For Constitution Day, please watch 13th

from 300,000 inmates in 1970 to over 2 million today

13th amendmentMy daughter has watched the documentary 13th (2016) about a half dozen times. She compelled me to watch it recently as well, and now I commend it to you.

13th refers to the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

The problem is that section that is italicized section effectively meant that people, specifically black people, would be arrested on minor charges such as vagrancy or loitering, and ended up being leased out to industry. It was Slavery by Another Name.

This was followed by Jim Crow segregation and lynching, enhanced in no small part by D. W. Griffith’s film The Birth of a Nation (1915). The modern civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s arose from the death of Emmett Till. But it was stifled by the mass incarceration efforts of Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Clinton, which affected blacks disproportionately.

Even Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, noted in the film that the much greater sentencing for crack, more often used by blacks, than for powder cocaine preferred by white people.

The country went from having about 300,000 inmates in 1970 to over 2 million today, about 40% black because of various sentencing guidelines. The US has 25% of the incarcerated in the world, though it has but 5% of the world’s population.

13th was directed and co-written by Ava DuVernay, who had directed Selma (2014). Participants include Michelle Alexander, Cory Booker, Angela Davis, Henry Louis Gates, Van Jones, Grover Norquist, Charles Rangel, Bryan Stevenson, and several others. Plus archival footage of Lee Atwater, and every President after JFK.

Watch 13th HERE (96 minutes). See the preview HERE.

Listen to:

Letter To The Free – Common ft. Bilal
Work Song – Nina Simone
Human – Rag’n’Bone Man

Lydster: telling me stuff I didn’t know

I never bothered reviewing Love Yourself in Seoul here because it would be like reviewing Beatlemania

Lydia CaseyMy daughter was having a particularly good day. She had seen Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated documentary 13th (2016), about the loophole in the 13th Amendment (1865) banning slavery.

“Did you know,” she asked me, “that there weren’t cross burnings by the Ku Klux Klan until the movie Birth Of A Nation (1915) came out?” Why, no, I didn’t” – and if I did, I had forgotten that detail. It’s true.

“I told you something you didn’t know!” She LOVES doing that. And she realizes that for it to have an impact, it has to be something I care about.

While she knows a LOT about K-pop music, and can name songs and artists ad nauseum, she knows nothing (yet) about Hendrix or the Pretenders. I play the “yeah, but” card. “Name a song by XO”, and I can’t. “Name a song by Twice.” “Yes or Yes.” (I read Dustbury.) “Name a song by Talking Heads,” I say, and she can’t. Which is a bit my failure, I suppose, but whatever.

Then she shows me her geometry homework and shows me how to draw equilateral triangles with just a line segment and a compass. I was good at math in high school, but I never learned this trick. “I taught you TWO things today!”

She somehow got the number up to five, with other geometric magic. It’s not that she’s actually TAUGHT me these things, but she did show me them, which is good enough for her.

Her mother and I are not beyond bribing her to get her AP World History done on time, as opposed to staying up all Sunday night. In February, I told her she could see a BTS concert movie, one of those Fathom events, if she finished her homework by 6 pm Sunday EASTERN Time. (Her lawyerly definitions required the time zone inclusion.)

I never bothered reviewing Love Yourself in Seoul here because it would be like reviewing Beatlemania, including from my daughter. Closeup shots of the band, great dancing and decent singing, solo segments for each of them.

The photo was posted seven years ago by the little boy’s father, and is probably a year or more older than that.