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

This book is an important part of understanding the differences between the black and white experience in America.  While current society deems "colorblindness" to be the cure for racial tension, the author posits that "colorblindness" leads to the turning of a blind eye to the systematic ways in which African Americans are discriminated against in today's society.  Michelle Alexandar traces the history of the legal system from slavery to current day, and successfully shows that the Jim Crow laws of yesterday have been reborn in the legal framework that supports mass incarceration.  This book provides critical ammunition to fight the ignorant arguments used to dismiss the fact that racism is still a systemic problem held in place by a legal framework designed to marginalize African Americans.


Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as "brave and bold," this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a "call to action."

Called "stunning" by Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David Levering Lewis, "invaluable" by the Daily Kos, "explosive" by Kirkus, and "profoundly necessary" by the Miami Herald, this updated and revised paperback edition of The New Jim Crow, now with a foreword by Cornel West, is a must-read for all people of conscience.

Jeremy FergusonComment