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Random Geek
Works at Infinity Interactive
Attended North Seattle Community College
Lives in Seattle WA USA
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Random Geek

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I've seen this claim made before, occasionally with a couple citations. +Rugger Ducky has put an admirable amount of thought into this, though. Read her post, follow her citation links, ponder the additional reading material suggested in the comments.

And yeah - I know the prison system affects poor whites as well. Had a few high school friends whose experiences showed that to me. But it affects people of color more. And poor people of color? Holy crap.
I am a citizen of a nation in which slavery is legal. 

That’s a very hard thing for me to say, and a harder thing still to hear. Hard for me to say, because I have lived my life fighting for the idea that all citizens of our country are equal. Of course, I’ve always had the privilege of having white skin to hide me from the truth. Harder still to hear, because in a nation where slavery is accepted, no one is ever truly a free citizen. 

But I can’t hide from the truth anymore. Even the UN Report on Human Rights in the United States pulled no punches when released last week.

I’m a lifelong, passionate student of history, and dreamer of the future. The song Imagine was released just before my birth. Born to an anti-Vietnam War hippie mom, who surely sang along to me in my crib the words of her favorite musician. I grew up listening to stories of those who had fought long and hard for equality. I read everything I could get my hands on about the struggles of this country to truly represent the freedom and rights enshrined in our laws. 

Slavery was stricken as constitutionally legal with the 13th Amendment. Yet the text itself left former slave owners with everything they needed to ensure they could continue prospering under the enforced labor of others. 

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

The system continued with Jim Crow laws. The “former” slaves were kept indebted to the land in the form of sharecropping. Requiring them to only get goods and seeds from the store associated with the landowner, and pay it off at the end of each growing season kept them too poor to leave. And if they did think about leaving, that’s when the laws against certain jobs, living in certain areas, shopping in certain places all applied. It was oh so easy to keep slavery going, because they had the force of law. A black man unknowingly breaking a Jim Crow law would find himself either lynched or imprisoned for a very long term. Almost certainly to work on a chain gang. 

And those prison jobs have always benefited the small local county sheriffs and police. They used the prisoners to staff their homes, care for their yards, and do labor for associates. While any profits were immediately pocketed by the police or sheriff. 

When Jim Crow officially ended, it was still decades before many could vote, or take any rights of citizens. 

But that pesky line in the 13th Amendment stayed there. 

The same sheriffs and police that fought to keep Jim Crow alive and well never left their cash cow behind. They stayed in office, and simply continued their normal practices. 

As a result, we now have a country that imprisons a far greater percent of our population than any other. That uses terms like “stop and frisk” as an acceptable practice to continue the enslavement and unfair imprisonment. 

You might say “Oh, what’s the harm in checking someone to see if they’re breaking the law?”. 

The harm comes in the violation of their 4th Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure. And in the overwhelmingly hard-handed use of these tactics against people of color. Even in “liberal” areas like the Bay Area.

A young white man is just as likely to be carrying marijuana as a young black man. Yet that young black man is many more times likely to be arrested for it.

We’ve grown our prisons for many reasons. For profit prisons are thriving, and have created a huge lobby. That lobby does much to push for “mandatory sentencing”, to ensure that minor crimes or even victimless crimes are punished far longer--so there is more profit per prisoner to be had.

Private prisons especially, but also many publicly run ones are continuing to be heavily used for their free/cheap labor. Your business have call center needs you don’t want to pay much for, or outsource overseas? Here’s the place for you! They even take the time to point out to racists that these prisoners speak English!! And their services include a great note Furthermore our agent turnover rate is less than half of the industry norm and the absenteeism rate is practically zero. Because there’s no such thing as a sick day or personal day in prison, and the average prison term is longer than most people can tolerate working in a call center environment outside the prison industry.

The Sheriff’s Union and Police Unions continue to rake in their profits, and have absolutely no incentive to hand over power. And since prosecutors depend on police cooperation to do their jobs, the police don’t get prosecuted for breaking the laws and violating civil rights of citizens. When citizens do try and speak up about the injustice, its easy to shut them down when you control all the power.

