In The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander argues that mass incarceration is the single most pressing civil rights issue of the 21st century. Tracing the history of the prison boom from the Reconstruction to the War on Drugs, Alexander's informative and enraging account will open your eyes and spur you to action. Recommended By Marlena W., Powells.com
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
A longtime civil rights advocate and litigator, Michelle Alexander
won a 2005 Soros Justice Fellowship and now holds a joint appointment at the Moritz College of Law and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University. Alexander served for several years as the director of the Racial Justice Project at the ACLU of Northern California, which spearheaded the national campaign against racial profiling. At the beginning of her career she served as a law clerk on the United States Supreme Court for Justice Harry Blackmun. She lives outside Columbus, Ohio.