What is the moral challenge posed by high rates of incarceration, and as racial inequalities in the U.S. persist, what is there to do about it? Economist and professor of social sciences Glenn C. Loury has asked himself this question and posed a similar one in a recent lecture titled “Beyond Civil Rights: “What’s a Self-Respecting ‘Black’ Intellectual to Do in the Face of Persistent Racial Inequality in the United States?” Loury will speak at 2 p.m. today in the Hall of Philosophy.
Bruce Western doesn’t think the timing of the civil rights movement and the subsequent growth of prison populations is any coincidence.
After the fundamental transformation of American politics and society that came out of the 1960s, he said, conservatives began to gain the support of people who were uncomfortable with the expanded citizenship of African-Americans.
“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers and sisters? Is it my family of origin, choice or God? Jesus’ response affirms all three,” said the Very Rev. Tracey Lind at the Wednesday morning 9:15 a.m. Devotional Hour.
“Family Values” was the title of her sermon, and her texts were Mark 3:31-35 and Acts 10:44-48.
She talked about “The Birdcage,” the movie adapted from the French film “La Cage Aux Folles.” In the movie, a Jewish gay nightclub owner and his drag queen partner pretend to be a straight couple so that his son can marry the daughter of a conservative senator. In order to avoid news reporters, they all exit the club in a drag parade to the tune “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge. The final scene is the interfaith wedding of the young couple performed by a rabbi and a minister.
“This is a wonderful 21st-century commentary on Jesus’ family values,” Lind said.
I am not a radical, but I lived through radical changes. Radical changes are exciting for the old and intoxicating for the young. I was lucky to be in Washington in the summer of 1963 when a quarter of a million black Americans marched for freedom and justice. I marched with them to the Lincoln Memorial and heard Martin Luther King uplifting them with his “I Have a Dream” speech, talking like an Old Testament prophet.
Also uplifting them were groups of young marchers carrying banners saying where they came from. The marchers from the really tough places — Birmingham, Ala., and Albany, Ga. — where the battles for civil rights had been raging, were very young, hardly more than children. In the toughest places, people with family responsibilities could not afford to take chances. From those places, only young people came. Most of them had never been away from their homes before. They had been fighting lonely battles. They had never known that they had so many friends. They looked like the hope of the future as they danced and sang their freedom songs with bright faces and sparkling eyes.
In Week Seven’s second Interfaith Lecture on the theme “Creating Cultures of Honor and Integrity,” Ambassador Andrew Young discussed his own personal experiences promoting change, and his ideas for ensuring that we build a country and a world that “feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, heals the sick and sets at liberty those who are oppressed.” Young’s speech was titled “I Dream of a World — That Works!”
Young is the United States’ former ambassador to the United Nations, a former congressman and former mayor of Atlanta. He has written two books, A Way Out of No Way: The Spiritual Memoirs of Andrew Young and An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America; he is co-author of Walk in My Shoes: Conversations between a Civil Rights Legend and his Godson on the Journey Ahead. During his lecture, he used his many life stories and experiences to guide his speech.