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New Jim Crow, The Paperback – 23 Feb 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press; Reprint edition (23 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595586431
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595586438
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The subtle power of Alexander's analysis of mass incarceration as a racial caste system, not as a system of crime control prove overwhelming. Geoff Dyer's Book of 2012 --New Statesman

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 ACLU s Racial Justice Project in Northern California, Alexander served as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. Cornel West is the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University.
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Firstly, let me say that I am not anti-American in any way, I am perfectly aware that the British Empire has plenty of skeletons in their cupboard!
To say that this book will open your eyes is a bit of an understatement. Once you've read this book you will view white American authority in a totally different light. This book explores and then presents the blatant racism / prejudice that still exits against African American blacks and other minorities in America today. It is worse than slavery, worse than segregation, in fact it's like something from the dark ages in terms of its blatant repression and regime of the incarceration of African American blacks. It vies equally with the persecution of the Jews. There may not be gas chambers or the number but the ruination of life is in some ways comparable.
It is nearly all hidden under the guise of the `war against crime' as they call it - mainly the drugs war. I am not saying that problems do not exist in the UK, but for certain we do approach things slightly differently?
The answer as far as the American politicians, courts and police are concerned is simply to `target' the blacks, lock them up and then take away everything that is important to a human being: their home, job, their loved ones, financial support and self-respect. American prisons now house some two million prisoners (nearly all black) at a cost of 200 billion dollars a year. The system provides jobs for some 700,000 workers in the US.
The incarceration rates for these black communities are staggering. They are so obviously unjust when (compared to the `whites' rate of arrests; the system is clearly and wholly prejudiced.
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Michelle Alexander clearly knew it would be difficult to convince readers that the justice system in modern. America is so racist that it is comparable to the Jim crow days, A system that existed in the states following the abolition of slavery that downgraded African Americans to second class status, segregation and legal mistreatment at the hands of white people. This task would obviously be made harder by the fact a black man is now president. But She achieves this brilliantly with thorough research, citing numerous cases, pieces of legislation and statistics proving beyond reasonable doubt, that the system is infact racially biased and has resulted in the downgrading of millions of African Americans to a second class citizenship. This has occurred because of extremely strict laws implemented in the war on drugs, specifically crack cocaine. A war that has unfairly targeted poor black communities even though drug related crimes are committed just as often if not more in white neighbourhoods also. If you still remain unconvinced ill use an experiment she discusses in the book and ask you to close your eyes and imagine a crack dealer selling drugs. On the street....if you imagined he was black just as most of the participants did, you have been manipulated by media to now have a racist stereotype of black men this is what has contributed to the forming of the new Jim crow!! A must read for anyone interested in human rights which should really be of concern to us all.
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A very well researched, well executed and accessible book that was a real eye opener. I can't look at the American criminal justice system with the same eyes now, especially on drug policy. Shameful. Michelle Alexander features as a talking head on a great documentary on Netflix called "The house I live in" about America's failed War on Drugs, which is also excellent.
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This book will change the way you think about criminal and judicial systems in the US. It will shine a light on a new form of segregation based on Race.

After looking at a pamphlet, proclaiming that Drug War is the new Jim Crow, the author ignored it as a theory promoted by a bunch of conspiracy guys. She continues in her job as a civil rights lawyer, but in due course realises that the statement was actually true. Millions of black and brown people in the US are languishing behind bars because of the Drug war that was unleashed during the 80’s when Ronald Regan was the president. The outcome of her quest to expose the truth is this book. And what a fantastic book this is.

Here are the key points raised in the book:

1. The race based segregation never went away, it just changed to a form that was more palatable to the prevalent norms in the society. Started as Slavery, ended with the civil war in 1865. Transformed to Jim crow laws, ended with the civil rights law in 1964. Transformed to War on drugs in the 1980’s, and still going on. It’s like a chameleon changing colours to avoid being detected

2. The criminal and judicial systems act in tandem to act as a funnel sucking in an increasing number of black and brown people into a life of segregation. At top of the funnel are the police who routinely stop and search the minorities looking for drugs, flagrantly defying 4th amendment which was meant to protest people’s right to privacy . Black and brown men are put in jail for possessing even small quantities of drugs, while the white men are treated differently. Once they are behind bars, they are scared into accepting guilty plea by the prosecutor, or go to trial and risk harsh sentences.
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