Buffalo & Erie County Public LibraryStaff Review by Beth Lewitzky:
Legal scholar Michelle Alexander asserts that mass incarceration resulting from the “War on Drugs” is the latest manifestation of a racial caste system that is presumed to have ended with the Jim Crow era. This latest form of social control is particularly insidious because it is not explicitly racist, but commonly believed to be “colorblind.” Alexander’s argument is supported by the fact that black poverty rates have not changed and even worsened in some cases since the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. And most convincing is the fact that drug use is actually slightly higher in white middle class communities, which are far from being the target of the “War on Drugs.” Many other examples are given of the how the criminal justice system disenfranchises disproportionate numbers of black and brown men, often for minor drug offenses.
Alexander concludes with a call to action, not just for the reform of the criminal justice system, but also for a movement that focuses on human rights and the economic and social inequalities in our system.
Clearly written and well documented, The New Jim Crow should be read by everyone interested in race and criminal justice in the United States.
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