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Conservatives Swiftly Latch Onto Denzel Washington’s Comments About Prison System

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Denzel Washington plays an idealistic defense attorney in “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”(Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)

Denzel Washington’s comments about how fatherless boys can get pushed into the prison system gave conservatives plenty of content to fawn over. While discussing his new film, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.,” the actor was pointedly asked for his thoughts on the prison industrial complex.

“It starts at the home,” he told reporters at the movie’s New York premiere Monday, Nov. 20 according to the New York Daily News. “It starts at home. It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure. So you know, I can’t blame the system. It’s unfortunate that we make such easy work for them.”

In an interview with Reuters earlier this month, Washington gave an example of how not having a father in the home affects a young man’s outlook.

“I grew up with guys who did decades [in prison] and it had as much to do with their fathers not being in their lives as it did to do with any system,” he said in a Tuesday, Nov. 14 article.

In fact, Brooklyn, NY-based criminal defense attorney Kenneth J. Montgomery says Washington is partly right.

“I think a father in the home — as in any home — facilitates stability,” Montgomery told Atlanta Black Star Monday, Nov. 27. “Stability sometimes breeds better decision making. It provides a sense of belonging and comfort.

“There is a strong correlation,” he added of the impact of fathers being present in a Black household. “If you study a majority of criminal cases across the board, the lack of a father in the home is a common denominator, among poverty and other issues.”

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After conservative website Breitbart picked up the two quotes, commenters had a field day.

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Regardless of the detractors, Montgomery says it is up to Black communities to take control in the quest for liberation.

“Black people must take full responsibility [for] evolving and seeking freedom,” he said. “Education should be the foundation of that freedom.”


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