicated,
    racism is complicated.
  5. Racism is real, even if race is a lie.
  6. Race is just so fraught with issues
    of guilt, and shame and confusion.
  7. Racism is highly adaptable.
  8. It's like a subject in a family
    that's never discussed,
  9. and we just figure people will die off
    and they will go away.
  10. But it doesn't.
  11. (Regina Taylor) There was a time
    when racism was painfully obvious.
  12. We could easily recognize
    hatred and discrimination
  13. born out of the believe that some people
    are inherently inferior to others.
  14. While many believe that
    we're no longer plagued by racism,
  15. its roots remain deep, strong
    and fiercely resistant to change.
  16. Today, institutional racism
    functions so freely,
  17. that it is often dismissed
    as coincidental,
  18. isolated incidents
    that could happen to anyone.
  19. A closer look at black lives in America
  20. reveals that current conditions
    are not random.
  21. Though harder to see, modern racism
    touches every aspect of our society,
  22. making it more difficult to identify,
    and even more challenging to confront.
  23. This is not about good people
    or bad people.
  24. It is about mostly good people
  25. who are, nonetheless, finding ourselves
    a bad situation, a bad system.
  26. being conditioned by that system.
  27. The researchers found that
  28. if we're willing to acknowledge
    that condition,
  29. if we're willing to own that,
  30. to admit that it's part of who we are,
  31. we'd actually do a good job
  32. trying not to let that condition
    affect our behavior.
  33. (Regina T.) It is time for us to ask
    if we are truly a colorblind society.
  34. It is time to rethink race.
  35. ♪ intro music ♪
  36. (Tim Wise) Whether we're talking
    about the job market,
  37. whether we're talking about the schools,
  38. whether we're talking about
    the distribution of wealth,
  39. the justice system,
  40. the housing market,
  41. study after study,
    in virtually every case,
  42. with few, if any exceptions,
  43. demonstrate that people of color
    continue to receive differential,
  44. and usually inferior treatment.
  45. (Regina T.) Treatment that is
    embedded in our institutions
  46. and settled in far reaching ways.
  47. It's a system of rules, laws, policies
    and practices that operate
  48. to lock people into
    a permanent second class status,
  49. nearly as effectively as
    systems that we supposedly left behind.
  50. (Regina T.) Institutional racism
    is most pronounced and most extreme
  51. on lives of African Americans.
  52. Other ethnic groups experienced
    discrimination when they came to America,
  53. but in time,
    they were allowed to assimilate.
  54. Not so for African Americans.
  55. Unlike any other group, they were
    forcibly brought here to be slaves.
  56. By law they were considered non-human.
  57. Three fifth of a person.
  58. Property.
  59. Today, this ingrained racial bias
    continues to profoundly affect
  60. crucial aspects of African American lives:
  61. In health,
  62. criminal justice,
  63. education,
  64. and how wealth is created and sustained.
  65. I think wealth is really
    the most important issue
  66. that we can look at
    when we think about racial inequality.
  67. (Regina T.) When we work we earn income,
  68. which is not to be confused with wealth.
  69. Wealth is like a store pawn of resources.
  70. It's the income that's no used,
  71. it's investments, it's property,
  72. it's stocks and bonds,
  73. it's money from inheritance,
  74. and it's a special kind of money.
  75. (Regina T.) Wealth usually
    grows over time.
  76. But throughout history,
    for most African Americans
  77. opportunities to build wealth
    have remained out of reach.
  78. The average wealth
    of a white family in 2009
  79. was 20 times greater than
    that of a black family.
  80. That's the largest gap in 25 years.
  81. The wealth of a single white woman
    is US $41,000.
  82. For a single black woman: US $100.
  83. Wealth is one of the greatest
    creator of opportunity.
  84. (Regina T.) Wealth has been central
    to America's identity
  85. throughout the nation's history.
  86. Even the Founding Fathers recognized
    the importance of accumulating wealth.
  87. The first draft of
    the Declaration of Independence
  88. actually read, 'life, liberty
    and the pursue of property'."
  89. The point to start with is that
  90. African people were
    brought here as property.
  91. They were the wealth
    of some white families
  92. Jump forward to the Homestead Acts.
  93. (Regina T.) The Homestead Acts were
    a massive government giveaway of a land
  94. to any adult citizen
    who can earn a living off the land
  95. and build a shelter on it.
  96. 1862: 200 million acres of free land
    giving out to white folks.
  97. The Federal Government:
  98. "We'll give you a piece of paper
    that says you own it."
  99. Now, on the face
    the Homestead Acts were universal.
  100. However, the reality is --
  101. (Thomas Shapiro) People of color
    were pretty much excluded from that.
  102. It's a pivotal moment about how Americans
    as a society become property owners.
  103. And who has opportunity
    to accumulate and generate wealth.
  104. (Regina T.) The financial advantage
    that the Homestead Acts provided
  105. has benefitted Americans for generations.
  106. (Thomas S.) In many part of the country
  107. African Americans were not allowed
    to buy homes.
  108. African Americans were not
    allowed to own property.
  109. African Americans had great limitations
    put on them in most parts of the country
  110. about running or owning a business.
  111. Most financial institutions wouldn't deal
    with African Americans.
  112. (Regina T.) So, President Abraham Lincoln
    established a financial institution
  113. for former slaves and black soldiers:
  114. Freedman's Savings and Trust.
  115. Between 1865 and 1871,
  116. 37 bank branches
    were opened in 17 states.
  117. At one point the bank boasted
    deposits of US $57 million,
  118. or about US $937 billion
    in today's dollars.
  119. The savings were government protected
    until 1870, when Congress changed the law
  120. and allowed speculators to use the bonds
    for risky investments.
  121. And after years of neglect, mismanagement
    and [inaudible] on its assets,
  122. Freedman's Bank closed in 1874.
  123. African Americans lost their savings
  124. and the wealth gap between
    black and whites increased further.
  125. Financially, African Americans were behind
    and would never fully recover.
  126. What the history tells us is not a product
    of one group spending more than another,
  127. of conspicuous consumption, or
    lack of thrift, lack of savings habits --
  128. No, it's structured right into
    the playing out of our history
  129. in American society.
  130. (Regina T.) A history that systematically
    excludes African Americans
  131. while accusing them
    of depending on the government.
  132. And, at the same time, affirmative action
    programs for whites continue.
  133. Think the Federal Housing Administration,
    FHA Loan Program, began in 1934.
  134. (Regina T.) Under the FHA Program,
  135. the government made it easier
    to purchase a home
  136. by requiring only a small down payment.
  137. Prior to that, you literally have to
    reach into your wallet
  138. and pull out 95% of the purchase price
    in cash and hand it over.
  139. For the first 30 years,
    98% of all the loans,
  140. 120 billion dollars worth of
    preferential lending to white families.
  141. (Regina T.) Other government assistance
    programs that helped build wealth,
  142. included the GI Bill and
    the Social Security Act of 1935.
  143. (Thomas S.) When that Social Security Act
    was passed,
  144. not all occupations were covered.
  145. And if ask which occupations
    were not covered,
  146. those exactly were occupations
  147. where African Americans
    were concentrating the labor force.
  148. (Regina T.) Some of those excluded
    were domestics,
  149. railroad employees,
  150. and farm workers.
  151. Those occupations get brought onboard,
    but only in the 1960s.
  152. You think the GI Bill,
    technically for all returning veterans,
  153. but in practice people were allowed
    to discriminate against black GIs
  154. in certain jobs, in certain neighborhoods,
    in certain schools.
  155. (Regina T.) With government subsidies
    to build housing and interstate highways,
  156. Americans began to migrate
    beyond the city limits.
  157. (Thomas S.) The Federal Government
    doesn't give the money
  158. but he guarantees it.
  159. And we see the beginning
    of classic suburban America.
  160. One of the ones that's most classic
    and iconic to people is Levittown.
  161. (Thomas S.) Levittown had convenance
    in the titles on the land
  162. that not only did
    the original developers not sell it
  163. to people he didn't want there
    -- African Americans and others --,
  164. but if you were a white homeowner,
  165. you couldn't sell it to anybody
    that wasn't white themselves.
  166. (woman) I move here because
    it was a white community.
  167. (Regina T.) In 1950, the average house
    in Levittown sold for less than US $8,000.
  168. (Thomas S.) That same home today
    sells for about US $350,000.
  169. That is a prime moment of wealth creation.
  170. Government props created
    the white middle class,
  171. it created the suburbs,
  172. it created the housing boom,
  173. so now you've got
    government-race-based affirmative action
  174. for white people,
  175. and that's where we get these wide gaps.
  176. (Thomas S.) It's the difference
    between being a slave holder
  177. and being a slave;
  178. of acquiring property
    through the Homestead Acts
  179. and being shed out of the Homestead Acts;
  180. of working an occupation
    that is covered by Social Security
  181. versus working an occupation
    that's not covered by Social Security.
  182. It's a difference between
  183. having the wealth generating opportunities
    of buying a home in Levittown,
  184. and the thousands of
    Levittown-like-it across the country,
  185. and being systematically
    denied that opportunity.
