In 1944, Gunnar Myrdal, a Swedish sociologist, published the book “An American Dilemma”
Myrdal argued America’s “dilemma” was the contrasting ideals of justice and equal opportunities which America was founded compared to the racial inequality faced by Black America at the time. Myrdal attempted to trace discrimination and show its effects on society.
Since 2011, I have been photographing violence, poverty, and racial disparity in cities throughout the United States. The dilemma that Myrdal argued in his book from the 40s, is still evident today in many aspects of black life. A disproportionate amount of deaths, a growing wealth gap, inequalities in employment, the criminal justice system and education are all problems constant faced by African American communities living in America.
The paradigm of inequality continues to become normality in the United States, often considered one of the greatest countries in the world. This “dilemma” incites violence and unrest and creates lasting physical and psychological effects on many.
USA. Brooklyn, New York. July 23, 2014 : The casket of Eric Garner is placed into the hearse after his funeral at Bethel Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York. Garner died after being placed in an illegal chokehold by an New York Police Department officer during a confrontation.
USA. Far Rockaway, New York. September 1, 2015 : A vigil is held for Newshawn Plummer at the spot where he was killed on Beach 26th Street and Seagirt Avenue in Far Rockaway. Plummer, 16, was shot a few blocks away from where his brother was killed 3 years ago.
USA. Ferguson, Missouri. November 26, 2014 : Police officers take control of the street after making an arrest as protestors became violent a day after the non-indictment decision in the shooting death of Michael Brown. Brown, 18, was shot in killed in a officer involved shooting. His death caused unrest in Ferguson and became symbolic in the Black Lives Matter movement throughout the United States.
USA. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. February 9, 2014 : Khayree Reid, 27, in his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Reid grew up in southwest Philadelphia and has been shot a total of 10 times on three separate occasions. He says he still suffers physically and emotionally from the trauma experienced from the shootings. "Yeah, I owned a gun. I got caught up with it. But it's not the guns; it's the people who kill people."
USA. Atlantic City, New Jersey. July 14, 2012 : A young girl looks out of a window of her home in the Back Maryland neighborhood of Atlantic City, a section of the city struck with recent violence. Residents fear leaving their homes at night because of the violence in their neighborhood.
USA. Camden, New Jersey. June 27, 2013 : Montika Lowe puts the memorial cross for her daughter Qua'Nyrah Houston back on the window sill of Qua'Nyrah's room. Houston, 15, was killed in a firebombing in Camden along with her 16-year-old boyfriend. No one has been charged in the killing.
USA. Camden, New Jersey. July 26, 2013 : Jorge Cartagena, 11, was hit by a stray bullet two years ago on his way to a corner store in Camden. He is missing one eye and is blind in the other. Jorge is one of the many youth living in Camden affected by violence at an early age.
USA. Wilmington, Delaware. July 21, 2012 : Family members weep as the casket of Alexander Kamara is lowered into the ground. Kamara, 16, was a promising student and soccer player who was killed after being caught in the crossfire of a shooting that took place on a Sunday afternoon during a soccer game in Wilmington.
USA. Ferguson, Missouri. November 24, 2014 : The interior of Redz Barbecue after it was looted and destroyed following the non-indictment decision in the shooting death of Michael Brown. Brown, 18, was shot in killed in a officer involved shooting. His death caused unrest in Ferguson and became symbolic in the Black Lives Matter movement throughout the United States.
USA. Camden, New Jersey. August 1, 2013 : A baby shower in Camden. Camden is considered one of the most dangerous places in America. The city of 70,000 ended 2012 with 67 homicides.
USA. Syracuse, New York. January 21, 2014 : Kuntry tears up as he holds the hand of his first son Da'jour after he was born. "It's all about us, I love you Da'jour," he said. "Real men cry." Kuntry is part of a rap group called Money Bag Movement, a group of young rappers that want to use hip-hop to achieve a better life, despite the music’s violent past in Syracuse.
USA. Charleston, South Carolina. June 19, 2015 : Dylann Roof, the man who killed nine church goers in a racially motivated shooting in Charleston, is seen on the television two days after the shooting at Fresh Cut Barbershop #2 on King Street.
USA. Baltimore, Maryland. April 28, 2015 : Black baby dolls hang from a tree in Baltimore, Maryland on April 28, 2015, the day after a night of clashes between police and protestors over the death of Freddie Gray a 25-year-old black man who died in police custody.
USA. Camden, New Jersey. August 10, 2013 : Keisha Boone makes breakfast for the six kids she takes care of. Keisha is one of many single mothers living in Camden. Her first husband was shot and killed, and the father of her most recent child is currently in jail.
USA. Syracuse, New York. October 19, 2013 : People dance to hip-hop music at a basement party on the West Side of Syracuse, New York on October 19, 2013. Due to hip-hop's violent history in Syracuse, local venues don't like to host concerts, leaving small basement parties one of the only options to hear the music.
USA. The Bronx, New York. July 23, 2014 : Police from the 47th Precinct in the Bronx at a domestic violence call in a fight between a mother and her daughter. This particular area in the Bronx saw surge in violence in 2014, including the slaying of a teenager by a nearby playground and an execution style murder where a 25-year-old man was shot three times in the head and once in the back.
USA. Wilmington, Delaware. August 11, 2011 : Brooklynn Bailey, 13, of Wilmington, hugs Nasser Alradaer, Norman Alhout's 14-year-old nephew. Alradaer, was close with his uncle before he was murdered inside his grocery store in the Browntown neighborhood of Wilmington.
USA. Mays Landing, New Jersey. June 25, 2012 : The body of Zach "Zooty Bang" Taylor is mourned by friends and family members at a funeral home in Mays Landing, New Jersey. An aspiring rapper, Taylor was 19- years-old when he was shot to death in Atlantic City's Westside, making him the city's ninth victim of homicide in 2012.
USA. Charleston, South Carolina. June 19, 2015: Oscar Mitchell, from North Charleston, prays for peace at Gethsemane Baptist Church on Romney Street, a cross street with on King Street in Charleston, South Carolina, two days after the racially motivated shooting at Emanuel AME Church which left nine people dead.