Review: 'The New Jim Crow' by Michelle Alexander
There are some topics that make us uncomfortable at their mere mention. Racism is one such topic, especially now when so many Americans feel we have at last put this issue behind us.
After all, our schools and communities are now integrated, people of color hold high office and positions of authority and no one must sit at the back of the bus simply because of skin color. As a nation, we came through the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s a wiser, diverse and united citizenry -- or did we?
Author and noted civil rights advocate and attorney, Michelle Alexander, authoritatively brings into question the near absence of racism that some Americans, myself included, believe exists in our current society with "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness."
In this reasoned, fact-filled non-fiction book, Alexander explains how racism, particularly against blacks, is alive and thriving in America. The racism of today is much more subtle than in times past, but every bit as effective as slavery in disenfranchising a race of people. The author demonstrates what she holds to be a new caste system delivered through the criminal justice system.
In a fact that I found particularly telling, Alexander shares, "The United States imprisons a larger percentage of its black population that South Africa did at the height of apartheid."
Skeptics and believers will both find enough facts and logic-based ideas in this book to give reason to pause and perhaps re-examine both thoughts and feelings about racism in America and the place that changes in racial justice should be high on the list of needed reforms.
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