From The Huffington Post:
It’s that time of year again, when we hear Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches in 10 second clips, the same clips that get recycled on an annual basis now — radical proclamations that have been reduced over the years to mere platitudes. His booming voice declares that he’s been to the mountaintop and has glimpsed the promised land. He has a dream, he says, and his voice soars.
During this year’s Black History Month, like last, we will be treated to celebrations of Obama’s presidency — the ultimate symbol, we are told, of America’s triumph over its ugly history of discrimination, exclusion, and racial caste. This is a time to rejoice, it is said, though we still have a long way to go.
That is the dominant racial narrative today among those who claim to care about racial justice: Look how far we have come, but yes we still have a long way to go.
Here are a few facts that run counter to that racial narrative:
* There are more African Americans under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.
* As of 2004, more African American men were disenfranchised (due to felon disenfranchisement laws) than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race.
[Read more at The Huffington Post]