Glossary: Environmental Racism

Image Courtesy of The Cross Roads Fund

Image Courtesy of The Cross Roads Fund

The trip through ER can be a scary, threatening and life changing experience for people of color.

I am not talking about a trip to the emergency room, but a trip through life for the people who have to deal with environmental racism. If you are unfamiliar, environmental racism is the oppression of people of color through environmental degradation. According to Do Something, African Americans are 79 percent more likely to live in areas with industrial waste facilities, compared to Whites. The effects of living within close proximity to toxic dumping sites can have long-term effects on community well-being, specifically affecting the neighborhood water, air, and food quality.
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Glossary: Broken Windows

Vintage Policing

Any theory is just a theory. It can never be fully proven, but it can always be debunked. The Broken Windows Theory has been used to justify aggressive policing of identified ‘unsafe‘ areas. Broken Windows policing violates rights, moral ground, and creates a perception of criminality amongst certain communities. Introduced in 1982, the criminological theory is rooted in the belief that people view disorder as a breeding ground for crime. The example often used (and the theory’s namesake) is a broken window in a building or a car, more damage to the car or building would encourage several undesirable actions including, vandalism, loitering, and squatting. Ultimately, the theory alludes that police can make an area, or an entire city, safer by focusing on smaller crimes that may build up to larger acts of crime.
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Glossary: Decriminalization

Sentencing Proj

The general concept behind decriminalization is simply to make a previously illegal act, legal. However, the actual practice of decriminalization is much more complex and involved. The term is often thrown around within the discourse of social control within our criminal justice system. Referencing the debate that outlawing vices is an outdated means of dictating “norms,” decriminalization is often looked at as an action that needs to be taken in order to properly reflect an evolving society.
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Glossary: Tithing

Image Courtesy of The Montrealer

Image Courtesy of The Montrealer

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “to tithe” means “to pay or give a tenth part of one’s income especially for the church.” The practice of tithing originates from the Hebrew scriptures and became part of Western Christian practices. While today it is mostly a voluntary contribution, certain churches make it a requirement for their members to tithe.

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Glossary: Predatory Lending

The Cunningham family became homeowners through the #NACAPurchase Program. Image Courtesy of Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA).

The Cunningham family became homeowners through the #NACAPurchase Program.  Image Courtesy of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA).

Merriam-Webster’s defines the word predatory as, “wrongly harming or using others for pleasure or profit;” and lending is defined an act “to give for temporary use on condition that the same or its equivalent will be returned.” Conversly, Investopedia defines predatory lending as, “unscrupulous actions carried out by a lender to entice, induce and/or assist a borrower in taking a mortgage that carries high fees, a high interest rate, strips the borrower of equity, or places the borrower in a lower credit rated loan to the benefit of the lender.”
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Glossary: AfroFuturism

1974 poster for "Space is the Place" starring the Legendary Sun Ra. Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

1974 poster for “Space is the Place” starring the Legendary Sun Ra. Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

What is Afrofuturism?

In 1909 Filipo Tommaso Marinetti launched the Italian Futurist movement in his Futurist Manifesto. Among its many principles, FT Marinetti and his fellow futurists sought to make people producers of their society rather than just consumers. They were obsessed with the idea of stretching the imagination, robots, technology and war. They wanted to destroy libraries, schools, museums, and all history in hopes that society would cleanse itself.

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Glossary: Supermax Prison

A prisoner in solitary confinement. Alabama, 1979, by Sean Kernan. Image courtesy of seankernan.com.

A prisoner in solitary confinement. Alabama, 1979, by Sean Kernan. Image courtesy of seankernan.com.

Human rights activists as well as the legal community consider that supermax confinement constitutes torture under international law and cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution mandates humane prisons and the Eighth Amendment prohibits against punishment that is “incompatible with ‘the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society” or “involve the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.”

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