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

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

"Jarvious Cotton's great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation; his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole."

As the United States celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status--much like their grandparents before them.

In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community--and all of us--to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.

Title:The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781595581037
Format Type:

    The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness Reviews

  • Bill Kerwin

    In February of 2016, a powerful article appeared in The Nation: “Why Hillary Clinton Doesn't Deserve the Black Vote.” The name of its author—Michelle Alexander—struck me as familiar. Then I re...

  • Judith

    The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander will pick up your everyday white liberal guilt, tie it in knots, and leave you wondering how you could have ever...

  • Julie Christine

    1988. English 201. I was a college freshman, required to write a paper about fads vs. trends. For reasons I cannot recall, I chose to write about the War on Drugs. I can’t recall anything about the ...

  • Hadrian

    When the United States now has a prison population of nearly the same size and proportion as Stalinist Russia during the Great Purges, you know there's something deeply wrong with this country. (We ha...

  • BlackOxford

    Criminal PurposeIntention is not the equivalent of purpose - neither for individuals nor for societies. Intention is mental and ephemeral, an idea-before-the-fact which is part of a complex of other i...

  • Trevor

    You need to read this. I don’t pretend to have a terribly high opinion of the US. Like Australia, it is a settler society that really needs to reconcile and make amends with its own past. For instan...

  • Diane S ?

    I grew up in Chicago so I am well aware of how race can divide a city. I've lived it, seen it, the good and the bad. There are no problems harder to solve then sociological ones. One can mandate chang...

  • T Hamboyan Harrison

    No, black people aren't the majority in our American prisons because they're more likely to commit crimes. They're there because the "War on Drugs" has been applied to them more frequently than any ot...

  • Carol

    The New Jim Crow is essential reading for Americans who don't or haven't followed these issues closely over the last 30 years. It's a well-organized, thoughtful, accessible read - neither too light or...

  • Lumumba Shakur

    It is Michelle Alexander's experience as a lawyer which makes this such a successful piece. It is not novelty that makes this book so profound, but the authority upon which the argument is made: simpl...