The New York Times OpEd columnist Nicholas Kristof writes, "When Whites Just Don’t Get It, Part 3." Here's the beginning of this must-read:
SOME white Americans may be surprised to hear Archbishop Desmond Tutu describe Bryan Stevenson, an African-American lawyer fighting for racial justice, as “America’s young Nelson Mandela.”
Huh? Why do we need a Mandela over here? We’ve made so much progress on race over 50 years! And who is this guy Stevenson, anyway?
Yet Archbishop Tutu is right. Even after remarkable gains in civil rights, including the election of a black president, the United States remains a profoundly unequal society — and nowhere is justice more elusive than in our justice system.
When I was born in 1959, the hospital in which I arrived had separate floors for black babies and white babies, and it was then illegal for blacks and whites to marry in many states. So progress has been enormous, and America today is nothing like the apartheid South Africa that imprisoned Mandela. But there’s also a risk that that progress distracts us from the profound and persistent inequality that remains.
Vanity Fair also takes note of the book. It leads the montly Hot Type column in the November issue.
America the complicated. Defense lawyers down South are too often compared to Atticus Finch, but Bryan Stevenson, whose Just Mercy (Spiegel & Grau) chronicles his crusades for the rights of the oppressed and unjustly incarcerated, proves he's deserving.
The Huntsville Times reports, "Can American courts be color, income-blind?" It's by Kay Campbell. He'll be in Huntsville, Alabama on Sunday, November 2.
Stevenson has been recognized internationally for his work to point out biases in the American criminal justice system that result in incarceration rates that rise or fall in a reverse relationship to the income of the accused.
"We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent," Stevenson said during his TED Talk in March 2012. "Wealth, not culpability, shapes outcomes."
And it's the disconnect between what is reality for so many in impoverished neighborhoods and the reality of Americans with adequate income, influence and sense of confidence that has resulted in a sense, for most Americans, that "these are problems that are not our problems," Stevenson said.
Just Mercy is also one of five nonfiction finalists for the Kirkus Reviews Book Awards.