If the national (corporate) media is to be believed, we are now at the 50 year mark of Black civil rights, marked by the 1964 passage of the Civil Rights Act, signed into law by the late President, Lyndon B. Johnson.
While it is true that this happened, it is also true that for millions of Blacks in America, these are not the best of times.
For the Black bourgeoisie, it has been a rush of opportunity and entrée into doors once long closed to them.
For the Black poor and working-class, this is, in the words of legal scholar, Michelle Alexander, the ‘New Jim Crow’. They are, she argues, a dark caste who are subjected to targeting, imprisonment and lack of legal rights that makes mass incarceration in America the phenomenon that stymies the hopes and dreams of millions.
For them, civil rights is as ancient, and as distant, as Reconstruction.
They cannot drive in peace. They cannot shop in peace. They cannot walk the streets in peace, without some cop threatening them for Walking While Black.
For these millions, what can civil rights really mean?
They listen to their ‘leaders’ and are forced to wonder: ‘what world are they talking about?’
They feel little elation as politicians and corporate press propagandists praise events of 50 years ago, while their daily lives are lived in hell.
The promises of civil rights are lost in the networks of repression that poisons their days and shadows their twilights.
For them, ‘The New Jim Crow’, ain’t so new, after all.