Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The New Jim Crow

I was very impressed with Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. It makes a strong and disturbing argument that our current system crisis of incarceration is a new form of racial oppression, following slavery and Jim Crow. In particular she identifies the War on Drugs as targeting African American men who are then imprisoned -- caged -- and rendered second class citizens after their return to the community when they are legally discriminated against in terms of housing and employment and experience a civil death, no longer able to vote or serve on juries.

Alexander writes forcefully and persuasively, making a very strong case for scaling back the drug war and opening up an honest dialogue about race in this country.

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