It’s no secret that I’m interested in economic injustice. That’s why I wax grumpy and bitter about things like gentrification, fast fashion, clean water, and environmentalism. But I have a lot to learn about the kind of systemic inequality that keeps some people down while others float above.
Which is why I read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.
The premise of Alexander’s The New Jim Crow is simple on its surface. Since its inception, the War on Drugs has targeted Black and brown people at disproportionately high rates. This has led to a new racial caste system in the United States.
But of course, like anything to do with race in America, it’s far from simple. And Alexander seems to realize how far-fetched some might consider her findings because she spends, like, 20% of every chapter going “I know this sounds crazy but seriously, stick with me. Just look at this data.”
While I wasn’t completely ignorant of the racism inherent in our justice system before reading The New Jim Crow, I am now completely overwhelmed with new and damning knowledge. The insidious rules of the new Jim Crow state affect people socially and economically in disastrous, life-ruining ways. Through every stage of the justice process from arrest through trial, punishment, and release.
Here’s some of what I learned. Read More