This op-ed in the Times today made me sad and angry.
I just read a book called The Worst Hard Time, about the Dust Bowl. (Great book -- I recommend it. It's by Tim Egan.) There was a wrenching episode in which two black men who were riding the rails looking for work were arrested somewhere in the Midwest and put in jail for stealing some food. Twice they were hauled into court before a judge who made them dance. And then sent them back to jail.
I've never in my adult life been very far from indigence (literally and figuratively speaking). I'm fine being poor. I think I could adjust to being even poorer -- I've never had any money -- but the moral judgment scares me, the shunning. J and I were just talking yesterday about the old black men who hang out at the bus stop on the corner. They're old, poor, and very polite. They ask for money, but they are so not a threat to anyone, yet the police harass them regularly, make them get up, move. It's just a big show of power and humiliation.
So far to go.