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

af Michelle Alexander

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
3,3891012,756 (4.43)274
This work argues that the War on Drugs and policies that deny convicted felons equal access to employment, housing, education, and public benefits create a permanent under caste based largely on race. As the United States celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status - much like their grandparents before them. In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community - and all of us - to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.… (mere)
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    Black And Catholic in the Jim Crow South: The Stuff That Makes Community af Danny Duncan Collum (fulner)
    fulner: Black and Catholic explorers the loves of those who loved through double discrimination. In 21st century America we have a hard time imaging Southern Baptists and Catholics being bitter enemies but in the Jim crow South Catholics were less trusted than negros, a black one even worse. The new Jim crow shows the legal separation of the mid 20th century still e exists but in a way now the white liberals don't care.… (mere)
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    A Costly American Hatred af Joseph Rodney Dole (arethusarose)
    arethusarose: A broad look at the American penal system with an emphasis on Illinois. What is astonishing about this book is that the author is in prison in Illinois, spent years in a supermax prison, and yet managed to do substantial research and construct clear, cogent work on the US penal system. He is also brave to publish this work while still in prison.… (mere)
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» Se også 274 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 95 (næste | vis alle)
A well-researched book that documents that convicts the US particularly of an astounding level of racial discrimination. She points out the history of trying to rid ourselves of racial discrimination and the pitfalls involved. At the end of the work, she also points the way forward, while being aware of the continuing work that is necessary. ( )
  aevaughn | Jan 4, 2021 |
Of all the American race relations books I've read to date, this is one of my favorites (clearly outclassed by W.E.B. Du Bois Souls of Black Folk, but also much more current). It's a well presented book, although there are certain parts of the argument which seem wrong. Essentially, the core argument is that the drug war has been used since the early 1980s primarily as a means to lock up (mostly urban) black (and to some extent brown) people, rather than a response to crime.

There's a solid section about how being arrested is the beginning of a long negative path, and how a lot of areas are set up (through increased police presence, lack of discretion at the judicial stage, housing and public benefits policies, etc.) to trap people in a system which essentially guarantees lifelong marginalization. While doing crime is a voluntary action, the deck does appear pretty stacked by race. However, if you look at violent crime statistics as well, particularly historical, there was/is a substantial racial difference in violent crime, which is less explained by police presence. Once someone is arrested and especially convicted, particularly of a felony, that it's very difficult to recover, particularly if you were poor beforehand, and especially a poor black male, seems unquestionable.

To some extent, the book has already been overcome by events -- the opioid epidemic among (mostly rural) white people (and before that, some of the meth epidemic) have made drug problems much more race-blind, although there's still differential prison population due to history and longer sentences. The de facto decriminalization of marijuana across much of the US (medical, and now recreational) has reduced the scope of drug crimes to a smaller group of poorer people (urban/black and poor/rural), and to some extent psychedelic decriminalization seems to be coming as well, so using the drug war as a mass-scale driver of incarceration is going to be more difficult; it's a smaller number of people who actually can be locked up long-term, rather than a rotating population going in and out of jail.

Some of the more interesting things brought up by the book are the "civil rights vs. human rights" argument, and mass political movement vs. something led by lawyers in individual cherry-picked cases. There's a fundamental difficulty in defending individual criminals and saying they're victims of an oppressive system -- even if the system is statistically unjust, they're still individually criminals and it's hard to get public support for them.

Toward the end, the author brought up programs like Affirmative Action which do hurt poor/low-status whites and become a battlefield, polarizing the whole thing racially in a way that merely ending slavery or ending Jim Crow wouldn't -- much less individual impact on the larger number of people. There's an argument about individuals vs. groups, and the strategy of individual exceptionalism vs. policies which help a group overall, and whether helping a small number of people get into institutions will ultimately help others, which is probably more a libertarian vs. collectivist argument than about race. ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
How the “War on Drugs” declared by the Reagan administration in the 1980s real agenda was a cover for a war on black men that led to the state of mass incarceration present in the United States twenty year later. This “war” on members of the civilian population lead to a new system of Jim Crow that left African American families and other people of color separated from the rest of society through the unequal enforcement of drug laws and the erosion of civil rights. The courts, by ignoring the 4th amendment to the Constitution, permitted the police to stop and frisk anyone they thought might have drugs, and gave them the discretion to target the poor, the indigent and black as being suspicious. Thus, by replacing the old racial insults with the code phrase “law and order,” it continued the segregation of American society as effectively as did its predecessors: Jim Crow, redlining, and slavery.

