Thursday, July 22, 2010

July 18

i recieved a book from home last week, "the new jim crow, mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness" by michelle alexander. ronald e. hamilton executive director, national black police association says, "it is a powerful analysis of why and how mass incarceration is happening in america, the new jim crow should be required reading for anyone working for real change in the criminal justice system".

as the united states celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of barack obama, the majority of young black men in major american cities are locked behind bars or labeled felons for life. jim crow laws were wiped off the books decades ago, but today an astounding percentage of african american community is warehoused in prisons or trapped in a permanent, second-class status- much like their grandparents before them, who lived under an explicit system of control.

in this stunning and incisive critique, civil rights lawyer-turned-legal scalor michelle alexander argues that we have not ended racial caste in america: we have simly redesigned it. alexander shows that, by targeting black men through the war on drugs and decimating communities of color, the u.s. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control. in the current era, it is not permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. yet it is perfectly legal to descriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to descriminate against african americans. the old forms of discrimination - discrimination in employment, housing, education, and public benefits; denial of the right to vote; and exclusion from jury service- are suddenly legal once you're labeled a felon.

alexander challenges the civil rights community, and all of us, to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in america.

i use to "think" that i was a P.O.W..after reading this book, i now "know" that i am a prisoner of amerikkka's fake azz war on drugs, a caste system designed to label black and brown men "felons". a system that is responsible for the mass incarceration of over 2 million of this countries own citizens. labeling kids as young as 15, 16 years old felons and locking them in adult prisons for a decade for non-violent minor drug possession.

america the beautiful.


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