Michael Vick’s performance against the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football may constitute the most impressive single game by a quarterback in the history of the NFL. Nicole Greenfield gives the religious backstory of Vick’s remarkable post-prison turnaround at Religious Dispatches this morning.
But Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy takes a different slant. Quoting copiously from Michelle Alexander’s game-changing The New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in an age of colorblindness, Milloy points out that Vick’s “prison was just what I needed” testimony may be sincere, but his experience is hardly typical. The Eagle’s QB isn’t just adept at dodging would-be tacklers, his celebrity status and high-profile supporters allowed him to escape America’s new caste system. Here’s the normal pattern:
“Once swept into the system, one’s chances of being truly free are slim, often to the vanishing point,” Alexander writes. “The fact that more than half of the young black men in any large American city are currently under the control of the criminal justice system [or saddled with criminal records] is not – as many argue – just a symptom of poverty or poor choices, but rather evidence of a new racial caste system at work.” (more…)