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The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Updated: Jun 27, 2019

The New Press 2010

Revised edition with forward by Cornel West 2012


Explores the War on Drugs politics. Shows how the War on Drug is really a class war, and has created a racial outsider caste in America.


It is no longer acceptable to talk about race in America as we could when the Jim Crow laws were in effect, but a New Jim Crow system has taken the old system’s place: Mass Incarceration.


Excerpts from this Summary: http://www.cflj.org/programs/new-jim-crow/


More African Americans are under the control of the criminal justice system today – in prison or jail, on probation or parole – than were enslaved in 1850. Discrimination in housing, education, employment, and voting rights, which many Americans thought was wiped out by the civil rights laws of the 1960s, is now perfectly legal against anyone labeled a “felon.” And since many more people of color than whites are made felons by the entire system of mass incarceration, racial discrimination remains as powerful as it was under slavery or under the post-slavery era of Jim Crow segregation.


 ...Alexander explains how the criminal justice system functions as a new system of racial control by targeting black men through the “War on Drugs.” The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, for example, included far more severe punishment for distribution of crack (associated with blacks) than powder cocaine (associated with whites). Civil penalties, such as not being able to live in public housing and not being able to get student loans, have been added to the already harsh prison sentences.

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