YOU are Chuck Stone
You're told someone upset is waiting to speak with you on line two....read more
Chris Brown at the Men’s Central Jail
It's hard not to mock Chris Brown's stay at LA's Men's Central Jail...read more
Finding Vivian Maier
Finding Vivian Maier, her story, and her posthumous public profile....read more
Heroin Harm Reduction
Do heroin harm reduction policies help create excuses for junkies?...read more
Book of the Year Finalist
From secret prison journal pages to 2013 Book of the Year finalist....read more
Court Referred Community Service Diary – 3
"His jaw was working harder than a hog's hips at a crowded trough."...read more
Is Pre-trial Labor Slavery?
Lawsuit over solitary vs. work detail stirs a 13th Amendment debate...read more
Morality in the Morning
Are we more dependable and trustworthy at breakfast than at dinner?...read more
16/04/2014 | No Comments »
I meant to pay the ticket on time, but when both extensions I’d requested were granted, so much time had passed I marginalized its importance. When I finally faced the music, the Traffic Commissioner was happy to suspend my hefty fine in exchange for 50 hours of community service at a local Goodwill Donation Center. Welcome to #4 in a series…(Here’s parts 1, 2, and 3)
March/April 2014 – Goodwill Donation Center, Friday.
It’s one thing to work alongside Goodwill’s physically challenged employees and see the nonprofit’s bighearted claims of helping the disabled play out before you. It’s quite another thing to use a toilet after them.
Disabled persons selected to work at this particular Goodwill are essentially removed from the non-disabled. To use the employee break room, for example, they have to pass through the “regular” employees’ work areas, but not the other way around –because they’re stuck in a corner. They’re not banished in any way, but they do work in a rather lonesome neighborhood of the building.
I’d rather not exaggerate things by adding that their primary function –sorting donated clothes– is the most repellent of Goodwill tasks, but it’s true. It doesn’t help that the neighborhood in question is surrounded by a wall of six-foot roller-bins, clothing racks, and giant piles of donated garments. Benjamin Netanyahu would be jealous.
Donated Clothing Fun Fact: even by the time garments reach the floor, soiled handkerchiefs and, er, other items, can often be found in pockets. It’s dicey, sure, but my guess is everyone goes through a checking-pockets phase regardless. You can’t watch how nonchalantly bags of expensive clothing are thrown from luxury cars by people who decline receipts without letting your curiosity get the best of you. Read the rest of this entry »
10/04/2014 | 2 Comments
You’re told someone upset is waiting to speak with you on line two.
He’s on the run, apparently, and deathly afraid of the cops learning his location. He’s a suspected murderer they’ve been after for months. He’s tired. He can’t run anymore. It was self-defense, he insists, but in police custody he knows he’s in for beatings and probably death.
Terrific. You’ve got it bad enough as it is; you don’t need more hassles. As the only black man with a desk in this white staff room, you already stick out like a sore thumb. Hell, just out in the hallway, above the restrooms, the words “COLORED” and “WHITE” are under scant few of coats of paint –and you remember when the first was applied.
Explicit racial segregation may have been recently outlawed, but the leftovers of implicit segregation are everywhere. You know some of your colleagues are lurking, questioning why you’d even been given this job. You’re one of maybe three black journalists in America working for a major metropolitan newspaper (white owned, of course).
Not only are you lucky you’re not pushing a broom, here’s your next story being handed to you personally. No hunting down witnesses for lengthy interviews, no knocking on doors or being told to get lost. All so you can stand in the way of 20 seething badges, each of whom is banging at the starting gate for a run at your new friend. There are few things cops hate more than not controlling the narrative of an apprehension, and this won’t easily be forgotten.
But that’s okay: you’ve got this. You are Chuck Stone. Read the rest of this entry »