Slavery is, and always has been, a monetary system. There’s huge profit in enforced labor. Black lives in this country have only mattered as far as the monetary gain that can be stolen from their labor. 

And the answer to young black men and others of color is still the same as what it was for Jim in To Kill a Mockingbird. If you refuse to be stopped and imprisoned, if you refuse to be held any longer for crimes you haven’t committed, but merely for the color of your skin, that’s an immediate death penalty offense. 

Slavery or death. That’s the inevitable choice of people of color in the US. 
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Aaron McLin's profile photoRandom Geek's profile photo
Terminology is always weird, especially around social constructs. I just grabbed for the most widely used term I see at the moment. "People of color" will eventually shift into something differently awkward.

I came to a similar conclusion about my own social and economic community. At the same time, I believe meaningful action cannot happen without an awareness of the environment we live in. I sidestepped many statistical likelihoods by knowing what they were. And I use information to be aware of others who might want help avoiding their own statistical likelihoods.

I don't worry about people who choose not to act. That's the choice they have made, and it doesn't help me to waste thought on it. My focus is on people who act, and people who want to act. Life's not a fairy tale, but it doesn't have to be a boot stomping on a human face forever either.
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Auto Awesome sure does like this view.
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Yes, but all the framing and fancy filter work was done on Google's end of things.
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Google Auto Awesome having fun with my hotel room snapshot.
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8 and a half million tales in New York City
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All right fine. I'll install G+ on the iPhone.

Having brunch with friends and coworkers in Brooklyn.
Chuck McIntyre's profile photoBob Jewels's profile photoRandom Geek's profile photoTom Moncho's profile photo
My old stomping grounds....along with adjacent Cobble Hill [where I was born] and Boerum Hill [where we lived before moving to Astoria].  
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commented on a video on YouTube.
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I missed the response about who would have a problem with "The more the merrier." Must've been hilarious, though.
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+Random Geek Thank you for posting I enjoyed it very much.
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I've seen a few protests. Annoying how the news always zooms in on isolated violence, and those selected images become the face of the protest in history. And if there's no violence then there's no protest, as far as the news is concerned. We have the power to not let that happen, or at least to make it so those selected images aren't the only things history sees.

via +DeAno Jackson 
PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ THIS AND SHARE IT FAR AND WIDE. This is the counter to much of what you'll see in the media in the coming days. Your echo chamber needs this. Trust me.

Because the media will undoubtedly show you one thing, please avail yourself of perspectives not focused on the "good pictures" that get viewers. Chaos and train wrecks may be "compelling" to watch, but the truth feeds the soul. Please share this far and wide.

How many media outlets will show images of rival gangs coming together, PEACEFULLY protesting what REALLY caused all this unrest in Baltimore?

Remember, this nation was founded on "civil unrest." We will not be unjustly taxed. Whether that's a taxation on our livelihoods, our bodies or our spirits. And, peacefully many have marched but there will always be those violent few who take the opportunity to ply their trade.
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Google treads the just-this-side-of-creepy line by generating a story about my trip the morning after I get back. I tweaked it a bit, but the algorithms did a fine job.
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Very nice, looks like it was a good trip. 
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Auto Awesome thinks New York should be black and white.
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I can see the point.
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We hit the part of Betrayal at House On The Hill where the Haunting happens.

I don't want to hear anybody complaining about the complexity of GURPS or Hero ever again.
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+Random Geek Me too! 
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Sort of a counterpoint to +Chris Messina's "The full-stack employee" <>


All I know is that my urge to describe myself as "full-stack" started fading when the stack turned into a heap and was completely snuffed out by reading Messina's post. What a miserable life that describes. For me. Might be fine for you. In which case, go and enjoy yourself.
Ferdinand Zebua's profile photoAaron McLin's profile photoRandom Geek's profile photoTony Patino's profile photo
8 hours of screwup is actually twice as nice as 16 so it's in the right direction!
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I've been using Windows often enough that this tip was useful.
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A selection of photos from Linux Fest Northwest #lfnw  - including some of the Bellingham area.
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  • North Seattle Community College
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Other names
Random Geek, Brian Wisti
Brian Wisti, A Random Geek
I'm an unhip hipster geek.