  186. Those are not random nor haphazard events.
  187. That's what we call racism.
  188. (Regina T.) This type of affirmative action
  189. continues to allude African Americans.
  190. Historically, the most common way
    to build wealth is to purchase a home.
  191. In the last decade,
    African Americans and Latinos
  192. saw a blatant attack on their attempts
    to build wealth with the mortgage crisis.
  193. Buy the home,
  194. if that home increased in value
    over what you paid for it,
  195. that's the wealth
    that's being created in the home.
  196. When you're buying a home
    is supposed to be a benefit.
  197. But I don't see the benefit right now.
  198. (Regina T.) Karen McCormick believed
    she was doing a good thing
  199. when she found a home
    for her and her son.
  200. (Karen M.) I bought the house in 2002.
  201. I acquired the house on the market,
    very good price.
  202. (Regina T.) Karen's bank gave her a loan
    for the home of her dreams.
  203. She would soon learn that
    her loan was not conventional.
  204. The mortgage was subprime.
  205. Despise this misleading name,
  206. subprime loans actually come
    with a higher interest rate
  207. and less favorable terms than other loans.
  208. Karen's loan came
    with terms and conditions
  209. that would place her homeownership
    in jeopardy.
  210. The shameful history of
    the subprime lending spree
  211. is that it was very discriminatory.
  212. When we look at the communities
    that have been hardest hit,
  213. it is people in the African American
    community and the Latino community.
  214. (Regina T.) According to the US Department
    of Housing and Urban Development
    ,
  215. subprime loans are five times more likely
    in black neighborhoods
  216. than in white neighborhoods.
  217. We started getting complaints
    mid to late 90s
  218. when we started to see homeowners come in
  219. and they would bring us
    the stack of mortgage documents,
  220. and you start looking through them,
    and you could immediately tell
  221. there was something wrong
    there was something different.
  222. There were terms and conditions
    in those mortgages
  223. that had never been seen before.
  224. (Regina) What was different
  225. was the widespread and
    aggressive use of subprime loans.
  226. Subprime loans became popular
  227. because there was an inordinate
    amount of money to be made.
  228. (Regina T.) Money made
    by mortgage professionals
  229. who earned higher commissions
    for subprime loans.
  230. Many decided to take advantage
    of black and Latino homeowners
  231. In fact, if you're African American
    earning more than US $100,000,
  232. you were more likely
    to be put into a subprime loan
  233. than if you were white and
    earning less than US $35,000 a year.
  234. Just outrageous.
  235. (Regina T.) Karen's subprime mortgage
    started to increase,
  236. that when the adjustable
    interest rate grows,
  237. she was stuck with a note
    that she can no longer afford.
  238. And when I asked the bank
    to just lower the interest rate,
  239. they would not do it.
  240. You can't put people into loans
    at a low rate they may be able to pay
  241. but never qualify them at a higher rate,
  242. that ultimately they will have to pay
    in a couple of years.
  243. (Regina) Even when black homeowners
    attempted to work within the rules,
  244. they face problems from a system
    designed to lock them out.
  245. The loan modification process
    is designed to drain the consumer
  246. of every ounce of stamina they have.
  247. You just become zap after
    submitting and resubmitting,
  248. and having people tell you,
  249. "We didn't get it,
    send us another pay stub,"
  250. or "This package was denied,"
  251. or "You make too much money,"
  252. or "Oh, you don't make enough money,"
  253. I mean, after so much of that behavior,
    you lose your zeal.
  254. And I've tried everything
  255. and keep running into a brick wall.
  256. I'm not benefitting
    from keeping the home,
  257. I'm not benefitting,
    maybe if, I walk away.
  258. The economic crisis has affected
    the African American community
  259. in a way that has almost
    reinstilled the believe that,
  260. "I will never acquire wealth,"
  261. "This was a set-up for me
    to lose my home."
  262. I believe that we have been sold dreams
  263. that were unrealistic.
  264. What is frequently missed
    in the discussions here is
  265. the impact that the mortgage meltdown
    and the foreclosure crisis had
  266. on the overall building of wealth
    in the African American community.
  267. (Thomas S.) That was a devastating
    tsunami of wealth that was lost.
  268. About 60% of the entire wealth portfolio
    of the American middle-class
  269. is in their homes.
  270. That's how huge, how important homes are.
  271. (Regina) Karen was ultimately able
    to modify her loan,
  272. but thousands continue to suffer.
  273. People who struggled
    for years, for decades,
  274. to have a piece of this American dream,
  275. it's just been shattered.
  276. ♪ My country, 'tis of thee ♪
  277. ♪ Sweet land of liberty ♪
  278. ♪ Of thee I sing ♪
  279. ♪ our song ♪
  280. ♪ Further the faith that
    thy past has taught us ♪
  281. ♪ Land where my fathers died ♪
  282. ♪ Land of the pilgrims' pride ♪
  283. ♪ Let us all joy ♪
  284. ♪ To victory as one ♪
  285. (Regina) The wealth gap is rival
    by the worsening education gap.
  286. Together, they make advancements
    as a group nearly impossible.
  287. The promise of education
    as a ticket to a better life
  288. remains out of reach for many.
  289. Black schoolchildren are likely to have
    the least qualified teachers,
  290. attend under-resourced schools,
  291. and they are far more likely to be
    suspended, held back, or expelled
  292. than white students.
  293. Hey guys, don't forget
    you have to teach us the chant!
  294. (Regina T.) In Chicago, the students
    have created their own movement,
  295. one designed to address
    long-term disparities.
  296. In their quest for change, these students
    have earned the nation's attention.
  297. VOYCE - Voices of Youth
    in Chicago Education,
  298. a collaborative for education justice
    is led by students of color
  299. from seven community organizations
    and eight Chicago public high schools.
  300. VOYCE is different because there's
    student involvement, it's youth-led,
  301. the students are in the classroom,
    so they know what's really going on.
  302. (Regina T.) These students know
    the importance of education
  303. and are working together to fight
    one of the leading threats
  304. to African American education today.
  305. That threat is the harsh discipline policy
    known as "Zero Tolerance".
  306. (students together) We say it loud,
    we say it proud,
  307. Zero Tolerance should be a ban.
  308. (Regina T.) Across the country,
  309. Zero Tolerance has sent
    suspension rates sky rocketing.
  310. African American children
    are specially hard hit.
  311. Not only are they four times
    more likely to be suspended,
  312. their punishments are harsher
    than white's or Latino's.
  313. Zero Tolerance Program is a very,
    very serious thing going on right now
  314. and kids are getting dropped out,
  315. kids are getting pushed out
    of schools and everything,
  316. and we want to take care of it,
    and we want to do something about it.
  317. (Regina) In Chicago,
    a disparity in suspension is glaring.
  318. African Americans make up 45% of students
    but receive 76% of suspensions.
  319. We are fighting for our lives,
    this is serious.
  320. You can determine what
    the direction of education is in Chicago.
  321. But only if you believe you can do.
  322. Now, if you think you're
    what the news say you are,
  323. then we gotta change.
  324. (students) Let's do it!
    [inaudible yelling]
  325. They suspend people for the minor things
  326. instead of, I'm actually thinking about,
    a fair punishment for that.
  327. (Regina) Annually, millions of
    kindergarteners through twelve graders
  328. are suspended,
  329. mostly for non-violent infractions
    such as, dress code violations,
  330. bad language, truancy,
    or classroom disruption.
  331. He was suspended out of school again,
  332. putting him behind
  333. for falling sleep.
  334. (Tim W.) It's not because kids or color
    are acting out disproportionately,
  335. it's because of the perception
    that they violate rules more often.
  336. Every study done on this,
  337. and there have been
    at least 14 that I know of,
  338. suggest that there is no
    statistically significant rates
  339. of which people of color versus whites
    break certain school rules,
  340. such that they can justify
    the disparity in suspension rates,
  341. the disparity in expulsion rates,
  342. and yet, it happens anyway,
    so something is going on.
  343. We need discipline policies
    that are based in common sense
  344. and do not punish young people
    for minor misconduct.
  345. (Russell Skiba) The kids are aware that
    there's racial disparity in punishment.
  346. One study during the 1990s
    interviewed kids,
  347. and all of the kids were aware of the fact
    that the black kids and Latino kids
  348. were more likely to be disciplined.
  349. Then the white kids were saying,
  350. "Well, that's just kind of
    an accident, just happens,"
  351. and the black and Latino kids
    were saying, "No, this is on purpose."
  352. When I started elementary school,
  353. most of my friends in the early years,
    actually were black kids.
  354. We were treated profoundly unequally,
  355. they were being
    disproportionately punished
  356. even though we were all breaking
    the rules the same,
  357. they were being tracked
    into the remedial level classes
  358. and they white kids were being tracked
    into the upper level classes.
  359. It sends a very powerful message
    to our kids,
  360. when they think that the systems
    are purposely line up against them,
  361. and that those systems are arbitrary.
  362. If we're going to address
    racial disparities in discipline,
  363. then, by definition, we're going
    to have to talk about race.
  364. (Regina T.) Malik Lobbins is
    a typical 10-year-old.
