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

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By Michelle Alexander, Cornel West (Introduction by)
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Staff Reviews

This is a disturbing examination of what the author describes as a deliberate campaign to perpetuate the same kind of repressions upon African Americans that was practiced more brazenly during the slavery era and the Jim Crow period that followed it. The disproportionate incarceration of black men for drug related crimes and the restrictions placed upon them after release has succeeded in disenfranchising them from society and severely limiting opportunities to better their lives. America, she argues convincingly, will reap a bitter harvest.

— Alden Graves

Easily one of the most important books of the last decade. Michelle Alexander explains the system of mass incarceration that disproportionately targets black men and functions in our colorblind society as an often overlooked method of racial control. This well-written, eye-opening argument is required reading.

— Marisa Langlois

"The more things change, the more they stay the same." This immensely topical book examines this old adage and discusses how, through the War on Drugs, mass incarceration and underfunded communities, the USA continues to segregate and marginalize black Americans. A powerful first book that will challenge your image of race in America.

— Northshire Staff

March 2010 Indie Next List

“In The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander tirelessly researches both the legal history of America's Jim Crow past and the current legal policies that contribute to the mass incarceration of black people. The text adds significantly to scholarship that contextualizes rates of incarceration among blacks and critiques of social and economic inequality.”
— Bruce Smith, Colorado State University Bookstore, Fort Collins, CO


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 book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as "brave and bold," this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control--relegating millions to a permanent second-class status--even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a "call to action."

Called "stunning" by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Levering Lewis, "invaluable" by the Daily Kos, "explosive" by Kirkus, and "profoundly necessary" by the Miami Herald, this updated and revised paperback edition of The New Jim Crow, now with a foreword by Cornel West, is a must-read for all people of conscience.

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.

Praise For…

Devastating. . . . Alexander does a fine job of truth-telling, pointing a finger where it rightly should be pointed: at all of us, liberal and conservative, white and black.—ForbesAlexander is absolutely right to fight for what she describes as a much-needed conversation” about the wide-ranging social costs and divisive racial impact of ourcriminal-justice policies.—NewsweekInvaluable . . . a timely and stunning guide to the labyrinth of propaganda, discrimination, and racist policies masquerading under other names that comprises what we call justice in America.—Daily KosMany critics have cast doubt on the proclamations of racism’s erasure in the Obama era, but few have presented a case as powerful as Alexander’s.—In These TimesCarefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable.—Publishers Weekly[Written] with rare clarity, depth, and candor.—CounterpunchA call to action for everyone concerned with racial justice and an important tool for anyone concerned with understanding and dismantling this oppressive system.—SojournersUndoubtedly the most important book published in this century about the U.S.—Birmingham News

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9781595586438
ISBN-10: 1595586431
Publisher: New Press
Publication Date: January 16th, 2012
Pages: 336
Language: English
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