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Michelle Alexander on the New Jim Crow

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Michelle Alexander, Associate Law Professor at Moritz School of Law and Author of "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness." Credit: http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/

Michelle Alexander has struck a chord in so-called ‘post racial’ America.  The Ohio State University law professor makes the case that the United States’ current criminal justice system policies can be traced directly back to slavery.  Those targeted now, as they were then, are African Americans.

On this edition, Michelle Alexander talks about her book, ‘The New Jim Crow.  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness’.

Special Thanks to KUOW Radio in Seattle.

Featuring:

Michelle Alexander, Ohio State Law Professor and Author of ‘The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness’

For More Information:

ACLU on Criminal Justice

Blacks Far More Likely Than Whites To Be Jailed For Low-Level Drug Crimes

Brennan Center for Justice

Critical Resistance

KUOW Radio

Michelle Alexander

Michelle Alexander on Democracy Now!

Michelle Alexander on Huffington Post

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Prison Activist

The Sentencing Project

MC Special offer Ad

Author: Kwan

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15 Comments

  1. Hi Lisa and everyone at Making Contact,

    I’ve been forwarding your audio to all my lists because I think everyone, particularly who are white and not incarcerated, need to hear this crucial information from Michelle Alexander. Thank you for providing it.
    Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, my own listening to your audio stopped after a few minutes, and wouldnt start again, so I cant hear the whole program. Will you be putting this audio on a CD anytime in the future? In solidarity, sharon martinas

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Sharon– You can click on “Download mp3″ which is below the audio player to download the audio to your computer and then burn it on a CD. If that doesn’t work, we’d be happy to mail you a CD copy. Just please email me at kpham@radioproject.org, and we’ll send you a CD right away! Thanks for helping spread the word by forwarding our emails. That’s a huge support.

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  2. That was a great presentation. I never considered her points of “legal racism” but I definetly understand the point. It makes perfect sense, how can we expect people to get back on their feet, if they are labeled and never allowed. This drives home the stupidity of the drug war and our legal system’s unreasonable sentencing for such non violant crimes. We are cutting education but increasing our prison budgets, something is not right. We must change it. Where do we start?

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    • Hi, Nadia, Thanks for your comment. I do think this speech show brought together a lot of trends around the education system, the prison system, and the welfare system, and the ‘war on drugs.’
      please keep in touch and forward the show to your friends!

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  3. A compelling and stunning analysis that makes you think.
    Michelle Alexander told me what I felt for while, but created the context, timeline and information that makes a lot of sense.
    This was really informative, and should be listened to more than twice
    to really grasp what is being said. Particularly how the “War on Drugs
    has created a myriad of problems…how prisoners are not even counted and unemployment statistics: how you can add up to 23%
    to account for the Black people in jail. A real eye opening piece.

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  4. Jim Crow info is dishartening, but necessary info for whatever action we must take.

    I am not equiped to use a credit card on the computer. Have snail mailed some $’s to you.

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    • Dear Mary Ann–
      Thank you for your comment and your support…We deeply appreciate your support! We couldn’t report on these issues without listeners like you.
      –Khanh, on behalf of all of us here at Making Contact.

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  5. The Jim Crow info is disheartening but necessary for any action one may take.

    I am not equiped to do email payment. Have sent by snail mail,

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  6. ms.alexander.i listened to your program and found it to be very informative.my boyfriend is one of the people you were talking about,he is incarcerated.he sells cars for a living and he leaglly bought a motorcyle at the police auction back in june and he has the papers to prove it,someone came by the house and saw the bike in the front yard for sale and so they called the police.they came and put him in handcuffs,he tried to tell them that he had papers on the bike in the house,but he wasn’t allowed in the house.in the mean time they searche dhis house and found a gun in his closet ,so now heis in cca in leavenworth on charge of felon with a gun,you are so right once a felon always a felon.he was only trying to make a living.the judge wouldn’t even consider bail he considered him a threat to sociaty,not true.people can change .so i want to thank you for speaking out .