  365. He enjoys playing on the playground,
  366. - What's up?
    - talking on the phone with his friends,
  367. drawing and reading.
  368. He also has a special bond
    with his dog, Carnegie.
  369. (Malik) He's just fun.
  370. He's very lovable.
  371. He's a cuddly dog.
  372. When you're sad, or when you're crying,
    or when you're sick,
  373. he'll come and just sit next to you.
  374. (Regina) Over the past three years,
  375. Carnegie has been sitting
    next to Malik a lot.
  376. Some days I'd come home crying
    and Carnegie would come
  377. and sit on my lap or whatever.
  378. I used to be this really happy, jumpy
    little kid who loves to do everything.
  379. And know it just like...
  380. I'm this kid who's afraid of everything,
    who's always looking over his shoulder,
  381. and for people --
  382. who you shouldn't be worrying about.
  383. (Regina) Malik's troubles started when
    he was eight years old and in third grade.
  384. That's when he transferred
    to Reavis Elementary School
  385. on Chicago South side.
  386. (Tracey Scott) When he first
    came to the school,
  387. it was day one,
  388. he was playing on the swings,
  389. and some little girls wanted
    to play on the swings,
  390. and Malik told them, "No, I don't want
    to get off of the swings."
  391. (Malik) Then they pulled me off
    from the swings, they beat me up,
  392. they scratched me, they punched me...
  393. (Regina) Malik hit back.
  394. His mother said he was suspended
    for striking another student.
  395. I was dumbfounded because of
    the fact that he suspended me
  396. when he should have suspended
    the people who came after me,
  397. instead of me.
  398. It was no reason to suspend me.
  399. (Regina) By speaking out,
    Malik was labelled a complainer,
  400. his mother says that's when he started
    to be bullied by the school,
  401. as well as other students.
  402. Suspensions started to pile up
    for minor infractions.
  403. From anything from being late to class,
  404. late from lunch,
  405. the uniform not being right,
  406. Malik's probably missed about...
  407. I've gotta say, about 45 days of school
    in one year, one school year.
  408. (Regina) Malik's grades started to drop,
  409. his outlook soured,
  410. and he started using
    the suspension policy as a way out.
  411. If I look at the school rules,
  412. and I see what gets a suspension,
  413. I would do them, so I can
    get out of school and be safe,
  414. instead of going to school,
    getting beat up, and still being good.
  415. I'd rather be bad at the moment,
  416. so I can get out of school
    and be safe at home.
  417. (Regina) Critics also claimed
    that suspensions are given
  418. with reckless impunity.
  419. Malik's mother and other parents
    say suspensions often go unreported,
  420. and are really undocumented removals.
  421. The official records still
    don't show the truth of
  422. how often kids are pushed out of school.
  423. For Malik and other students it adds up to
    days and weeks of lost instruction time.
  424. (Tracey) It's not that like
    they suspend them and they say,
  425. "Hey, here's a package of work
    for you to do while you're suspended".
  426. No, you're just going home
    and you're getting nothing,
  427. so they're getting bad grades
    when they come back to school...
  428. if they come back to school.
  429. (Regina) Research by
    the American Psychological Association
  430. suggest that kids who are
    suspended from school,
  431. even well behaved kids,
  432. are at a higher rate
    for future suspensions.
  433. (Thomas S.) It's not surprising
    that schools that use more suspension
  434. have higher rates of school dropout.
  435. (Regina) High teacher turnover
    seen in many urban districts
  436. also impacts the use of suspensions.
  437. You get one teacher and then
    there's this slew of substitutes,
  438. so which would never know really
    from day to day, what was going on
  439. so, it was really hard.
  440. They didn't know how to control de class,
  441. their alternative was just yelling
  442. and suspensions.
  443. There was no warnings, no detentions...
  444. you're suspended.
  445. (Regina) Reavis is a low-income school,
  446. its students are 100% African Americans,
  447. the majority of instructors are whites.
  448. This is a common pattern in urban schools.
  449. I still get the question,
    usually from white teachers,
  450. "Can white teachers
    teach black students?",
  451. and my answer there would be,
    "Race is influential."
  452. It's black and Latino students,
  453. whose behavior is most shaped by
    what they think the teacher think of them.
  454. So, when they think a teacher
    is making a real effort to teach them,
  455. they do better on all of those things:
    they come to class more,
  456. they come to class on time,
  457. they do their homework,
  458. they ask questions.
  459. (Russell S.) If we train our teachers
    to be aware of cultural differences
  460. and train them in classroom management
    techniques that are effective,
  461. given that teachers can learn
    not to escalate minor misbehavior.
  462. (Regina) Despite his experience,
  463. Malik is still committed
    to getting an education.
  464. (Malik) What would happen to me
    if I didn't go to school,
  465. I'll end up dumb, and
    I'll end up on the street one day.
  466. And I didn't want to be that.
    I didn't want to be that...
  467. I didn't want to make that
    a 100% of black man go to jail.
  468. I didn't want to make that.
  469. I wanna be a person
    who goes to college, find a career,
  470. not just land some job as an assistant
  471. for some big time lawyer.
  472. I wanna be more.
  473. You can't suspend these kids
  474. because some of them are not like Malik,
  475. and they can't bounce back.
  476. Somebody has to say something
    that change has to be made
  477. because we're just setting
    our kids up for failure.
  478. (Regina) And the settle push for failure
    happens at a very early age,
  479. even the youngest of children
    suffer unequal punishment.
  480. A recent study shows that
    African American boys
  481. are twice as likely to be expelled
    from state preschool programs
  482. than children in kindergarten
    through twelve grade.
  483. Children who most need
    the benefits of preschool,
  484. are being expelled at the highest rates.
  485. While we don't want
    to make charges of racism,
  486. these days really are
    a call towards self-reflection.
  487. To say, there are still
    traces of our history that
  488. are factored into our systems,
  489. and those thing are merged in subtle
    and unpredictable ways every single day.
  490. You have states in this country
  491. that are literally deciding
    how many prisons they're going to build
  492. based on how many black kids
    are reading below grade level
  493. and then they would say,
  494. "They are eight years old now,
  495. 20 years from now
    they're going to be imprisoned,
  496. we need "x" amount of jails
    to hold them."
  497. We're basically said,
    we're not here to school them,
  498. we're not here to educate them,
  499. that is a school-to-prison pipeline and
    you can't tell me that is an accident.
  500. (Michelle A.) There's absolutely
    a school-to-prison pipeline in place
  501. in the United States today,
  502. and it's often begins with an overreaction
  503. to a relatively minor infraction
    in the school.
  504. (Regina T.) Diminished wealth
    and inferior education
  505. perpetuate the racial inequality.
  506. But it is in the criminal justice system
  507. that we see some
    of the most damaging effects.
  508. I view the criminal justice system
  509. as a primary engine
    for sustaining racial inequality
  510. in the United States.
  511. (Randolph S.) In theory,
    the law is colorblind,
  512. but in practice, the law
    is very color conscious.
  513. (Michelle A.) Today, there are
    more African American adults
  514. under correctional control,
  515. in prison or jail,
  516. on probational parole,
  517. than we were slaves in 1850,
  518. a decade before the Civil War began.
  519. (Randolph Stone) After slavery,
  520. many Southern states
  521. erected a criminal justice system
  522. designed to keep black enslaved
    and to exploit slaves labor.
  523. A new system of racial control
    was born to replace slavery knowns as
  524. (Randolph S.) Convict Leasing Program.
  525. (Michelle A.) African American men
    were arrested in mass...
  526. (Randolph s.) ... and charge with crimes
    simply for not having a job.
  527. (Michelle A.) It was our nation's
    first prison boom.
  528. And it continues today more as
    in an institutional way.
  529. Today we have drug laws
    that says nothing in the text about race,
  530. but they are enforced in such
    a grossly discriminatory manner.
  531. And a lot of it it's attributed
    to the so called war on drugs.
  532. The drug war had relatively little to do
  533. with genuine concern about
    drug addiction or drug abuse
  534. and a great deal to do with politics
    --racial politics.
  535. We must wave what I've called,
  536. total war against public enemy number one
    in the United States:
  537. the problem of dangerous drugs.
  538. President Richard Nixon was the first one
    to coin the term war on drugs,
  539. and President Ronald Reagan turned
    that rhetorical war into a literal one.
  540. We're running up a battle flank,
  541. we can fight the drug problem
    and we can win.
  542. (Michelle) At the time
    he declared the drug war,
  543. drug crimes were actually
    on the decline, not on the rise.
  544. Numerous historians and
    political scientists have now documented
  545. that the war on drugs was part of
    a grand Republican party strategy
  546. known as the Southern strategy,
  547. using racially-coded-get-tough-appeal
    on issues of crime and welfare
  548. to appeal to poor
    and working class whites,
  549. particularly in the South,
  550. and this state of affairs created
  551. an enormous amount of fear,
    resentment and anxiety,
  552. but it also created an enormous
    political opportunity.
  553. (Lara T.) If you look at the arresting
    and conviction rates, however,
  554. it appears as though, people of color
    are the main people involved
  555. in using, abusing, distributing drugs,
    and it's just simply not true.
