The new Jim Crow: mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness / Michelle What has changed since the collapse of Jim Crow has less to do with the. Chapter 3: The Color of Justice. Chapter 4: The Cruel Hand. Chapter 5: The New Jim Crow. Chapter 6: The Fire This Time. Organizing Guide: Building a Movement to End The New Jim Crow A free, downloadable pdf of the guide is available to groups that have read or are planning.
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I state my basic thesis in the introduction to my book, The New Jim Crow: http:// ruthenpress.info; see also. Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a. PDF | On Sep 12, , Robert C. Hauhart and others published The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
While some people blame gangsta rap culture on the high rates of violence and drug use in African-American communities, research has shown that it is in fact poverty and lack of job opportunities that drives people to crime. She finds it odd that, despite the ubiquity of this question, nobody gives the honest answer that a large percentage of them are in prison.
Alexander argues that in order to address the problem of mass incarceration, we must become more honest about the fact that it is taking place.
Alexander reviews the many similarities between Jim Crow and mass incarceration. Both were created in order to redirect the anger of working-class whites away from economic issues and toward the scapegoat of people of color. Both systems racially segregate people to the point of creating two separate worlds, and both depend on legal and political disenfranchisement in order to survive. Crucially, both systems also heavily depend on the association between black people and criminality.
Having reviewed these similarities, Alexander moves on to note some major differences between Jim Crow and mass incarceration. The most important of these is the fact that where Jim Crow was overtly racist, mass incarceration is—on the surface—race-neutral. As a result, there has not been an inter-class solidarity movement among African Americans working to end mass incarceration in the same way there was in the case of Jim Crow. This has created divisions in the African-American community as well as among racial justice advocates in general, which Alexander urges must be solved in order for there to be any hope of achieving justice.
She is particularly critical of the silence on the issue among civil rights lawyers, who we would expect to have more awareness about it than the general public.
Alexander points out that mass incarceration is a notably different problem than the racial justice issues over which civil rights lawyers have successfully taken action in the past. Alexander admits that she does not have a concrete vision for addressing mass incarceration, but that she hopes she will inspire others to develop detailed plans. All of these resources are based on The New Jim Crow and can be used as companions while reading the book.
Organizing Guide: Learn about your role in movement-building and how to pick and build campaigns for justice that contribute towards a bigger mass movement against the largest penal system in the world. This important new resource offers examples from this and other movements, time-tested organizing techniques, and vision and inspiration to challenge, encourage, and motivate. Available at site. Or you can order directly from the author , including for bookstores and discount bulk orders.
The Study Guide and Call to Action spans the entirety of The New Jim Crow , engaging the critical questions of how we managed to create, nearly overnight, a penal system unprecedented in world history, and how that system actually functions — as opposed to the way it is advertised.
Mass incarceration does the same, stuffing black men in prisons out of sight, even further away than Jim Crow segregation did. Prisoners returning home concentrate further in poor neighborhoods, which have limited resources. Symbolic production of race Slavery defined being black as being a slave. Jim Crow defined being black as being a second-class citizen.
Mass incarceration defines being black as being criminal. Absence of racial hostility Things have improved in many respects — a majority of Americans oppose racial discrimination. Some may use this to claim that things are fine as is.
It would be impossible to imagine mass incarceration of young white men. White victims of racial caste Some reject the problem based on the idea that whites are also harmed by the war on drugs and incarceration, as opposed to clear white superiority in Jim Crow times. This makes it easier to see the criminal justice system as colorblind. Michelle Alexander argues that white people are collateral damage in the concerted racialization of crime in politics and media.
In fact, ignoring crime in poor urban communities would be racial discrimination.
Furthermore, black people have little to gain and much to lose by countering the rules of the establishment, which can make their complicity deceptive.
This has been true of black elites in the Jim Crow era. Like this summary? Have too much to read? You'll love my new book summary product Shortform.
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What's special about Shortform: The world's highest quality book summaries - comprehensive, concise, and everything you need to know Interactive exercises that teach you to apply what you've learned Discussion communities - get the best advice from other readers Get the world's best book summaries now Chapter 6: The Fire This Time Michelle Alexander ends The New Jim Crow with her perspective on why the system cannot be dismantled piece by piece through litigation or narrow policies like affirmative action — people must recognize the enormity of the current system and overthrow it wholesale.
Here are barriers to bucking the New Jim Crow: Civil rights movements used to be about grassroots organizing and gathering critical mass of public opinion. However, of late, civil rights organizations became professionalized, heavily centered on lawyers and litigation, and distanced from the communities they were supposed to represent.
Lawyers focus on problems that can be solved with litigation. Advocates are loath to petition on behalf of criminals. Rigid financial incentives are in place to perpetuate the system. If prisons closed and the war in crime ended, over a million jobs would be in jeopardy prison employees, police, workers in the legal system. Federal grants for drug enforcement would be revoked. Employers who use prison labor would be inconvenienced.
Phone companies that charge families high rates to call in; gun manufacturers for police; stakeholders of builders of new prisons in white rural communities all have skin in the game.
Data seem to suggest the lowest crime rates in history.
However, some suggest imprisonment creates far more crime than it prevents, and we could have even less crime today. People are increasingly loath to talk about race and fearful of violating racial etiquette. People want colorblindness for different reasons. Conservatives believe in individualism and the idea that race is a private matter.
Liberals believe in racial equality and the unloading of significance on race.
Others prefer colorblindness because it seems that the only practical way to accept racial differences is to not see them. This has entrenched an insistence that systems are colorblind and just, and personal responsibility and morals are to blame for arrests. If we are colorblind, we ignore inherent real racial biases and racial divisions.
Michelle Alexander argues people must recognize race and show care for others, fully cognizant of possible racial differences. Seeing race is not the problem; refusing to care for the people we see is the problem.
Not coming to terms with race risks the same strategy as before — that race becomes a lever to pit racial groups against each other when it becomes politically convenient.
Affirmative action may be more of a racial bribe than a potent force. It provides cosmetic racial diversity while masking the new caste system.
It has perpetuated the myth that anyone can make it if they try, and ignores deep disadvantages from birth. It distracts as the main battlefront in race issues. Model black citizens deceptively signal that race no longer matters. These examples are dissonant with the existence of a caste system — how can Obama be president when a caste is in place? Michelle Alexander urges to remember that even in slavery, free black men did exist and were the exceptions.
The exceptional black achievers are incentivized to fit into the system, rather than fight to change it. They give the appearance of racial equity without fundamentally altering the structures. Newcomers play by the old rules to survive. Minority police officers may engage in as much racial profiling as white officers. Black people are loath to disagree and pull down black leaders. Thus black leaders who uphold the racial caste may be given more latitude than white leaders.
Indifference cannot reign. Similarly, Brown v. Board did not cause sweeping changes — it was public support 10 years later that caused the action.
All financial incentives to arrest poor black people for drug offenses must be revoked. Those with jobs in jeopardy must be retrained. A seismic culture shift must happen in law enforcement — black people must no longer be viewed as the enemy.
Data must be collected to prohibit selective enforcement. Drug sentence laws and re-entry laws stripping away civil rights must be rescinded or dampened. Proper drug treatment and re-entry programs must be instituted. White people must be included in black movements to create an economic and class-based coalition based on all human rights.
They should be given a stake in integration. This would require whites to give up their racial privilege. So drug crime is still a minority of prison admissions overall. We now look at changes in arrests from to , separated by race and crime type.
Hispanics are considered an ethnicity and not a race in this DOJ dataset. Breakdown of crime types here. The ratio of the rate of arrests between black and white groups has stayed about the same.