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Identity Memo: "Question Authority"

Anne Dalke's picture

When I was in high school in the ‘60s (gasp), as part of a research project on LSD, I wrote to request information from Timothy Leary—infamous @ the time for his experimentation with psychedelic substances, arrested often enough “to see the inside of 29 different prisons worldwide," known for catchphrases such as "think for yourself" and "question authority." Leary responded with a standard cover letter and some printed material, which I found very helpful. I got an “A” on the project.

Identity Memo

jschlosser's picture

My own first-hand experience of victimization or offending is limited. Until last Thursday I had never visited a jail or prison. I’ve never been inside a police station. I’ve never been arrested or stopped for questioning or pulled over. I’ve never been a victim of a crime or witnessed a crime or committed a crime. The entire criminal justice system – a term that does not feel right given the injustice of this system – remains an abstraction to me.

Identity Memo

Shirah Kraus's picture

On a Saturday afternoon, my dad drives our Honda Odyssey down the quiet, safe street. My mom, brothers, and sister sit in the car with us. Orthodox Jewish men talk together and their wives push strollers as they walk home from Sabbath services. Here in Amberley Village, there are big lawns and lots of white Jews. On the other side of the train tracks, in Roselawn, there are a lot of black people, some “prostitutes”, and sometimes gunshots at night. When it snows, there is line between Amberley, where the streets have been cleared, and Roselawn, where the streets are still covered in snow.

Identity Memo

smalina's picture

Even before I attended public high school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I knew the statistical racial makeup of Cambridge Rindge and Latin. This, to me, is a perfect indication of the atmosphere surrounding race in my hometown. Our numbers were something to be proud of—something we had drilled into the minds of kids should they ever be quizzed on “diversity issues” by family members or friends from neighboring towns (even now, I struggle to suppress the urge to include the numbers, as if it could prove something about me, about where I come from). Caught up in White Cambridge Liberalism and committed to studying large-scale, historical examples of racism and injustice, I conveniently ignored the everyday injustices that were happening all around me.

Translating the Concealed Abomination: Identity Memo

The Unknown's picture

            For the most part, a large part of our society is never discussed, heard about, or given a platform to speak on. Due to people’s actions, the system’s dismissal and rejection of a group of people, racism, classicism, and many other injustices, people’s voices are not only silenced, but society does not benefit from their knowledge and lived experiences. Even before entering, based on the little I have learned about prisons, I am enraged and frustrated with the lack of power these womyn have over their own lives. I wonder how often different womyn feel fear, what womyn take comfort in, if or when they feel empowered, and how they continue fighting each day.

Identity Memo

abby rose's picture

My primary interest in participating in the college/correctional facility partnership this year directly stems from the fact that I was a part of the program last semester in Jody’s Multicultural Education course. Before I joined the group, however, one of the first motivating forces I was able to identify was the strong desire to challenge my understandings of incarcerated individuals as well as the prison system itself. In my own life I have never had a loved one or anybody I personally knew go to prison, and that is a privilege in itself. There is a staggering number of people who are incarcerated in the United States and an even larger number of families and friends who are affected by the U.S.