  556. Often the very source of a crime
    that occurs with roughly equal frequency
  557. in middle class white neighborhoods
    and in college campuses
  558. but go largely ignored.
  559. The way that the police treat
    the neighborhood
  560. is much different than they would
    treat a college campus.
  561. It's really difficult to explain to people
  562. how the police react differently
  563. in some communities
    than they do in others.
  564. Arrest for loitering,
    for disorderly conduct,
  565. for consumption of alcohol,
  566. for even disobeying police officers,
  567. just doesn't happen on campuses
    in the same way.
  568. There's kind of a, "Okay, it's enough,
    you guys had your fun, disperse,"
  569. versus, you know, the paddy way,
  570. and rolls in and arrest everybody.
  571. They focus on low income
    communities of color,
  572. so you have disproportionate
    arrest rates and conviction rates,
  573. particularly, in the drug area of bicolor.
  574. Most people who never go into
    these communities have no idea
  575. and they refuse to believe even
  576. that the police can treat people
    the way they do in certain communities.
  577. The misconception, I think,
    in a lot of the police forces is that
  578. if you add more black cops,
  579. you'll solve the problem of racism
    in the police department,
  580. and I don't think that that's true
  581. because the same institutions that trained
    white cops to act in a racist manner,
  582. would train black cops
    to do the same thing,
  583. and I think that the data bear that out.
  584. (Michelle A.) Well, the impact
    of mass incarceration
  585. is just devastating for families.
  586. It's been reported that
    a black child born today
  587. has less of a chance of
    growing up with both parents
  588. than a black child born during slavery.
  589. Roughly 80% of all black children
    in the United States can expect
  590. to spend a significant percentage
    of their childhood
  591. growing up without their fathers.
  592. And we're encouraged to understand this
    as a problem of deadbeat dads,
  593. but the research actually shows
  594. that black men who are
    separated from their children,
  595. actually make a greater effort
    to maintain connection and relationships
  596. than men of any other racial
    or ethnic group.
  597. (Regina T.) In addition to
    the tremendous toll
  598. the war on crime takes on black families,
  599. it's the climate of fear it creates.
  600. (Lara T.) We have to tell
    our young black men
  601. when they leave
    the comfort of their home,
  602. to be careful and to not take for granted
  603. that a person won't treat them
    as a criminal,
  604. when they are not doing anything wrong.
  605. In fact that you have to tell them,
    be prepared for that treatment,
  606. be prepared that someone will think
  607. that you're doing something wrong
    when you're not.
  608. And they soon get the message,
  609. that sooner or later,
    one way or the other,
  610. no matter if you stay in school
    and follow the rules or don't,
  611. you're going to be thrown
    to the pavement...
  612. (Lara T.) ... keep your hands visible,
  613. don't talk back,
  614. do whatever they say now,
  615. and hope that you're not getting
    thrown out to court later,
  616. because that's not worth dying,
    all right.
  617. It's impossible for me, as a mother,
    to protect my son from the police
  618. and that hurts me to say.
  619. I've worked alongside officers that
    I've respected, that I care for but,
  620. that doesn't mean that he's safe.
  621. My son should be able to leave in a space
    where he can drive down the street
  622. and not worry that someone is going
    to pull him over because he's black,
  623. search his car because he is black,
  624. find something that
    probably wasn't there to begin with,
  625. because he is black,
  626. and maybe send him to prison
  627. because he is black.
  628. It's not fair.
  629. And it's something that, as a hopeful
    person, it's hard for me to say.
  630. I don't want to believe that,
  631. but I have to...
  632. I have to, I can't dispute
    the evidence that is out there.
  633. (Regina T.) Further evidence
    of culturally accepted injustice
  634. is seen in the health disparity
    of African Americans.
  635. Nearly half of African American adults
    suffer from chronic disease
  636. compared to 39% of the general population.
  637. Blacks are less likely
    to have health insurance,
  638. access to quality care or proper nutrition.
  639. They suffer with higher rates
    of diabetes and obesity,
  640. and are more likely to die
    from cancer and heart disease.
  641. Many of these conditions
    are directly related to diet.
  642. The poorer the diet,
    the more likely the risk of poor health.
  643. Today, 420,000 Chicagoans
    live in food deserts,
  644. neighborhoods without fresh,
    healthy food options.
  645. Chicago has had a long history
    of segregation,
  646. and in Chicago,
    the food dessert is, primarily,
  647. in African American neighborhoods,
  648. and in primarily clusters on the West,
    South and Far South Sides.
  649. We have neighborhoods in Chicago
    that have suffered from disinvestments,
  650. not just from grocery stores leaving,
  651. but other types of disinvestments,
  652. from redlining from decades ago,
  653. from white flight,
  654. and they have not had
    the same kind of reinvestments
  655. that other neighborhoods have had.
  656. So, what we're experiencing
    in our community
  657. is really just a manifestation
    of not being able to catch up.
  658. And so, this access to food
    is really just symptomatic
  659. of the overall picture.
  660. Our food system in the United States
    has never been a just or fair food system,
  661. it's always been based on the exploitation
    of people's land or their labor.
  662. Absolutely, there's a connection between
  663. diet related diseases
    and the inequities of the past.
  664. (Regina T.) One of those past inequities
    came as a result of government policies.
  665. In the name of progress, efforts were made
  666. to improve transportation
    through American cities in the 1960s.
  667. Unfortunately, many stable
    urban communities were destroyed
  668. by the construction of interstate highways.
  669. (Tim W.) When you do that and
    you reduce commercial viability,
  670. you end up deliberately devastating
    these spaces in the name of progress,
  671. and then of course you get food deserts,
  672. and you have places where folks
    don't have adequate access to nutrition.
  673. (Regina T.) Understanding that
    there's an undeniable link
  674. between food and health,
  675. doctor Jifunza Wright Carter,
    a Chicago physician,
  676. made nutrition the focus of her practice.
  677. (Dr. Jifunza W.) I knew that I wanted
    to be a healer all my life.
  678. I always wanted to do natural medicine,
  679. and so, the vision for me has been to
    be able to bring wellness and prevention
  680. to a community, to families,
    to a large number of people.
  681. Yes, did the acupuncture help?
  682. - (patient) Yes, it did.
    - (Dr. Jifunza W.) Okay.
  683. (Dr. Jifunza W.) Food is medicine.
  684. Bottom line is,
    what's so profound for me is that
  685. diabetes, cardiovascular disease
    and cancer prevention are rooted in
  686. intervention and healing
    happening in the body.
  687. You go girl!
  688. Food can actually prevent and intervene
    in all three of these illnesses.
  689. And if we make eating healthy
    something that families share,
  690. friends share,
  691. something that our communities share,
  692. then we begin to transform.
  693. (Regina T.) But eating healthy
    isn't just a matter of personal choice.
  694. The ability to get healthy food is also
    dependent on access and affordability.
  695. (Ladonna Redmond) There are communities
    that can afford to have a Whole Foods
  696. or another kind of supermarket,
  697. and another community has to have
    a Supervalu or a Save A Lot,
  698. or shop at a drugstore
    in order to get their groceries,
  699. their food system is fragile.
  700. (Dr. Jifunza W.) These are about
    40 different medicinal herbs.
  701. (Regina) In an effort to help supply
    healthier food options
  702. to Chicago South Side neighborhoods,
  703. Dr. Jifunza, her husband Fred Carter,
    and their son Akin
  704. grow organic food in rural
    Pembroke Junction, Illinois.
  705. (Akin Carter) We're harvesting
    the seeds right now because
  706. unfortunately, with a lot of plants
    when they go to seed,
  707. they, like, stop growing the leaves,
  708. that's why the leaves
    are not so big right now.
  709. (Dr. Jifunza W.) The quality of our food
    is directly tide
  710. to the quality of the soil
    that the food is grown in.
  711. It's a no-brainer.
  712. If there's some way that we could support
  713. increased production of sustainable
    organically grown vegetables,
  714. then we can have healthier people,
  715. eating healthier food,
  716. from healthier soil.
  717. (Regina T.) Since before the Civil War,
  718. Pembroke Junction has been home
  719. to one of the largest
    black farming communities
  720. north of the Mason-Dixon line.
  721. A stopover on the Underground Railroad,
  722. Pembrok offered protection and
    some of the richest farmland in the state.
  723. (Dr. Jifunza W.) It's one of
    the most prized ecological systems
  724. in all of the State of Illinois.
  725. It's still considered some of
    the best places to grow vegetables,
  726. and vegetables are the most
    therapeutical medicine that there is.
  727. (Regina T. ) Many black farmers
    can no longer afford to farm
  728. this rich, mostly organic soil.
  729. (Fred Carter) That's the tragedy
    of this whole thing out here.
  730. It's a lot of land owned by blacks
    but they don't farm it.
  731. (Regina T.) Black farmers
    are rapidly disappearing.
  732. At the start of the 20th century,
  733. black farmers owned
    15 million acres of farmland.
  734. By the 1980s, that number
    has dropped to 3 million acres.
  735. Today, only 1% of the nation's farmers
    are African American.