My G+ stream is a bit eclectic: 

  • links to open source programming items (Linux, Perl, Python, Ruby, and more)
  • occasional sciencey science stuff
  • random posts that interest me from Google+, Twitter, Plurk, or whatever
  • links to some band that I've been replaying nonstop.
  • an occasional photo
  • navel-gazing - thoughts that amuse me but have nothing to do with anything.
  • My latest adventure installing one OS or another.
  • My continuing adventures in yarncraft (generally knitting, but you never know)
Awesome and accurate descriptions from people who know me best.:

David Bleecher - You're like the Dread Pirate Roberts of OS installation. You had a good day today, X11, I'll probably Fedora you tomorrow. :)

Eric von Foerster  -  Brian, the technological try-sexual, he'll try anything. 

VM BrasseurNo judgment intended with this question...

Is there any tech tool with which you DON'T want to play, +Brian Wisti?

You may be one of the most technologically gregarious/curious people I know. :-)

As I try to make myself more generally useful at work, you may occasionally see notes and links for proprietary tech in my stream.

Try not to panic.

Also - I don't want to unnerve you, but I attend church and believe after a fashion in God. It's not the cranky guy with a beard and a throne, but I call it God. It's one of the little lies I allow myself, along with "deep down people are basically good. Basically. Deep, deep down." I know that both beliefs make some people uncomfortable.

Bragging rights
Was on cleanup duty once because somebody got busy in a Burger King bathroom.
Web Geek
Perl, Python, Ruby, JavaScript, Knitting, Making Lists in Small Boxes
  • Infinity Interactive
    Programmer, 2014 - present
  • Smart Technologies
    Web Geek, 2014 - 2014
  • McKesson
    Perl Geek, 2010 - 2014
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Seattle WA USA
Seattle WA USA - Olympia WA USA - Bremerton WA USA - Mountain Home ID USA - Reno NV USA - Superior WI USA - Ukiah CA USA
iPhone 4 screen cracked due to an unexpected combination of gravity and a sharp rock. They fixed. Cheaper than upgrading. Great service and friendly staff. I would recommend JCD to anyone who would rather repair than upgrade. [edit] Six months later I went back to fix the back glass on a different phone. Twenty bucks and five minutes later I was out with everything all better. This just reinforces my high opinion from the first visit.
Appeal: Very GoodService: ExcellentQuality: Excellent
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
Some (though not all) of their stock may be a bit pricey, but the quality is good.
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago
My favorite coffee haunt. The brothers that run it are awesome and remember your name with shocking ease. Plenty of room to stretch out and outlets for your laptop. Food? Great goods baked on site, but not where you go for a meal.
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago
Sometimes the Geniuses in attendance here are nice and attentive, other times they are rude and dismissive. It's unpredictable. But they have the Apple stuff you need.
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago
8 reviews
If you're a lover of vegetarian food - and patient - come here. The food is great. They have a good rotation if fresh soups and desserts accompanying a solid veggie diner menu. It's not fast food, so don't come here in a rush. Non-vegetarians should go for the burrito. There's enough cheese to appease the meat craving for a bit.
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago
Okay, it's small and cramped, but the staff is very friendly and the pastries are delicious.
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago
It's crowded and hectic nearly every time I'm in, but the food is good and the staff is nice. The best deli comfort food I've ever had in Seattle. Breakfast is best. I highly recommend going in and finding out what their weekly pancake special is. It's usually something fun like chocolate chip, pumpkin, gingerbread, or some other seemingly random flavor. When we get breakfast at Roxy's we always end up going for the weekly special.
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago