A Short Review of The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

I just finished The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. It traces racism in America from the Jim Crow Era up until Obama. She argues that racism in America is going through revolutions but not progressive ones. The drug war over crack cocaine is what started mass incarceration and it was targeted at young black men, and even worse, the federal government allowed law enforcement the right to keep whatever they found, so they profited off of seeking out black men suspected of drug charges. So law enforcement would over police black men in the ghettos with reward in doing so, sometimes raking in just 90cents, or sometimes just finding a small drug quantity, yet still throwing them in prison, making them a felon for life, where they would be unable to vote, find housing, serve jury duty, not find a job, have any assistance for living, wouldn’t have help going to college, they’d be once again, a second rate citizen but without the use of racist language, thus perfecting and hiding inherent structural racism. Even Democrats like Bill Clinton who was “tough on crime”, signed legislation that was hard on young black men. There’s a common question for black women, this black female author wrote, “Where’re all the black men?” and she argues, as a result of being over-policed, that they are now in prison as a result of mass incarceration. Imagine a world where Obama was round up because of the marijuana he smoked. In reality, we have all committed crimes, but we weren’t over-policed on account of having a different skin color. This is a privilege white folk have, and the author writes that we should not work towards a color-blind system, but work towards atonement.