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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness Paperback – January 16, 2012
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Alexander is absolutely right to fight for what she describes as a much-needed conversation” about the wide-ranging social costs and divisive racial impact of our
Invaluable . . . a timely and stunning guide to the labyrinth of propaganda, discrimination, and racist policies masquerading under other names that comprises what we call justice in America.
Many critics have cast doubt on the proclamations of racism’s erasure in the Obama era, but few have presented a case as powerful as Alexander’s.
—In These Times
Carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable.
[Written] with rare clarity, depth, and candor.
A call to action for everyone concerned with racial justice and an important tool for anyone concerned with understanding and dismantling this oppressive system.
Undoubtedly the most important book published in this century about the U.S.
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Alexander notes in her preface that she wrote this book specifically for people who already care about racial justice, and if you're one of those people, I urge you to read this with the promise that you will come away from it with a much more comprehensive understanding of our current racial caste system.
It's so well-researched, so informative, and so compelling. I've seen some readers lament that Alexander spends parts of the second half of the book rehashing arguments from the first half, but this approach actually worked for me: by reiterating certain points throughout, she helped me better understand their context within the bigger picture.
Finally, I have to say that reading this book now—during this point in time—was especially impactful. I learned that there's a deep history of politicians and wealthy whites exploiting white working class vulnerabilities and racial resentments in order to preserve power and deliberately driving a wedge between poor whites and poor minorities. With so much talk right now about the economic anxieties of white working class Trump voters, I came away from this book with an even deeper conviction that pandering to poor and working class whites exclusively is absolutely not the answer. Rather, we need a real movement that addresses class struggles among all races so that we don't risk history continuing to repeat itself.
It also explains a great many of the news stories we've seen exploding across our screens in recent days. How our local police departments became so heavily militarized. How so many of our citizens are being stopped for a motor vehicle stop, where a broken tail light can so quickly escalate into a shooting. Honestly so much of this book hit home with regard to the current news stories about Philandro Castile and others, that I had to stop reading this book for a little while and just watch the story play out across my TV screen for what became days. I seriously cannot recommend this book enough, it is very timely indeed!
Alexander shows how the war on drugs has resulted in vastly unequal outcomes by race, even though all studies show that whites and people of color use drugs at the same rates. She shows clearly through careful, logical analysis how this system operates, how it has been inoculated against legal challenge at every level (which was shocking and deeply disturbing to me) and how the lifelong effects of being caught in this dragnet never end.
This book is urgently needed now more than ever. If there is any hope of healing the poisonous legacy of slavery in this country, it is imperative that this system of oppression be understood clearly, and dismantled permanently, without allowing a new version of racial control to spring up in its place.