Archives for November 14, 2017

A Colony in a Nation

A Colony in a NationColony in a Nation, A by Christopher L. Hayes
Published by Recorded Books on March 21, 2017
Format: audiobook
Genres: Criminal Justice, Nonfiction, Politics & Social Sciences
See it @ Goodreads
four-half-stars

Synopsis


New York Times best-selling author and Emmy Award-winning news anchor Chris Hayes argues that there are really two Americas: a Colony and a Nation. America likes to tell itself that it inhabits a post-racial world, yet nearly every empirical measure--wealth, unemployment, incarceration, school segregation--reveals that racial inequality has barely improved since 1968, when Richard Nixon became our first "law and order" president. With the clarity and originality that distinguished his prescient bestseller, Twilight of the Elites, Chris Hayes upends our national conversation on policing and democracy in a book of wide-ranging historical, social, and political analysis. Hayes contends our country has fractured in two: the Colony and the Nation. In the Nation, we venerate the law. In the Colony, we obsess over order, fear trumps civil rights, and aggressive policing resembles occupation. A Colony in a Nation explains how a country founded on justice now looks like something uncomfortably close to a police state. How and why did Americans build a system where conditions in Ferguson and West Baltimore mirror those that sparked the American Revolution? A Colony in a Nation examines the surge in crime that began in the 1960s and peaked in the 1990s, and the unprecedented decline that followed. Drawing on close-hand reporting at flashpoints of racial conflict, as well as deeply personal experiences with policing, Hayes explores cultural touchstones, from the influential "broken windows" theory to the "squeegee men" of late-1980s Manhattan, to show how fear causes us to make dangerous and unfortunate choices, both in our society and at the personal level. With great empathy, he seeks to understand the challenges of policing communities haunted by the omnipresent threat of guns. Most important, he shows that a more democratic and sympathetic justice system already exists--in a place we least suspect. A Colony in a Nation is an essential book--searing and insightful--that will reframe our thinking about law and order in the years to come.

My thoughts on this book

In a Christian Science Monitor book review Nick Romeo, notes:

The title comes from a phrase that Richard Nixon used in a 1968 speech at the Republican National Convention. “Black Americans,” he said, “do not want more government programs which perpetuate dependency. They don’t want to be a colony in a nation.” Hayes argues that in the half-century since Nixon’s speech, white America has subjugated a colony of the unfree within its own borders.

The idea that the criminal justice system is divided into two systems, one for whites and one for black has come to the forefront of American political discourse. Hayes does a good job of providing us with overwhelming evidence that there still is a large amount of racial bias. Police departments have become more militarized since 9/11 and that has become very evident when you see protest marches on the television. Hayes describes how “white fear” has led to politicians and the police to institute in some areas of the country a warfare mentality. We need as a nation become aware of our tribal instincts and the need to rise above those.

Hayes is an excellent writer, very readable, sometimes I feel his writing is better than his interviewing as seen on All in with Chris Hayes. This was an audiobook and it was read by the author. I am a fan of Chris Hayes and look forward to hearing and reading more from him.

About Christopher L. Hayes

Christopher Loffrado Hayes (/heɪz/; born February 28, 1979) is an American liberal political commentator, journalist, and author. Hayes hosts All In with Chris Hayes, a weekday news and opinion television show on MSNBC. Hayes formerly hosted a weekend MSNBC show, Up with Chris Hayes. He remains an editor at large of The Nation magazine.