“When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different, and I felt like I did not belong. And now I’m standing here, and so I would like this moment to be for this kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere: Yes, you do. I promise you do. Stay weird, stay different, and then, when it’s your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along. Thank you so much!”
—-Graham Moore, 2015 Oscar winner for best adapted screenplay for the movie “The Imitation Game,” in his acceptance speech.
“We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than there were under slavery in 1850.”
— John Legend, accepting the 2015 Oscar for Best Song for “Glory” from “Selma.”
Legend’s statement is technically accurate, but misleading in many ways, inflammatory, destructive, and irresponsible.
When you heard it, did you make the distinction between “in prison” and “under correctional control”? Most didn’t—I didn’t— and that was intentional. This is deceit. Correctional control includes those in prisons, but also those in jails awaiting trial or serving short local sentences; those on parole; and others on probation. Like all the fake and misleading statistics that fly around, this one is inflated to induce a “Wow!” A person under probation or parole can live a completely normal and free life, if he or she can avoid breaking the law and some extra rules. Slavery it’s not. Continue reading