  736. For decades, black farmers
    have been systematically excluded
  737. from government loans
    to help them maintain their land.
  738. The institutional racism
    around agriculture
  739. that prevented black farmers
    from having resource access,
  740. got other farmers here.
  741. (Regina) In 1999, they won a
    US $1.2 billion discrimination lawsuit
  742. against the Department of Agriculture.
  743. The money came too late
    to save many farms.
  744. Hello?
  745. Hey, Mr. Franklyn, how are you doing?
  746. I'll be here, at the Betty Shabazz.
  747. (Regina T.) The Healthy Food Hub,
    operated by the Carter's
  748. offers affordable, natural and organic
    fruits and vegetables year round
  749. at the Betty Shabazz
    International Charter School
  750. on Chicago South Side.
  751. (Fred C.) We looked at every possible
    scenario around creating a system.
  752. From the seed all the way
    to the supply chain.
  753. We want to be able to have control
    and input into that whole link,
  754. the whole chain.
  755. - (girl) Where is this going?
    - (man) This one here, there.
  756. ♪ music ♪
  757. Dan's [inaudible] green
    are absolutely beautiful.
  758. (girl) I think this is pretty good.
  759. We're shifting the paradigm
    from being consumers,
  760. to being investors
    in the local food economy,
  761. and the building, the creating and
    the growing of a local food system.
  762. (Ray Thompson) The reason why
    is important for us to grow our own food,
  763. it's so we can ensure
    that the food is healthy.
  764. But also to educate the masses for folks
    who might be interested in farming,
  765. specially young folks,
  766. getting them interested in urban farming
  767. because the impact
    that the increase in food cost--
  768. the health impact is really
    going to affect their generation.
  769. (Regina) For Thompson, that health impact
    is not only business, it's personal.
  770. (Ray T.) Three years ago
    I weighted 250 pounds.
  771. The doctor sat me down and said:
  772. *"Mr. Thompson, you're a ticking time bomb.
    You're going to die, and you're only 32."
  773. "Look at your numbers, your liver is off.
    It looks like you have liver disease."
  774. "Do you drink?"
    I said, "No, I don't drink."
  775. She says, "Well, it looks like you have
    a serious alcohol problem."
  776. Then I found out that the food we eat
    can make your liver look like
  777. you have an alcohol problem.
  778. So, I made a significant lifestyle change.
  779. (Regina T.) Part of that change,
  780. healthy food choices
    and exercising every day.
  781. (Ray T.) From 250, I now weight 185.
  782. You want some kiwi?
  783. The problem is, there's too much
    consumerism in America,
  784. That's an old way of thinking.
  785. We buy everything.
  786. We buy happiness.
  787. We buy our love.
  788. We buy health.
  789. We're actually just buying illness
    and we don't realize it.
  790. (Regina T.) "Fresh Moves" is
    a mobile grocery store
  791. that delivers fresh produce
    to West Side food desert neighborhoods
  792. on a retrofitted public bus.
  793. (Dara Cooper) Fresh Moves
    runs now four days a week.
  794. We're at hospitals, clinics,
    a lot of schools, and senior homes,
  795. and social service organizations.
  796. You will see us on any given day
    yelling out the streets:
  797. "Fresh food and vegetables!"
    (laughing)
  798. (in Spanish) Is that okay?
  799. Okay.
  800. We're constantly talking to people
    on the street every day about
  801. the fact that there are fresh food
    and vegetables in the community.
  802. Every customer that I've seen
    at Fresh Moves has a story about
  803. either personally suffering from some
    kind of food related illness or stress,
  804. or has a family member
    who's struggling with it.
  805. We like to preach,
    "Eat your fruit and vegetables",
  806. "Just say 'no' to fast food",
    you know, things like that,
  807. but it's very hard to choose
    healthy food if you don't have access.
  808. (Dara C.) The options that you have
    have been restricted
  809. to heavily processed food items,
  810. refined everything,
  811. white rice, white pasta, white sugar,
  812. high fructose corn syrup in everything,
  813. that is your option in your community,
  814. and again, overwhelmingly,
    black communities.
  815. - (in Spanish) Do you need a bag?
    - (in Spanish) No, this is fine, thank you.
  816. (in Spanish) You're welcome.
  817. (Dara C.) We accept food stamps,
    debit, credit, things of that nature
  818. to make it as accessible as possible.
  819. Our goal is to make sure that
    everyone can access fresh produce
  820. and have a healthy lifestyle.
  821. (Feguier Epps) I've been with Fresh Moves
    from the very beginning of the launch.
  822. This really has been a big privilege
  823. and I just appreciate the opportunity
    that I've been getting with Fresh Moves
  824. as far as helping communities.
  825. (Dara C.) Why don't we have
    access to fresh produce?
  826. Why don't we have
    more resources in our schools?
  827. It translates all across in terms of
    what's in our communities
  828. and what's not.
  829. We absolutely have to look at racism.
  830. For so many reasons, It's very clear that
  831. the quality of life for African
    descendants in this country
  832. has not been a priority.
  833. Massive incarceration,
  834. massive disinvestement,
  835. all of those issues that have happened
    specifically in the communities of color.
  836. (Dara C.) Well, this is spinach.
  837. (woman) This is the last of
    the spinach we have there.
  838. - (Dara C.) Are these recently harvested?
    - (woman) Yes.
  839. (Dara C.) I've come from
    the Healthy Food Hub
  840. and other organizations working
    on healthy food access,
  841. and I have relationships
    with farmers and --
  842. also just a deep passion
    for fresh produce and access.
  843. (Dara C.) You've never seen anything
    like this before ever, I promise you.
  844. - (boy) [inaudible] charge 50 cents, right?
    - (Dara C.) Yes, you can.
  845. (Dara C.) Our number one customers
    are young people.
  846. We have kids who are shopping themselves,
    with their own money,
  847. on the Fresh Moves bus.
  848. I always want to be interacting with kids,
  849. I want to get them onboard.
  850. (Feguier E.) Say, "I love fruits
    and vegetables!"
  851. (father) Say, "I love fruits
    and vegetables!"
  852. When a kid comes and hangs out
    and he has never tried an apple before,
  853. or he has never tried an orange before,
  854. I like to expose them
    to different choices in their food
  855. instead of just giving hot chips,
  856. or stuff that don't really have
    the correct nourishment,
  857. and really is just harmful to them.
  858. And they want fresh food and vegetables.
  859. And fresh in that, it tastes really good,
  860. and there's no selling there,
    there's no education needed in that way,
  861. because the demand is there.
  862. - Hey, there!
    - Hi, Glenn!
  863. - How are you?
    - Good, good, how are you?
  864. (Glenn) Good, good.
  865. (Dara C.) Welcome to Fresh Moves!
  866. - Show me around.
    - I'd love to.
  867. Show me around. Yeah... Wow!
  868. - So, this is Fresh Moves!
    - Yes...
  869. (Regina T.) Glenn Ford,
    a Minneapolis based entrepreneur,
  870. wants to build grocery stores
    in African American neighborhoods.
  871. Ford hopes to collaborate with Fresh Moves
    on production and distribution.
  872. (Glen F.) If you talk to some grocers who
    are supposedly experts in the industry,
  873. they will tell you that these communities
    are not excited about fruit and vegetables,
  874. and that's the reason why
    they don't carry it on their shelves.
  875. The true answer is,
  876. that all these things have a shelf life.
  877. It's not really difficult to have
    a box that sits on the shelf,
  878. and can sit there for a month and a half.
  879. But when you carry something
    that's fresh like this,
  880. you got to really be attune
    to our consumers,
  881. and no one can be a great retailer,
  882. if they are not truly
    in tune with consumers.
  883. I think what big retailers
    are arrogant about --
  884. they'll build some mega facilities
    somewhere,
  885. and make those consumers come to them.
  886. (Glen F.) We've been heavily marketed to
    by fast food industries,
  887. we've been heavily marketed to
    junk food industries.
  888. ♪ music ♪
  889. (Dara C.) That's why is so critical
  890. that we work hard
    to reclaim our community.
  891. We can grow food,
  892. we can create markets,
  893. we can educate ourselves,
  894. we can educate each other.
  895. (Regina T.) While good nutrition
    is the foundation of a healthy community,
  896. poor diet is not the only factor
    contributing to illness
  897. amongst African Americans.
  898. The effect of discrimination
    on blacks' health were equal
  899. to the effects of a high salt,
    high calories, high fat diet,
  900. and not enough exercise.
  901. So, those other things are real
  902. and we realized those are
    public health issues.
  903. But, what the research
    is telling us is that,
  904. discrimination is also having
    a public health effect,
  905. and yet, we don't call it
    a public health crisis.
  906. It's not every day that I feel that
    there's a lot of racism going on,
  907. but I do feel it from time to time,
  908. specially when dealing with the police
  909. Like, the police view you like,
    just because you're black,
  910. you're doing something wrong,
  911. and I get that every day, all day,
  912. and it's strenuous.
  913. (Regina T.) For Feguier Epps,
    stress not only comes
  914. from the pressure of
    being black and male,
  915. but also from the fact that
    he has a criminal record.
  916. (Feguier E.) I kind of like,
    got involved in drug trade...
