Center for American Progress

The Tragic Association of Criminality and Blackness

The Tragic Association of Criminality and Blackness

This week, Igor discusses the damaging association of criminality and blackness with writer Clint Smith and Brian Ferguson, director of the Washington, D.C., Mayor's Office on Returning Citizen Affairs.

In the past few weeks, two instances of racial bias—one at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, the other in an Alabama Waffle House—caught national attention. On this episode, Igor speaks with Clint Smith, teacher, writer, and Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University, about the historical roots of racism and black criminalization that have created deep racial disparities such as in school discipline and policing. Then, Brian Ferguson, director of the Washington, D.C., Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs, joins to discuss his experience being wrongly convicted for homicide; the 11 years he spent in prison fighting the conviction; and the barriers to reentry formerly incarcerated individuals face once they get out of prison.

Learn more about the podcast here.

Igor Volsky is a vice president at the Center for American Progress. Rachel Rosen is the senior director of Broadcast Communications at the Center. Sally Tucker is the radio coordinator for Communications at the Center.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Igor Volsky

Vice President

Rachel Rosen

Senior Director, Broadcast Communications

Sally Tucker

Broadcast Coordinator