America likes to tell itself that it inhabits a postracial world, yet nearly every empirical measure--wealth, unemployment, incarceration, school segregation--reveals that racial inequality has barely improved since 1968, when Richard Nixon became our first "law and order" president.Read more...
America likes to tell itself that it inhabits a postracial world, yet nearly every empirical measure--wealth, unemployment, incarceration, school segregation--reveals that racial inequality has barely improved since 1968, when Richard Nixon became our first "law and order" president. With the clarity and originality that distinguished his prescient bestseller, Twilight of the Elites, Chris Hayes upends our national conversation on policing and democracy in a book of wide-ranging historical, social, and political analysis.
Hayes contends our country has fractured in two: the Colony and the Nation. In the Nation, we venerate the law. In the Colony, we obsess over order, fear trumps civil rights, and aggressive policing resembles occupation. A Colony in a Nation explains how a country founded on justice now looks like something uncomfortably close to a police state. How and why did Americans build a system where conditions in Ferguson and West Baltimore mirror those that sparked the American Revolution?
A Colony in a Nation examines the surge in crime that began in the 1960s and peaked in the 1990s, and the unprecedented decline that followed. Drawing on close-hand reporting at flashpoints of racial conflict, as well as deeply personal experiences with policing, Hayes explores cultural touchstones, from the influential "broken windows" theory to the "squeegee men" of late-1980s Manhattan, to show how fear causes us to make dangerous and unfortunate choices, both in our society and at the personal level. With great empathy, he seeks to understand the challenges of policing communities haunted by the omnipresent threat of guns. Most important, he shows that a more democratic and sympathetic justice system already exists--in a place we least suspect.
A Colony in a Nation is an essential book--searing and insightful--that will reframe our thinking about law and order in the years to come.
- ISBN-13: 9780393254228
- ISBN-10: 0393254224
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
- Publish Date: March 2017
- Page Count: 256
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2017-01-09
- Reviewer: Staff
Hayes (Twilight of the Elites), host of MSNBCs All In with Chris Hayes, has written a laser-focused, necessary book about U.S. race relations, primarily the black experience, and law and order as they are experienced across the country. Hayess main assertion is that the criminal justice system creates two separate Americas with borders drawn along racial linesthe nation, or white America, with methods of policing characteristic of a democracy that respects the basic rights of its citizenry, and the colony, black America, which is policed like an occupied state, trampling on the civil liberties of its inhabitants. Hayess book has a strong through-line comparing the concepts of law and order. Law is defined in the commonly understood sense, while order is explained as a tool used by the state, through the police, to maintain the status quo. The author also ties in the related problem of our status as the most incarcerated nation in the world and why this punitive system is ineffective. This is an important, persuasive book that, if read, can help Americans begin to heal the divide between these two nations. (Mar.)