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Society/Culture

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


Legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues persuasively we 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 Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control.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 racistl history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its deliberate transformation into the war on drugs. She provides 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. She spoke at Riverside Church in Manhattan May 21, 2011. 

Michelle Alexander is a longtime civil rights advocate and litigator. She won a 2005 Soros Justice Fellowship and now holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Mortiz College of Law at Ohio State University. Alexander served for several years as director of the Racial Justice Project at the ACLU of Northern California, and subsequently directed the Civil Rights Clinics at Stanford Law School, where she was an associate professor. Alexander is a former law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court, and has appeared as a commentator on CNN, MSNBC, and NPR.

Notes:

  1. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness: http://www.newjimcrow.com/
  2. Moritz College of Laq – Faculty: Michelle Alexander: http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/faculty/bios.php?ID=2
  3. Democracy Now!: Legal Scholar Michelle Alexander on “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”: http://www.democracynow.org/2010/3/11/legal_scholar_michelle_alexander_on_the

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Human, All Too Human.

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