  917. I know my mother is going to kill me
    when she hears about this.
  918. I kind of started at about 15, 16...
  919. One thing led to another,
  920. I kind of got deep in it,
    and it's just like...
  921. Once you get started,
    it's kind of difficult to stop.
  922. (Regina T.) By the time Epps was 17,
  923. he's been arrested and placed
    in the criminal justice system.
  924. (Michelle A.) Young kids of color,
    particularly kids living in the hood,
  925. are expected to pay for their mistakes
    for the rest of their lives.
  926. While kids in suburban
    white neighborhoods,
  927. kids in college campuses,
  928. can make those same mistakes,
  929. and stroll off to college or grad school,
  930. and go on with their lives.
  931. There's this very prevalent notion
  932. that the justice system
  933. is appropriate for black kids.
  934. We had a probation officer say to us,
  935. "It's so much easier
    to lock up black kids
  936. than it is to lock up white kids."
  937. Because, when you lock-up a white kid,
  938. not far behind it's gonna be somebody
    asking a million questions,
  939. "How could this happened?,
    What where you doing?".
  940. You rarely see white people
    in this system.
  941. (Feguier E.) I kind of,
    took it the wrong way
  942. as far as like,
    I'm in jail, I'll be a badass,
  943. and I'm not gonna have
    nobody to push me around,
  944. if I've had a little bit more of guidance,
    I might not have taken that path.
  945. (Dara C.) You get arrested
    and it doesn't end there,
  946. I mean, so you're in the pipeline
  947. but there are consequences,
    specially for felony arrests,
  948. it carries through the rest of your life.
  949. (Feguier E.) I went to college
    for a couple of semesters and
  950. I tried to get a couple of jobs but,
  951. due to the fact that I had a felony
    and I was on probation,
  952. it was kind of difficult to find
  953. employment opportunities.
  954. So many of the old forms of discrimination
  955. that we, supposedly left behind
    during the Jim Crow's era,
  956. are suddenly legal again,
    once you've been labelled a felon.
  957. Once people get convictions, of course,
  958. we know it's legal to discriminate
    against people with felony convictions.
  959. You can be stripped of basic
    civil and human rights,
  960. including the right to vote,
  961. the right to serve on juries.
  962. The vast majority of employers,
    something like two out of three,
  963. admit that they would never
    knowingly hire an ex-felon.
  964. You can't hang out,
    you can't go to school,
  965. you can't find a job, you can't go home,
    where do you go?
  966. Back to prison.
  967. (sound of police siren)
  968. It' s a very complicated
    and nuance system,
  969. but racism is at its core.
  970. (Feguier E.) I didn't really think about
    the repercussions at the time,
  971. all I was really focus on was
    what was the here and now,
  972. like, what I was doing right now.
  973. There's only two outcomes
    to living in this life now;
  974. it's either jail or death.
  975. I caused a lot of hardship and
    pain in a lot of people's lives.
  976. If I could take it back, I would,
  977. so it feels good to give back
    to the community.
  978. (Regina T.) Feguier was given the chance
    to contribute to his community through
  979. the North Lawndale Employment
    Network's U-Turn Program.
  980. (Coretta Rivers) Thank you all for coming
    to the U-Turn Permitted orientation.
  981. U-Turn Permitted is our
    four-week-job-readiness program,
  982. which is designed for individuals
    who have felony backgrounds.
  983. We take them to an extensive
    four-week program,
  984. in order to get them ready for employment.
  985. I went to the U-Turn Program,
  986. it helped me develop the job skills
    and gave me opportunities.
  987. It helps people starting all over,
  988. we're getting people second,
    third and fourth chances.
  989. (Regina T.) U-Turn graduates are placed
    in jobs at area's businesses,
  990. including U-Turn's own company,
    "Sweet Beginnings".
  991. Sweet Beginnings makes skincare products,
    which are honey-based products,
  992. we have a apiary right here, on one side,
  993. where the participants who work for
    Sweet Beginnings are able to extract honey
  994. and from that, they make products,
    which are all honey-based.
  995. (Regina Johnson) And all our products
    are infused with honey.
  996. - (woman) Everything.
    - (man) Everything.
  997. (Regina J.) The lotion, the body cream,
  998. the hand and foot body balm,
  999. the exfoliating scrub...
  1000. Honey.
  1001. The individuals that go through
    the U-Turn Permitted Program,
  1002. once they complete the program
    are eligible to work for Sweet Beginnings.
  1003. All the products are made by hand,
  1004. they do the labelling,
  1005. distribution,
  1006. shipping and handling,
  1007. as well as, they run the online store.
  1008. It's one of my first
    real job's experiences so,
  1009. it's actually fulfilling, you know,
    I love getting up in the morning and --
  1010. I have a daughter.
  1011. She gives me motivation to get up,
    to get out and accomplish things.
  1012. (Regina T.) Regina Johnson is
    a U-Turn's graduate
  1013. who's spent time
    in and out of the prison system.
  1014. (Regina J.) I started out young.
  1015. At the age of 16, I was out there
    selling drugs and doing drugs.
  1016. (Isabella's Burrell) Regina was
    a pretty good child.
  1017. (Regina J.) I went to a
    all-girls Catholic school.
  1018. With no real problems but,
  1019. I think coming into adolescence
    and some issues she had,
  1020. it developed into a problem
    that she basically did not handle.
  1021. I would never thought that she would have
    gotten into drugs the way she did.
  1022. (Regina J.) Once I started to sell drugs,
  1023. I started to ditch more
    and my grades failed.
  1024. (Regina T.) Regina was eventually arrested
    for possession, placed on probation
  1025. and sent to rehabilitation.
  1026. Which I completed successfully,
  1027. but there haven't been a real change
    in my behavior or my thinking pattern,
  1028. so, say nothing happened,
    I went back out there
  1029. thinking everything was all right
    and started selling drugs again.
  1030. So, this time I went back to school,
    I enrolled in college,
  1031. and I get caught again.
  1032. Yeah, I wasn't a really good drug dealer,
    that wasn't for me.
  1033. (Regina giggles)
  1034. (Regina T.) This time,
    Regina ended up in a penitentiary.
  1035. It was there when I just decided that
    this is not the life that I want to live.
  1036. I don't want to be
    in and out of the penitentiary,
  1037. wasting my life in high...
  1038. I just couldn't do it any more.
  1039. (Regina T.) Regina discovered U-Turn,
  1040. which she credits with
    transforming her life.
  1041. What we see is that from the beginning
    to the end of the program
  1042. that people's lives are transformed.
  1043. - Very nice to meet you.
    - Nice to meet you.
  1044. U-Turn helps you gain job skills,
    how to properly talk to an employer
  1045. so that, when you explain your background
    is not detrimental.
  1046. They receive many services through
    the North Lawndale Employment Network
  1047. which includes, financial coaching,
    as well as, income support.
  1048. They also teach anger management classes,
    help you expunge your record.
  1049. We watch videos about the bees and
    then we also have hands-on training,
  1050. where we go out and we feed them,
  1051. and clean out the house
    where we extract the honey.
  1052. The main goal is to protect the hives
    and to make honey.
  1053. - They don't sting...
    - (man) Ouch!
  1054. - (Regina J.) ... unless provoke.
    - (man) I need to go.
  1055. (Coretta R.) Quickly after
    people are employed here,
  1056. they get over their fear of bees,
  1057. and actually, fall in love with the bees.
  1058. Many other clients have stated that
  1059. once they have come to the program
    that works for Sweet Beginnings,
  1060. that they viewed themselves differently,
  1061. and they felt that
    others viewed them differently.
  1062. I'm on school right now to become
    a drug abuse counselor.
  1063. I can share my experience with others.
  1064. And I would say that, if no one
    has ever told you that you can make it,
  1065. I want to tell you that you can make it,
    I'm a prime example.
  1066. People tell me that I wouldn't make it,
    that I wouldn't be anything,
  1067. well, here I am.
  1068. (Regina T.) Regina had the good fortune
    to change her circumstances.
  1069. But black youth need more than that
    to meet the challenges ahead.
  1070. To create new opportunities, students
    at Ariel Community Academy
  1071. are finding ways to break free
    from the financial inequity
  1072. by learning about money and
    how to build personal wealth.
  1073. (Connie Moran) We have a
    focus on financial literacy.
  1074. That's extremely important,
    specially for minorities.
  1075. If we teach children about sex,
    we teach them how to read,
  1076. then it's almost sinful
    to not talk about money.
  1077. (Regina T.) From kindergarten
    through the eight grade,
  1078. Ariel's students learn the value
    of money and how to manage it.
  1079. Our Investment Program which looks at,
    not only how do you acquire money,
  1080. but how do you manage money over time,
  1081. and do you make the money work for you.
  1082. (Connie M.) Our incoming first grade class
    get a US $20,000 portfolio
  1083. -- it's real money --
  1084. that US $20,000 grow with the kids
    all the way to eight grade.
  1085. When they get to the middle school grades
    -- 6th, 7th, 8th grade --
  1086. we start to invest in stocks
    that we sell off with a net portfolio,
  1087. and we'll buy what
    the kids say we should buy.
