Dec 17 2012

Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation

Disturbing comments made recently by Fox News host Dana Perino that women who are domestically abused should “make better decisions” were in response to the killing of 22 year old Kasandra Perkins, an African American woman, who was gunned down by her boyfriend, the NFL player Jovan Belcher.

Wisconsin Democratic Senator Gwen Moore reacted to the comments by tweeting: “As someone that has survived sexual assault I can say that violence is not the victim’s fault.” Perkins’ death adds to the increasing numbers of African American women who are victims of violence. Not only are African American women at greater risk for being violently abused they are also incarcerated at a rate that is three times higher than White women.

Now a compelling new book by Beth Richie called, Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence and America’s Prison Nation focuses on the oppression of impoverished black women by a white male dominated power structure.

Richie, a seasoned Black feminist scholar, has spent the last 25 years working to stop violence against poor women. Her work addresses what she feels is the lack of attention paid to this disenfranchised group from the mainstream white feminist anti-violence movement which often overlooks factors like race, class and gender.

Richie specifically analyzes how institutional racism feeds African American women into the prison system by relating three powerful stories of violence against black women. The stories illustrate how these women remain the most vulnerable members of a society which conspires to portray them as criminals.

GUEST: Beth Richie, a Professor of African American Studies and Criminology, Law and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, author of Arrested Justice, Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation. She is also the Director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy. Her earlier book is called Compelled to Crime: The Gender Entrapment of Battered Black Women

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