Day: December 23, 2016

Nothing Can be Changed Until It is Faced: The New Jim Crow

Several weeks ago I finished reading a book which won’t leave my mind.  The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander is an important and disturbing book which ultimately leads to much soul-searching on the part of the reader. It first came out in 2010 and has been on my bookshelf for a while, but I only picked it up at the tail end of the presidential election campaign.  That was timely. Alexander – a civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar – has written a well-researched and devastating work.  In The New Jim Crow, Alexander shows we have not moved into a colorblind society, but have – in fact – simply replaced one racial caste system (Jim Crow) for another (mass incarceration).  The book is thorough in its analysis and gut-wrenching in its conclusions. Alexander writes in the introduction, “What has changed since the collapse of Jim Crow has less to do with the basic structure of our society than with the language we use to justify it.  In the …