Durham, NC  I Scalawag Magazine

Eyewitness Palestine delegate Lewis W. wrote an article this past spring titled "Why media outlets cover racial reconciliation but not racism".


An excerpt from the article in Scalawag Magazine can be read in full at the link below.

"Even though I’ve closely followed stories of institutional racism from Flint, Michigan, to Ferguson, Missouri, I had never seen anything quite like it: In LaGrange, getting caught driving without a license, an open container violation, or an unpaid traffic ticket could mean losing access to utilities. The court debt policy appears to affect 90 percent of Black people in a city that’s less than 50 percent Black. Simultaneously, LaGrange is among several Southern cities to deny utility accounts entirely to its undocumented residents by requiring Social Security numbers. The state and local NAACP, the Southern Center for Human Rights, and Project South filed suit in May 2017 against the city over both policies, alleging racial discrimination under the federal Fair Housing Act.

After I started pitching the story to national outlets, I learned LaGrange had been in the national news—but not for this...

The city has not suggested any willingness to change its practice of denying people utilities over unpaid court debts, nor would any city official consent to an interview about the policy for my story after months of pleading. This culture of silence, says Ward, is familiar in LaGrange: Those in power simply decline to respond to questions about the utility policies. This culture has its roots in slavery and the Jim Crow era, in LaGrange and many other places: In the case of lynching, law enforcement and the media failed to demand justice and were even directly complicit in them. Some newspapers advertised these racialized murders, publishing times and places for future lynchings. An overwhelming silence contributed to this corrupt culture: for Black people, it was driven by fear; for white people, it was driven by racism and, sometimes, the desire to protect their friends and colleagues who participated in and celebrated the violence."

LINK: https://www.scalawagmagazine.org/2019/04/lagrange/