Good Men Project is running a special section this week on men and prison. My contribution is They Always Call Me Sir: Policing, Prison, and Privilege. Excerpt:
As someone concerned with sexual justice and ending rape, the reality of a racist justice system has shaped how I think about solutions to the problem of violence against women. Feminists and their allies have fought hard to stiffen penalties for domestic abuse and sexual assault. Getting law enforcement to take sexual violence seriously (and to stop slut-shaming survivors) is tremendously important. But while rapists deserve punishment (and, if possible, a chance for restorative justice), we should all be concerned that those punishments will be meted out more severely to poor and dark-skinned men.
The struggle to end sexual violence can proceed simultaneously on many fronts. We need to change hearts and minds as much as laws; we need to rethink our dim view of the male capacity for self-regulation and our outdated obsession with what rape victims wear. But ensuring that rape is taken seriously as a crime involves shifting the views of cops, D.A.s, and judges as well. If those of us who advocate for the victims of violence don’t remember that the prison-industrial complex punishes some perpetrators much more severely than others, we’re trying to solve one problem while compounding another.