The book is a sobering tale of a continuing national disgrace. ( )
  MaowangVater | Dec 13, 2020 |
Alexander backs her thesis effectively and calls for a change to the "colorblind" justice system that mass-incarcerates people of color and then strips them of all social capital or assistance upon release. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
wow. this is an utterly devastating look at our criminal "justice" system, especially in relation to the war on drugs and targeting of black men. also she really explains how we are told that black men are arrested for violent crime and that we are fed that falsehood, but that the reality is quite different. (truly integrating that knowledge, i think, will take a while, because of how ingrained the lies are.) reading this felt a lot like it used to feel when i first learned about oppressions and how they operate. this book is hard, eye-opening, and so hugely important in explaining how mass incarceration from the war on drugs has not made communities safer, drugs less common, drug use lower, and has intentionally and with lasting repercussions decimated the black (and to a lesser extent the brown) populations that were inching their way to too much equality. the ruination of the 4th amendment and the money and materials grab from police departments is stunning and crushing, and probably the biggest takeaway from this book for me, personally.

she managed to take huge concepts and make it readable and accessible. this isn't hard to read, except that in content it's so gutting. her explanations of it all is so well done and so convincingly written.

"Every system of injustice depends on the silence, paralysis, confusion, and cooperation of those it seeks to eliminate or control."

"White people are generally allowed to have problems, and they've historically been granted the power to define and respond to them. But people of color - in this 'land of the free' forged through slavery and genocide - are regularly viewed and treated as the problem.

This distinction has made all the difference. Once human beings are defined as the problem in the public consciousness, their elimination through deportation, incarceration, or even genocide becomes nearly inevitable. White nationalism, at its core, reflects a belief that our nation's problems would be solved if only people of color could somehow be gotten rid of, or at least better controlled. In short, mass incarceration and mass deportation have less to do with crime and immigration than the ways we've chosen to respond to those issues when black and brown people are framed as the problem. ...[T]hroughout our nation's history, when crime and immigration have been perceived as white, our nation's response has been radically different from when those phenomena have been defined as black or brown. The systems of mass incarceration and mass deportation may seem entirely unrelated at first glance, but they are both deeply rooted in our racial history, and they both have expanded in part because of the enormous profits to be made in controlling, exploiting, and eliminating vulnerable human beings."

"Human rights champion Bryan Stevenson has observed that 'slavery didn't end; it evolved.'"

"White supremacy, over time, became a religion of sorts. Faith in the idea that people of the African race were bestial, that whites were inherently superior, and that slavery was, in fact, for blacks' own good, served to alleviate the white conscience and reconcile the tension between slavery and the democratic ideals espoused by whites in the so-called New World. There was no contradiction in the bold claim made by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence that 'all men are created equal' if Africans were not really people. Racism operated as a deeply held belief system based on 'truths' beyond question or doubt. This deep faith in white supremacy not only justified an economic and political system in which plantation owners acquired land and great wealth through the brutality, torture, and coercion of other human beings; it also endured, like most articles of faith, long after the historical circumstances that gave rise to the religion passed away. In Wacquant's words: 'Racial division was a consequence, not a precondition of slavery, but once it was instituted it became detached from its initial function and acquired a social potency all its own.' After the death of slavery, the idea of race lived on."

"As numerous researchers have shown, violent crime rates have fluctuated over the years and bear little relationship to incarceration rates - which have soared during the past three decades regardless of whether violent crime was going up or down."

"No other country in the world disenfranchises people who are released from prison in a manner even remotely resembling the United States. In fact, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has charged the U.S. disenfranchisement policies are discriminatory and violate international law."

"The widespread and mistaken belief that racial animus is necessary for the creation and maintenance of racialized systems of social control is the most important reason that we, as a nation, have remained in deep denial." ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Nov 5, 2020 |
Viser 1-5 af 95 (næste | vis alle)
Quoting Alexander: "I consider myself a prison abolitionist, in the sense that I think we will eventually end the prisons as we know them. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think we don’t need to remove people from the community who pose a serious threat or who cause serious harm for some period of time. But the question is do we want to create and maintain sites that are designed for the intentional infliction of needless suffering? Because that’s what prison is today. They are sites where we treat people as less than human and put them in literal cages and intentionally inflict harm and suffering on them and then expect that this will somehow improve them. It’s nonsensical, immoral, and counterproductive, and that is what I would like to see come to an end."
 
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.
tilføjet af 2wonderY | RedigerPublisher's Weekly
 

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Wikipedia på engelsk (41)

American juvenile justice system

City of Los Angeles v. Lyons

Comparison of United States incarceration rate with other countries

Jim Crow laws

Michelle Alexander

Prison

United States presidential election in Idaho, 1984

United States presidential election in Illinois, 1984

United States presidential election in Iowa, 1984

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This work argues that the War on Drugs and policies that deny convicted felons equal access to employment, housing, education, and public benefits create a permanent under caste based largely on race. As the United States celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status - much like their grandparents before them. In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community - and all of us - to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.

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