  1088. They love technology, of course,
    we've owned Apple over the years,
  1089. we've owned McDonalds,
    and Timberland, and Microsoft, and...
  1090. you know, lot of consumer products...
  1091. each group of students is different
  1092. but they always bring
    something exciting to the table.
  1093. When they graduate in eight grade
  1094. students have the opportunity
    to take their share of the gains,
  1095. or put their gains
    in a college savings account,
  1096. which will be matched
    with a US $1,000 if they do so.
  1097. The other half of their proceeds,
  1098. they decide how they want
    to get back to the community.
  1099. I want to be my own CEO, so I can
    manage my own companies and things.
  1100. In investments you're learning about taxes,
  1101. and being married jointly
    or head of the household,
  1102. and we're learning about how
  1103. every time you get money
    you have to tell the government.
  1104. If you're a kid, and it's like
    summer time, or something,
  1105. and your neighbor or something
    pays you to walk their dog,
  1106. you have to tell the government that, too?
  1107. (Teacher) Well, you're supposed to.
  1108. My children are teaching me
    the ins and outs about wealth.
  1109. My children are actually,
    telling me about stocks, and bonds,
  1110. and investments, and savings,
    and interests, and things of that nature.
  1111. I've been here since kindergarten and
    it has helped me make choices because
  1112. my parents always say like,
    I'm the richest kid in the house.
  1113. They say I'm a rich kid because
    I listen a lot in class about investments.
  1114. My hope for the students
    that graduate from Ariel
  1115. is that they have life choices.
  1116. Not that they just make them,
    but that they have them.
  1117. That they have themselves prepared
    to investigate, and explore,
  1118. and experience everything
    that the world has to offer,
  1119. and that they are prepared to do it.
  1120. (Tim W.) When we can get kids
    to engage in solutions,
  1121. when kids can work together,
  1122. that can be very effective
    and very powerful,
  1123. as in the case of VOYCE in Chicago.
  1124. (Regina T.) VOYCE - Voices of Youth
    in Chicago Education
  1125. is working at Gage Park High School
  1126. to confront disparities
    and suspension rates
  1127. through peer-led conflict resolution.
  1128. Joel Rodriguez is
    an organizer at the school.
  1129. This community has faced
    a number of different issues.
  1130. As you see directly behind me,
  1131. there's a foreclosed building
    that is abandoned.
  1132. They're dealing drugs out of,
    homeless people are staying in there,
  1133. we have liquor stores everywhere
  1134. but yet, you have to work over
    a mile and a half, sometimes even more,
  1135. to go to a decent grocery store
  1136. that has fresh produce,
    that has vegetables,
  1137. and then we got the violence that exists,
  1138. so there's a lot of instability
    that exists within this community,
  1139. and that what our young people
    have to face day in and day out.
  1140. (Regina T.) The young people
    who attend Gage Park High School
  1141. get a daily reminder of
    the neighborhood's instability
  1142. when they enter the school.
  1143. (student) We go through this
    every morning.
  1144. (Regina T.) Metal detectors, cameras,
    private security and close scrutiny
  1145. are all used to prevent weapons and
    drugs from being brought into the school.
  1146. (school alarm)
  1147. (Regina T.) Security checks
    are part of a morning ritual
  1148. that's repeated in urban high schools
    across the country.
  1149. (James B.) Young people
    that do well in school,
  1150. are doing well in spite of the school,
    not because of the school.
  1151. And if you put 400, 500,
    1300 teenagers together all day,
  1152. in an atmosphere that is a school climate
    that has Zero Tolerance,
  1153. a no-touch policy, a no-this policy,
  1154. a we-can-look-into-your-locker
    any time policy,
  1155. at some point, I don't want to learn,
  1156. I'm pissed off all the time,
  1157. I'm not feeling this,
  1158. actually, I just want
    to go home and watch TV,
  1159. or I want to get out of here
    and hang out with my boys.
  1160. (Regina T.) Zero Tolerance
    is understandable
  1161. when illegal substances
    or violence are involved.
  1162. But studies indicate that the bulk
    of the suspensions and expulsions
  1163. result from minor infractions.
  1164. Ray Hagerty is the freshman Dean
    of Discipline at Gage Park High School.
  1165. There are certain rules that
    people just think of in school.
  1166. You're going to sit down
    and you're going to be quiet.
  1167. You're not going to swear.
  1168. You're not going to argue
    with the teacher.
  1169. In reality these things happen
  1170. and sometimes, people just
    fall back on the suspension.
  1171. You're suspended.
  1172. It can really be a frustrating job
  1173. when you're trying to teach these kids
    maybe a different way,
  1174. and sometimes,
    it takes a long time, you know.
  1175. You have the same conversation over,
    and over, and over with somebody,
  1176. and it's just like,
    I got to do something, I got to --
  1177. there has to be some kind of discipline,
    there has to be a consequence.
  1178. I haven't met a school administrator
    who loves kicking kids out of school.
  1179. But it happens because schools
    often believe they have no alternative.
  1180. They either have come to believe
  1181. the perspective that suspension
    or expulsion are necessary.
  1182. Many schools don't have options.
  1183. If you look at
    the Student Code of Conduct,
  1184. you have Parent's Conference,
  1185. you have in-school or detention,
  1186. or you got out-of-school
    suspension, that's it.
  1187. And we're seeing that they don't work.
  1188. (Regina T.) For Ray Hagerty, it was
    a military assignment in Afghanistan
  1189. that helped him to understand
    why these policies don't work,
  1190. and how to better connect with the kids.
  1191. (Ray H.) We all kind of
    went over there with anger,
  1192. and not really understanding.
  1193. It was no longer after
    the September 11th attacks,
  1194. and we just went over there
    and it's, you know, it's everyone,
  1195. it's all the Afghan people,
    they're all bad.
  1196. What we realized over there,
  1197. 90% of this people are wonderful.
  1198. They were born in this country
  1199. and this is what they've known
    their entire life,
  1200. and that's who they are.
  1201. And so, when I came here,
  1202. they are very different
    from the people I grew up with,
  1203. but it doesn't matter.
  1204. There are so many great kids here.
  1205. Places like Gage Park High School
    could get a bad reputation sometimes.
  1206. You see it on the news because
    something happened to a kid.
  1207. There's a few arrests
    because of situation happened
  1208. and it's on the news.
  1209. But in reality is that same situation,
    that 90% of people.
  1210. Three kids get arrested,
  1211. but 1,100 are doing good.
  1212. But those three kids are
    the ones that are seen.
  1213. (Regina T.) Jennifer Fleck
    has been teaching for ten years.
  1214. She believes that
    the high rate of suspensions
  1215. can negatively impact
    both students and teachers.
  1216. Because if a student has a chronic issue,
    it's chronically being disruptive,
  1217. and if they're removed from the class,
  1218. then the class is going to go
    a little bit more smoothly.
  1219. But, at the same point,
    for me, as a teacher,
  1220. in terms of what I'm trying
    to teach the kids,
  1221. they're just a complete disaster,
  1222. because what happens is
    the student is out of class,
  1223. a lot of times they want
    a strong student to begin with,
  1224. so the child is still in the same position
    as they were before they got suspended,
  1225. but now they've come back
    and, in addition to all of that,
  1226. they've missed however
    much school work in my class,
  1227. and now the look at their grade,
  1228. and now they're discouraged
    and angry because now,
  1229. on top of everything,
    they're failing science.
  1230. So, from that standpoint,
  1231. suspensions, sometimes, feels like
    it does more harm than good.
  1232. (Regina T.) Realizing that suspension
    has reached unreasonably high levels,
  1233. Gage Park High School initiated a
    Restorative Justice Program for freshmen.
  1234. Restorative Justice allows
    both parties in a conflict
  1235. to talk through the issue
    before disciplinary action is taken.
  1236. It gives us an opportunity
    to talk to students,
  1237. and help them understand that there are
    consequences for all kind of behavior,
  1238. negative and positive.
  1239. And sometimes, you get a break,
  1240. and with the Restorative Justice Program
  1241. it gives them that little break
    that they need to change their minds.
  1242. I'm not saying it works
    for 100% of the students,
  1243. but it does work
    for the majority of the students,
  1244. and that is our goal,
  1245. to help as many students
    as we possibly can.
  1246. Sometimes when students have problems,
    they are used to being pushed away,
  1247. they're used to people going
    on a different direction with them,
  1248. rather than trying to help them understand
    what their responsibility is,
  1249. how they are accountable
    for their behaviors.
  1250. We're going to try to do
    what they're doing
  1251. over in the country day schools
    and the risk schools.
  1252. When there two kids get in a fight,
  1253. they are not handcuffed
    and sent to juvenile hall,
  1254. somebody picks up those two kids up
    and says, "Why are you fighting?",
  1255. that's called Restorative justice.
  1256. What those parents are paying
    for sending those kids
  1257. to the country day schools
    and the high-functioning schools,
  1258. what they're paying with their money
    is tolerance.
  1259. Poor people get Zero Tolerance.
  1260. (Regina T.) Restorative Justice
    requires a shift in power
  1261. from the traditional
    teacher-student relationship;
  1262. such changes could be
    challenging to implement.
