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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the…

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (edition 2010)

by Michelle Alexander (Author)

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2,264644,227 (4.42)213
Title:The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Authors:Michelle Alexander (Author)
Info:The New Press (2010), Edition: 1, 290 pages
Collections:Your library

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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

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» See also 213 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
This book is extremely important. Everyone in America needs to read it. As Michelle Alexander lays it out, mass incarceration is a fundamental wrong, a racial cast system that controls a huge portion of the population, with no hope of returning to society, as voting, jobs, housing, even welfare, food stamps and educational aid are denied to ex-felons. Thus, a permanent underclass is created. What’s surprising is how many actually manage to get away from crime, as no legal options for livelihood are permitted to them.

America has one if the highest rates of incarceration in the world, and it is all created by The War on Drugs. Michelle Alexander explains how it created a militarized police, incentivized them to arrest drug criminals, and how the image of “drug criminal” has been burnished into the public mind as black, via mass media campaigns. Thus police regularly raid black neighborhoods and stops black and Latino motorists, even though blacks are half as likely then carry drugs, and Hispanics only a fifth as likely! Yet 80% of arrests are black and brown.

More of this review will come when I am more rested. This is a groundbreaking book. ( )
  Gezemice | Mar 8, 2019 |
This book, which ends with a devastating quote from James Baldwin, does indeed inspire me to work toward helping our "lost, younger brothers" to join us in building a kinder safer world for all of us.

Yet I might not have understood her premises on a visceral level had I not met an ex-felon in PG County, MD (called "Ward 9" by those of us still living in DC back in the day) who was barred from voting. I saw before me a fellow human being, apparently a decent person, denied a basic civil right even after he finished paying what the law lays out as his debt to society. That can only build resentment and further pain for all of us.

M. Alexander takes up the mantle of Dr. King's Poor People's Movement, essentially asserting that cultural change is what we need work toward, and urgently: now.
20 October, 12016 HE
( )
  ShiraDest | Mar 6, 2019 |
This was a companion read/watch for me with the Netflix documentary 13th, in which Michelle Alexander is featured. I guess this review is sort of a reflection on both works, more than a review of either (and I think the author would be okay with that). So here they are ... my reactions, as a white kid raised "colorblind," and as a Christian, and as an American who wants to understand what in the world is going on in her country, here specifically in regards to the racial tension between black and white.

There were things in this book I wanted to dismiss. Things I don't want to be true. But numbers are numbers. And money is money, and power is power, and no thinking person (especially one who, like me, believes humankind to be sinful) can deny that these things have been tempting idols from the dawn of time. No people group, however you divide us, is immune to them. What has happened in our country since the time of slavery shouldn't surprise anyone who believes this, but this book illuminated an aspect of it (mass incarceration) I was unaware of before.

Over the last year or two, I've begun to understand the detriment of colorblindness. I believe God created beauty in every culture, every skin tone. Why then would I want to say "it doesn't matter what color you are"? Of course it matters, or we would all have been created the same shade. But you can't be aware of someone else's race without also being aware that their ancestors might have different history than yours do. (In the case of black and white Americans, we must delete the might in that sentence.) And you can't be aware of history and not see that the current generations weren't born apart from that. There are no cultural vacuums. So rather than setting out to see our fellow man as clearly as we could (uncomfortable, that), we set out to become blind.

I'm rambling a bit. To my nonfiction-reading followers, read this book, especially if you think the premise is absurd. Go in as skeptical as you like. See if you emerge the same way. Think about the observations put forth here, whether or not you come to the same conclusions on how to solve the problem (sometimes I did; sometimes I didn't). The author isn't asking much: think about this, listen and show compassion to your fellow human beings. All of them. Will we do that?

To those who would better absorb the visual/auditory medium of a documentary, prepare for some (needfully) graphic content and check out 13th. ( )
1 vote AmandaGStevens | Mar 2, 2019 |
This is a very thought-provoking book, and I recommend it. It is certainly seriously flawed. Read quickly past the introduction (it gets much better!). She does not present statistics well or honestly. There are big exaggerations. (Do poor people not vote because they're "terrorized," afraid of losing their government benefits, or because it's inconvenient or difficult, or just not worth it?) It is unnecessarily adversarial to civil rights organizations, and her criticism that they are too lawyerly is ironic given that the strongest part of this book is in its legal history. She uses biased language, and often gives extreme quotes without saying who said them (so you have to look in the notes to see that this was an extreme view, not mainstream as presented). And what about black women? They don't exist? Despite the flaws in the arguments, I still found them very interesting, and the broader worldview is compelling in many ways. ( )
  breic | Jan 29, 2019 |
This is one of the most important books I have ever read. Basically Michelle Alexander shows how The War on Drugs and mass incarceration is the new racial caste. She explains how slavery began, how slavery ended, the new racist laws during reconstruction, the fall of the laws, the rise of Jim Crow, the fall of Jim Crow and then finally the rise of using the prison system to continue to target black communities and treat them like 2nd class citizens. It might sound crazy at first, Michelle couldn’t believe it at first either, but she spells it out point by point. My mind was blown. The thing is you probably already know and heard a lot of the statistics used, but seeing them all together and how they add up is shocking. The New Jim Crow is informative of the history that cause the mass incarceration of black, the policies made under both political parties that targeted blacks by instead using the world criminals to avoid blatant racism in the public. It explains how the courts are able to continue this caste, by protecting itself with rulings that prevent people to even bring up it is racially bias. The book also explains what it truly means to be a felon, how it is legal for our country to discriminate against felons, and what it is doing to the black communities.

I highly recommend reading The New Jim Crow especially with the current events going on. This needs to be talked about and brought to light. It makes me upset that our country can ignore this problem. ( )
1 vote wellreadcatlady | Oct 4, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
Quoting Alexander: "I consider myself a prison abolitionist, in the sense that I think we will eventually end the prisons as we know them. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think we don’t need to remove people from the community who pose a serious threat or who cause serious harm for some period of time. But the question is do we want to create and maintain sites that are designed for the intentional infliction of needless suffering? Because that’s what prison is today. They are sites where we treat people as less than human and put them in literal cages and intentionally inflict harm and suffering on them and then expect that this will somehow improve them. It’s nonsensical, immoral, and counterproductive, and that is what I would like to see come to an end."
Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.
added by 2wonderY | editPublisher's Weekly

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michelle Alexanderprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chilton, KarenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, CornelForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Wikipedia in English (41)

American juvenile justice system

City of Los Angeles v. Lyons

Comparison of United States incarceration rate with other countries

Jim Crow laws

Michelle Alexander


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Argues that the War on Drugs and policies that deny convicted felons equal access to employment, housing, education, and public benefits create a permanent under caste based largely on race.

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