Many black people (black women in particular) were stunned over the results of the presidential election last week. The disarray the nation was in the day after Election Tuesday is still front page news.
Though an emotional reaction to an ill-fated federal-level election contest should be expected, it shouldn’t be overrated. Federal legislators and U.S. presidents are for the most part overpaid, underworked, and symbolic figureheads for a layered cake party prop called the American government.
That’s not to say that elected government officials at the federal level don’t possess national influence. They definitely have that going for them. However, when it comes to what type of decisions are made in the county, city, ward, and precinct that the average citizen lives in, one important unwritten law holds firm: All politics are local.
Regardless of what happened at the national level, some historic state and local election races were won on November 8th, which raised the political stock of blacks in a number of places across the country. One of the best examples of this came in Jefferson County, Alabama, an historically referenced and notorious KKK stronghold.
In this Alabama municipality, nine black women were elected to judicial positions in the local and state courts of Jefferson County in Birmingham. Kelley D. Evans, a general editor for The Undefeated (a credible online news source), gave praise to nine of her fellow black women for achieving an absolutely fantastic feat in an important local election.
“According to The Birmingham Times, the Democratic sweep in the district and circuit courts include Javan Patton, Debra Bennett Winston, Shera Craig Grant, Nakita “Niki” Perryman Blocton, Tamara Harris Johnson, Elisabeth French, Agnes Chappell, Brendette Brown Green and Annetta Verin. The ladies will be sworn in by January,” Evans wrote.
There are many reasons why this clean sweep by black women on the bench is so significant. The local judicial systems in America are basically a breeding ground that is astronomically feeding black people with non-violent drug crimes into county jails and state prisons in every state you can think of.
This is particularly a huge problem in southern states like Alabama. Judges have a considerable amount of discretion when comes to how much jail or prison time a person faces after they are sentenced. They even have the right to decide against jail or prison time in certain cases if they choose.
The election of these nine black women in Jefferson County, Alabama will definitely open the door to giving black people a fairer shot as it pertains to how they are dealt with once subjected to sentencing guidelines in criminal cases.
What a white male judge did for Brock Turner in California after he was convicted of aggravated charges of $exual abuse shows what type of preferential treatment people can get in the justice system if they are of the right ethnicity. However, this glorious case in Alabama sets the stage for a more sane brand of justice in the future.
If these nine women look deeply into their hearts while serving in their positions, they can collectively undo the curses of the racially oppressive preschool-to-prison pipeline being unleashed against black youths in their state. They can also set a trend in Alabama by stopping the mass incarceration of their people for non-violent drug offenses.
Black people should never expect black judges and black prosecutors to give them the type of preferential treatment Brock Turner got for committing a disgusting and violent crime that he was legally guilty of. Blacks would look bad by emulating despicable forms of judgement in fiduciary legal positions. Victims and families are owed much more than that.
However, when black judges and prosecutors reverse the precursors to the mass incarceration of non-violent offenders, as well as mother minor offenders, they open the doors of justice, which can benefit all people and set an example of excellence in a judicial system that is beyond broken.