THE SCHOOL-TO-PRISON PIPELINE INFILTRATES ONLINE EDUCATION

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I was thinking the silver lining in Zoom school at home is finally police would stop being involved in the education of Black students. So I was crushed to hear that police and judges were going after kids for not doing their online homework. Of course the kids the police are going after are disproportionately Black.

The school-to-prison pipeline is setup almost like the three-strikes system. The police catch kids for one thing, and then they wait around ready to pounce for something innocuous like missing an online assignment. So as legal aid projects all over the US are working hard to dismantle the damage of the three-strikes laws of the 80s and 90s, police are reinstating three-strikes laws in disguise at schools in minority zip codes.

Next time we hear a story about a Black teen being dragged into jail for missing an online assignment, let’s call on every white kid who missed online assignments the same week this girl missed her online assignment. Let’s tell those kids to voluntarily turn themselves in to local jails. And let’s have have all the white parents go to the jail and pickup their kid. Maybe there can be chaos. Maybe we can force change if white people start protesting with chaos every time police unfairly target a Black kid at school. Police will think twice about making arrests over petty infringements by young people.

Kumi Yamashita‘s art explores the unpredictable relationship between what we expect to see and what we actually see. I relate to the faces. I think I know who I am, but often I focus on the shadow of myself, because that feels better than the real me that’s casting that shadow. More and more, I try to focus on the relationship I have to the injustice I come across every day. The more I can see racial injustice all around me, the more I feel like my shadow is taking the shape of someone who cares, someone who is taking a stand — instead of the awkward, oddly folded form simply standing by.


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