Jon Stewart has an excellent interview with New York University professor of law and director of that university’s equal justice initiative Bryan Stevenson about his new book Just Mercythat looks at how the failure of the US to face up honestly to its past has resulted in the atrocious penal system that we now have where even children are sentenced to draconian prison terms and where black people are highly likely to end up in prison even if they are innocent.
He makes the point that the criminal justice system treats people who are rich and guilty better than those who are poor and innocent. We have a system that is horribly unjust and this simple image captures the situation accurately.
The extended interview is not a funny one but one of Stewart’s best because his guest is very clear and articulate and focused, and Stewart lets him have the floor. In comparison, the previous day’s interview with the odious Bill O’Reilly, where O’Reilly promotes the absurd idea held by many Americans that we can just wipe away the past of racism and that we are now all equal and have equal chances in life to succeed and anyone who talks about a privileged class is simply indulging in victimhood to excuse their own lack of drive. In fact, incredible as it may seem, Stevenson says that the rates of incarceration of black people now are even worse than they were in the 19th and 20th centuries, when racism was actually institutionalized.