What Kim Ogg gets wrong about work, poverty, and crime

February 19, 2020
The Appeal

At a community conversation held in Houston’s Third Ward last summer, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said she wants to send a message: “Put down your gun and pick up an employment application.” The video received hundreds of comments after activist Shaun King posted it on Facebook. Many responses focused on how her remarks seemed tone deaf from a prosecutor who was elected to bring fairness and equity to Harris County’s criminal legal system.

“The idea of just putting the guns down and picking up a job application sounds innocent, but it’s one of the long-living white supremacist ideas that completely ignores the many barriers put in place for POC [people of color], especially those with backgrounds that her office unnecessarily charges,” Monique Joseph, a field organizer with Texas Advocates for Justice, told The Appeal in a text message. ”Her comment is ultimately condescending and feeds into the stereotype that Black men don’t want to work and, therefore, deserve to be treated harshly by the system.”