DuVernay’s Documentary “13th” Needs To Be Seen

Ava DuVernay’s Academy-nominated documentary 13th exposes the intrinsic flaw of America’s 13th Amendment. DuVernay's Documentary "13th" Needs To Be SeenNeither 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.

While abolishing slavery is well and good – how did it ever happen in the first place?! – the amendment allows for the practice to continue through the penal system, a system that systematically incarcerates black males in America, a population that, only 4% of the overall population, accounts for 40% of prisoners. Black ManDuVernay outlines America’s dismal history of discrimination and servitude, citing Jim Crow laws as well as the systematic targeting of black leaders such as Angela Davis and Black Panther Fred Hampton.DuVernay's Documentary "13th" Needs To Be SeenPresidents Nixon, Reagan and Clinton are all indicted for the role in the morass as well as So-Called President Trump. Most insidious of all is the monetization of the mass incarcerations – corporations such as WalMart and Time Warner directly profiting from these policies – as well as the understanding that another iteration of the racist laws awaits us all. DuVernay's Documentary "13th" Needs To Be SeenDuVernay’s film needs to be seen. Okay, so what are you doing? Watch it now!Institution is not a building but a method

Oak Alley: History on a Louisiana Plantation

The property at Oak Alley Plantation is something to behold. One of dozens of Louisiana plantations along the Mississippi River that once oversaw the farming of sugar cane, this house features 300-year-old oaks lining the walk. Oak Alley: History on a Louisiana PlantationThe history of the Creole family who owned the home is also intriguing; ice was imported, at a cost of thousands of dollars per week, for their regular dinner parties. Oak Alley: History on a Louisiana PlantationAnd the fact that you can drink a mint julep throughout the tour is hard to resist.Oak Alley: History on a Louisiana PlantationBut no matter how hard they might try, and how sweet the drink, none of it works. Oak Alley: History on a Louisiana PlantationHistory gets in the way.Oak Alley: History on a Louisiana PlantationAnd then the mint julep isn’t so sweet; none of it it is.

Oak Alley: History on a Louisiana Plantation

A partial list of slaves who lived and died at the Oak Alley Plantation

It becomes a dark place with a dark past, and nothing, not even the lovely avenue of trees, can change any of that.Oak Alley: History on a Louisiana Plantation

This Racism Thing

I’ve seen too many polls as of late regarding this racism thing in the United States. This Racism ThingMore than anything, I am confounded by the manner in which the ‘information’ is delivered, newscasters frowning as they read, “Black people don’t trust authority and white people can’t understand why that is.” This Racism ThingIt’s like the damn gun issue – everyone talking and no one listening.

Here’s my dime: It’s going to take a long time yet for this society to recover from the abomination that was slavery.This Racism ThingAnd for any positive changes to occur, whites need to be a hell of a lot more understanding, accommodating and trusting toward blacks. (Exclamation point.)