Synopses & Reviews
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 presidency 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 controlrelegating millions to a permanent secondclass statuseven 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 Prizewinning historian David Levering Lewis, "invaluable" by the Daily Kos, "explosive" by Kirkus, and "profoundly necessary" by the Miami Herald, The New Jim Crow is a mustread for all people of conscience.
"Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that '[w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.' Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as 'a system of social control' ('More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850'). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the 'war on drugs.' She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates 'who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits.' Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: 'most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration' but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Michelle Alexander's brave and bold new book paints a haunting picture in which dreary felon garb, post-prison joblessness, and loss of voting rights now do the stigmatizing work once done by colored-only water fountains and legally segregated schools. With dazzling candor, Alexander argues that we all pay the cost of the new Jim Crow." Lani Guinier, professor at Harvard Law School and author of Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice and The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy
"Explosive debut — alarming, provocative and convincing.” Kirkus Reviews
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.