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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindnessby Michelle Alexander
Synopses & Reviews
The New Jim Crow was initially published with a modest first printing and reasonable expectations for a hard-hitting book on a tough topic. Now, ten-plus printings later, the long-awaited paperback version of the book Lani Guinier calls brave and bold,” and Pulitzer Prizewinner David Levering Lewis calls stunning,” will at last be available.
In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you're labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination — employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service — are suddenly legal.
Featured on The Tavis Smiley Show, Bill Moyers Journal, Democracy Now, and C-Spans Washington Journal, The New Jim Crow has become an overnight phenomenon, sparking a much-needed conversation—including a recent mention by Cornel West on Real Time with Bill Maher — about ways in which our system of mass incarceration has come to resemble systems of racial control from a different era.
"Devastating....Alexander does a fine job of truth-telling, pointing a finger where it rightly should be pointed: at all of us, liberal and conservative, white and black." Forbes
"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 criminal-justice policies." Newsweek
"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." Daily Kos
"Many critics have cast doubt on the proclamations of racisms 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." Publishers Weekly
"[Written] with rare clarity, depth, and candor." Counterpunch
"A call to action for everyone concerned with racial justice and an important tool for anyone concerned with understanding and dismantling this oppressive system." Sojourners
"Undoubtedly the most important book published in this century about the U.S." Birmingham News
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.
About the Author
Michelle Alexander is an associate professor of law at Ohio State University and holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. Formerly the director of the ACLUs Racial Justice Project in Northern California, Alexander served as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun.
Cornel West is the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University.
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