A Colony in A Nation

A Colony in A Nation

Book - 2017
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"An Emmy Award-winning news anchor and New York Times best-selling author argues that there are really two Americas--a Colony and a Nation,"--NoveList.
"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."--Jacket.
Publisher: New York :, W.W. Norton & Company,, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780393254228
Branch Call Number: 364.973 HA
Characteristics: 256 pages ; 25 cm


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Feb 21, 2018

I won’t lie: this book is a hard read. It took me weeks, actually - I first checked it out in December. And it was a harder read than I expected. Where <i>So You Want To Talk About Race</i> and <i>You Can’t Touch My Hair</i> had humor elements or were primarily humor, this was a head-on look at how white fear is crushing minority groups in the US, especially Black people. There is little that the average white person wants to confront less than their own fear, and while I’d like to be better, I am no exception.

Hayes draws on his own experiences covering news in Baltimore, Ferguson, and from his childhood in New York City to bring out how pervasive and ugly this fear can be. He takes us with him into a police training designed to assist them in determining whether to use their guns, and into the streets following the acquittal of the police officers in Missouri. Hayes spends a lot of time talking about the “broken window” theory of crime management and detailing how it came to pass. He also notes that it’s hard to say if it has actually had any positive effect.

The book’s title comes from Hayes’ thesis that there are really two different Americas: the Nation, where order is paramount and white people live, and the Colony, where PoC are forced to live and where white fear calls for SWAT teams instead of deescalation. It’s not a comprehensive survey of the factors keeping PoC down - he doesn’t really touch much on the school to prison pipeline, for instance. His issue is very much the way that white people prize “order” so much that they are willing to regard others as less than human.

Five of five stars. But be ready to read it in chunks.

Oct 11, 2017

Seemed like he was referencing others' books within his book (for example, Michelle Williams' "The New Jim Crow"). I've read all those, so was hoping for a fresh perspective. Instead, I got a book that appears to be cobbled together from the words of other people. This tactic is reminiscent of most white cis men. I wish he would have done better and used original work.

May 07, 2017

Chris Hayes' idea that we are levelling down our criminal justice system instead of using it to promote lawful behavior is on the mark. A previous reader criticizes him for not including the economic bias against the "colony" is a reasonable one. Other books have done this well and I think the points Hayes makes are ones that need to be considered as well.

Mar 18, 2017

Chris Hayes, doing what he does best, injecting Identity Politics to misdirect or redirect attention away from the socioeconomic issues - - always blaming everything on racism or sexism or this ism or that ism, and never examining the core problems, as if racism were to disappear tomorrow, life would be hunky dory, and nothing has to do with the economic warfare of the super-rich on the rest of us.
Please keep in mind that Hayes was awarded his position on TV as a result of his so-called // debunking \\ of that Trans-National Highway [whose plans back then be found on the CFR website, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce website, and various other biz sites] which was hopefully circumvented by a grassroots activist movement in the Texas region. [i.e., building a hugh superhighway through the central area of America and Canada, connected to a western deepwater port off the coast of Mexico, thereby avoiding longshore unions and teamsters unions]


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