I highly recommend Amiri Baraka’s experimental novel from the ’60s, The System of Dante’s Hell. Written under the poet’s name at that time, LeRoi Jones, Baraka gives a highly personal, somewhat autobiographical, account of how the experience of being a black man can be related in terms suggestive of Hell as developed by Dante in the Inferno.
In fact, a modified version of Dante’s system is provided at the beginning of the book. But don’t get trapped into attempting to marry each section of Baraka’s narrative to Dante’s map of Hell.
In the last few days there have been at least three newsworthy killings, all by guns. One was an innocent, unarmed black man who was being held down on the ground by the police yet still was deemed a threat to the life of one other policeman that he felt obliged to pump numerous bullets into the body of the subdued black man. Another was a black man who was stopped for an alleged tail-light malfunction. The black man informed the police that he was armed but that he carried a permit for the concealed weapon. The police demanded his papers and when he reached for the papers, he was shot and killed by an over-anxious policeman who apparently was very afraid of a black man with a gun.
Then last night while patrolling a Black Lives Matter rally, an apparent crossfire of angry African-Americans killed at least five policemen and wounded many other people, police and civilian. Later the police were able to kill at least one of the shooters. Now we learn that the lone shooter was a veteran and trained killer clad in body armor and upset about the recent police killings. Interestingly, the shooter was taken out by sending in the bomb robot, not to remove a bomb but rather to deliver a bomb. Skynet, here we come.
Is this man on a par with the terrorists who seek to destroy the American way of life?
During Wednesday oral arguments in a Supreme Court case on affirmative action, Justice Antonin Scalia argued that black Americans do not benefit from race-based quota policies. “They’re being pushed into schools that are too advanced for them,” he reportedly said of black students. “Most of the black scientists in this country do not come from the most advanced schools,” the justice added. He said they benefited from a “slower track.” Scalia has long opposed affirmative-action policies in higher education.