The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
A riveting, informative, anger-inducing look at the racial caste system that continues in America. Jim Crow never ended, it continues to morph and grow, locking a HUGE percentage of African-Americans in a system from which there is no escaping.
And we're not just talking prison here. We're talking a system that targets black men FROM THE BEGINNING and holds them in the lowest rungs of society on purpose, barring them from jobs, housing, voting rights and every other fucking right that Americans are supposed to have.
This book is well-organized, thoughtful and easy to read (by "easy" I mean that it's not text-booky, not that it's FUN). She gives tons of examples and documentation as to how the system is built for racialized social control.
And it is PERSUASIVE.
This is a book not only for people who want an in-depth analysis of social injustice, but also for people who ask questions like, "Why don't they just stop committing crimes if they don't want to go to jail?" (It'll answer this question and more.)
Not only does she discuss the hard facts, she goes deep into the shame and stigma experienced by African-Americans due to this shit. No one wants to talk about their brother in prison or their dad who can't find a job. A collective silence forms, which makes healing nearly impossible.
Nothing was meh. It is all necessary reading. Give a copy to your racist uncle and force him to read it.
Quotes from The New Jim Crow:
"Jarvious Cotton's great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation; his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole."
“The genius of the current caste system, and what most distinguishes it from its predecessors, is that it appears voluntary. People choose to commit crimes, and that's why they are locked up or locked out, we are told. This feature makes the politics of responsibility particularly tempting, as it appears the system can be avoided with good behavior. But herein lies the trap. All people make mistakes. All of us are sinners. All of us are criminals. All of us violate the law at some point in our lives. In fact, if the worst thing you have ever done is speed ten miles over the speed limit on the freeway, you have put yourself and others at more risk of harm than someone smoking marijuana in the privacy of his or her living room. Yet there are people in the United States serving life sentences for first-time drug offenses, something virtually unheard of anywhere else in the world.”
"....the criterion for inclusion in the (criminal) database is notoriously vague and discriminatory. Having a relative or friend in a gang and wearing baggy jeans is enough to put youth on what the ACLU calls a Black List. In Denver, displaying any two of a list of attributes--including slang, 'clothing of a particular color,' pagers, hairstyles, or jewelry--earns youth a spot in the Denver Police's gang database. In 1992, citizen activism led to an investigation, which revealed that eight out of every ten people of color in the entire city were on the list of suspected criminals."
Have you read this book? What can you recommend that would be a compliment to this book? I NEED MORE.
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