  1263. There's definitely teachers that are...
  1264. This term that they like to use is,
    "I'm old school".
  1265. But don't be so prideful.
  1266. We're not any different than these kids.
  1267. Get on their level, show them respect,
  1268. and I would go and bet you
    my entire paycheck for the year,
  1269. that they are going to show you
    that respect right back,
  1270. and you're going to have
    a much better relationship with them,
  1271. you're going to be able
    to teach them stuff
  1272. that you never thought
    you could teach them.
  1273. What says in peer jury,
    stays in peer jury.
  1274. We call it confidentiality.
  1275. (Regina T.) Volunteer students
    are trained to conduct peer juries.
  1276. Hearings in which students
    seek alternative solutions to discipline.
  1277. This is one thing that we really stress,
  1278. and I think that what makes
    the peer juries system very successful
  1279. is that we do not look for
    honor roll students --
  1280. This is going to be a mock case,
  1281. we're going to practice it
    like it's the real thing.
  1282. It doesn't matter
    if you've been suspended a million times,
  1283. it doesn't matter
    if you've never been suspended,
  1284. we're looking for every type of experience
  1285. because we find that's more beneficial
    to the peer jury process.
  1286. (Regina T.) Artiesha is a freshman.
  1287. After a series of behavior code violations,
  1288. she's been sent to peer jury
    to avoid suspension.
  1289. This is the school way saying,
  1290. "You know what, suspension
    should be the last resort,
  1291. should be the last thing."
  1292. (Joel R.) I just want to read some
    of the issues that have been going on.
  1293. The student has been in a downward spiral,
  1294. after coming to school tardy
    and out of dress code.
  1295. The student is a very smart young lady
    that can be highly successful,
  1296. if she's able to control her attitude.
  1297. I just want to give you an opportunity,
    Artiesha, just to, kind of explain.
  1298. (Artiesha) I have issue with
    most of my teachers.
  1299. When I do try to do work
    and get my grades up,
  1300. my teacher don't help me with it,
    he just gave up on me.
  1301. Like when my brother, he just got shot,
    and I was going through a lot, you know,
  1302. and [Mr. Weezer] he calmed me down
    because I was just on edge,
  1303. you know, just dropping out,
    leave school and I'll let --
  1304. because I couldn't take it,
    it was too much for me.
  1305. When I do ask, you know they --
    "You don't come to class,
  1306. you don't do your work,
    you don't want to do it,
  1307. you don't want to learn!",
    that's basically what you're telling me,
  1308. you're telling me
    that I don't want to learn,
  1309. but if I don't want to learn,
    I wouldn't be here right now,
  1310. I wouldn't even be going to school.
  1311. I think it's good for you to have
    relationships with your teachers,
  1312. everybody needs someone
    to turn to and talk to.
  1313. Okay, you know, nobody teach me things,
  1314. you know, help me,
    somebody to lean on, turn to,
  1315. and it's like, I just feel,
    sometimes, I just feel alone.
  1316. (Regina T.) After listening to Artiesha,
  1317. the group asked her to step outside
    while they consider solutions.
  1318. (student 1) I think she would be
    very positive at it,
  1319. I like how she admitted to the things
    that she knows she was doing wrong.
  1320. (student 2) That's the main thing,
    her being tardy,
  1321. I don't see nothing wrong
    with the classes and stuff,
  1322. just she doesn't come to class on time.
  1323. What I would ask from you is that
    whatever we come up with
  1324. just take that as --
    you know, kind of accept it,
  1325. and say whatever you gotta say.
  1326. (Regina T.) For Artiesha, the issue
    boils down to mutual respect.
  1327. The reason why I can't, you know --
  1328. kids disrespect with because, you know,
    adults don't listen to them,
  1329. you know, kids get mad,
    kids get a mouth, you know, you guys --
  1330. it's hear the kids,
  1331. that's it, that's all I'm saying,
    you know, the kids should be heard.
  1332. (Regina T.) To help Artiesha,
    the peer jury recommends a teacher mentor,
  1333. developing a strategy
    for change with her teachers,
  1334. and creating a video
    to express her feelings.
  1335. Satisfied that the peer jury
    clearly heard her concerns,
  1336. Artiesha accepts their council.
  1337. Well, I'm willing to do all three,
    if it's possible because
  1338. I will like to sit down
    and just ask the teachers,
  1339. "What is wrong, like,
    what is I'm doing so wrong
  1340. that y'all are giving up on me?".
  1341. (Joel R.) This process is not to judge,
    this process is for us to find solutions,
  1342. and for us to support
    each other, all right?
  1343. The school is giving us the opportunity
    to support each other, giving us a voice,
  1344. I just want to say,
    thank you everybody for sharing,
  1345. can we snap it up, please, like that.
  1346. Thank you everyone for sharing,
    specially you, Artiesha,
  1347. thank you for being open to this process.
  1348. Thank you.
  1349. What we want is tolerance,
  1350. and restorative justice programs
    are bringing tolerance,
  1351. which we know all about,
  1352. and many of us grew up with tolerance,
  1353. I grew up in a system
    that didn't have police in the school,
  1354. and we have all kind of stuff going on,
  1355. and the principal, the vice-principal,
    and the faculty would just handle it,
  1356. they call your parents,
    they call somebody.
  1357. So, we know what to do.
  1358. The question is why have we decided
  1359. that certain schools
    don't get those opportunities.
  1360. And restorative justice programs
    are coming in and saying,
  1361. we get those opportunities as well.
  1362. (Regina T.) Restorative justice
    is providing opportunities at Gage Park.
  1363. In one year, freshman class suspensions
    have been slashed by an estimated 50%,
  1364. and the class boast the highest on-track
    freshman rate for graduation
  1365. in the recent history of the school.
  1366. Young people are doing incredible things,
  1367. despite the challenges, despite everything
    that they have to face day in and day out,
  1368. they're doing incredible things,
  1369. so I would challenge anybody
    that once has labelled our young people,
  1370. labelled this community,
  1371. there's some great work that is going on.
  1372. We just want to see
    these kids have a life.
  1373. That's what is all about.
  1374. It's going to get better,
    and better, and better.
  1375. And, as long as we can
    keep the kids in school,
  1376. they all have the best possible chance
  1377. to have the best kind of life
    that they can.
  1378. (Regina T.) Restorative Justice,
  1379. U-Turn,
  1380. and Ariel Community Academy
  1381. are about a few examples of
    how people and communities
  1382. are taking on institutional racism.
  1383. More can be done, but first,
  1384. we must confront the myth
    of a colorblind society.
  1385. (Michelle A.) You hear politicians,
    as well as teachers, ordinary folks say,
  1386. "We ought to be colorblind,
  1387. we ought not to see or care
    about race any more."
  1388. But for me, rather than being a virtue,
  1389. I see colorblindness as
    often a form of cruelty.
  1390. To say that you don't care
    about another person's race,
  1391. often is to say you don't care
    about their racialized experience.
  1392. I think colorblindness is
    a concept or word
  1393. that we use more as
    a deflection mechanism,
  1394. to avoid dealing with the problem.
  1395. The idea that this is a colorblind society
    is not exactly well accepted
  1396. in communities of color.
  1397. And when people insist that
    we are colorblind,
  1398. what you're saying is that
    their reality is not real.
  1399. When it comes to race,
    what we seem to have decided
  1400. it is better if we don't notice
    when there are people of color or white,
  1401. or if we notice, then
    we don't talk about it.
  1402. So, even more than colorblindness,
    it's colormuteness.
  1403. Something Julian Bond told us for years,
  1404. that to be blind to color is
    to be blind to the consequences of color
  1405. and, as he puts it,
  1406. specially the consequences of
    being the wrong color in the United Sates.
  1407. (Regina) Institutional racism
    is deeply ingrained
  1408. and highly adaptable,
  1409. but we have seen some victories
    in the fight against it.
  1410. We must all choose to confront it.
  1411. (MIchelle A.) We can continue to turn
    a blind eye and hope for the best
  1412. continue to tinker with the system,
  1413. have minor reforms here and there,
  1414. but what would things look like
    ten years from now?
  1415. Twenty years from now?
  1416. Thirty years from now?
  1417. If we remain silent,
  1418. if we remain divided, shaming
    and blaming one another,
  1419. rather than coming together
    in meaningful collective action,
  1420. that's a future I dare not imagine.
  1421. What I choose to focus on
    is the possibility,
  1422. if we make up our mind
    to wake, and stand up,
  1423. and do what's right
    on behalf of all of us,
  1424. all of our communities.
  1425. I go back to the [inaudible] notion that,
  1426. racial injustice is really about
    the project of American democracy,
  1427. and until we get there,
  1428. American democracy remains incomplete.
  1429. We must rethink race on both
    the personal and institutional level.
  1430. This is an important endeavor
    for everybody,
  1431. not just for people of color.
  1432. Ultimately, this is about
    what kind of society we decide to be.
  1433. We hope you will consider
    what it truly means to be colorblind
  1434. and join us in rethinking race.
  1435. ♪ outro music ♪