OPEN SEASON by Ben Crump
Kirkus Star


Legalized Genocide of Colored People
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An accomplished civil rights attorney and former president of the National Bar Association exposes subtle, systemic genocide in America.

Crump assails the criminal justice system in the United States as one designed for white, wealthy men: All others are on their own. “This book,” he writes, “featuring many of the cases I have worked on, reveals the systematic legalization of discrimination in the United States, and particularly how it can lead to genocide—the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a people. This book particularly addresses genocide as it relates to colored people.” It’s vital, writes the author, to understanding the terms involved as well as how those terms have been manipulated over time. First, the concept of race does not have a biological or genetic basis. It began in the 15th century as Europe sought to justify enslaving, murdering, and stealing the lands of Indigenous people. When left unchecked, racism, the assertion of superiority in order to discriminate, is a tool of genocide. There are also institutional racism and environmental racism, demonstrated in the plight of citizens enduring poisonous water in Flint, Michigan, as well as legal slavery in our prisons, people innocently killed in police custody or on the street under “stand your ground” laws. Crump consistently condemns the courts’ failures, demonstrating how policing is unequal and disproportionate; as he notes, people of color are far more likely to go to jail for misdemeanors than white people. The Supreme Court has a long pattern of intellectual justification of discrimination and has relied on the concept of states’ rights to throw out cases. Though Jim Crow laws were overturned in the 1960s, new laws quickly replaced them, laws that may be less obvious but still result in voter suppression. Crump rightly warns readers to ignore talk of voter fraud; it’s a myth used to justify restrictive laws. Many readers will be justifiably infuriated by the author’s well-documented findings; hopefully, they will also choose to follow his 12 “personal action steps” to combat systemic racism.

There is much more to inequality and discrimination than we know, and Crump will open your eyes. Pay attention.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-06-237509-4
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2019