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  7. Dear Ms. Alexander,
    I thank God for you and your being a voice for the poor, disenfranchised and vulnerable members of our society, for standing and speaking out on the atrocity that we in the African-American communities all over the U.S. feel and are victims of but have not been able to articulate as passionately factual as you have. I am the mother of a son convicted of a felony, on parole,who on March 15, 2011 was the victim of a brutal unprovoked beating by 5 NYC plainclothes police officers who stopped him because of a radio call that alleged someone meeting his description was observed buying marijuana.Now back in jail awaiting hearings he is suffering in health because the beating resulted in a broken orbital of his left eye and surgery to remove the bone and replace it with metal mesh and the attention he requires he does not receive in jail. Mind you no marijuana was found on him. My son heard a discussion on a local radio station here in NY about your book and wanted to reach out to you. A fundraiser sponsored by family and friends to defray some of the legal fees is being held on July 23rd 2011 and in that Fundraiser a community call to action is going forth because we know that this is much bigger than my son- the dehumanizing of people of color has become the norm by some of our police. We most certainly will have our panel discuss your book and findings during the event which will have a large captive audience ofyoung African -American men and women as we work toward taking action to make changes We welcome you if you plan to be in NY at that time. God bless you and keep you. I will be praying for your continued courage and strength. And I stand with you in the fight!Thank you National Radio everyone in my address book will receive this show.

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  8. September 21, 2011

    Dear Ms. Alexaander,

    I am certain, as many others before me, I would like to congratulate and compliment you on your book– The New Jim Crow. I thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart for all of your years of research and searching for the truth. I was in amazement reading your book, and discovering all of the knowledge presented by you, that I have been speaking of and preaching of for over 25 years.

    For the past 25 years I have been telling anyone who would listen, that the our Criminal Justice system is corrupt to the core and geared against people ( especially Black men) of color. Throughout the years I have taken it upon myself to monitor the local prison sentences or punishment administered based on race. It was no secret to me that men of color received substantial and much harsher punishment than their white counterparts.

    Thank you for bringing this dreaded subject to light. I have been so dismayed with our Criminal Justice system, that at the ripe old age of 55, I reluctantly begin furthering my education, primarily to study Criminal Justice. In just a few months I will have successfully earned my Associates Degree in the Criminal Justice field. I look forward to securing a job in that field and doing my part to lessen the pain of those incarcerated, and most importantly, those who are falsely incarcerated.

    Thank you again for all of your hard work.

    sincerely
    Stephanie Byrd Fair

    Post a Reply
  9. September 21, 2011

    Dear Ms. Alexander,

    As many others before me have, I would like to congratulate and compliment you on your book– The New Jim Crow. I thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart for all of your years of research and searching for the truth. I was in amazement reading your book, and discovering all of the knowledge presented by you, that I have been speaking of and preaching of for over 25 years.

    For the past 25 years I have been telling anyone who would listen, that the our Criminal Justice system is corrupt to the core and geared against people ( especially Black men) of color. Throughout the years I have taken it upon myself to monitor the local prison sentences or punishment administered based on race in my hometown and nationally. It was no secret to me that men of color have received substantial and much harsher punishments than their white counterparts. Your research proved exactly what I have known for a very long time. However, I was still very much unsure of why and how our criminal justice came to discriminate so harshly against people of color.

    Your book clearly dotted the I’s and crossed the t’s of the reasoning behind our criminal justice systems racism. The main fact you highlighted; being , that since anti-discrimination and civil rights laws were created and being implemented, Society was placed in a position where blatant racism and discrimination would no longer be allowed or accepted on a wide scale. There was only one option available that would allow racism and discrimination to continue and go mostly unnoticed by mainstream society in general, and that option was to find ways to take the rights away from millions of people of color by criminalizing them in a fast and furious manner. It is true, the War on Crime/Drugs was implemented during a period when in reality drug usage and crime activity was on a decrease, not an increase. It is also very interesting to me, that the crack cocaine surge developed approximately two years after the so-called Ward on Crime/Drugs was enacted.

    Thank you for bringing this dreaded subject to light. I have been so dismayed with our Criminal Justice system, that at the ripe old age of 55, I reluctantly begin furthering my education, primarily to study Criminal Justice. In just a few months I will have successfully earned my Associates Degree in the Criminal Justice field. In my quest for furthering my education in the Criminal Justice field, I was somewhat surprised to learn, that the Criminal Justice field itself, is well aware of their own racism, discrimination, biases, and the discretions that are granted based on race and class. It appears to me, that the corruption within the system has been going on for so long, that most criminal justice experts admit they have no ideas how to stop it now.

    My question to you, how and when will these past wrongs; coerced confessions, police officers and prosecutors who knowingly lie, and the falsely charged and committed, ever be made whole?

    In the near future, I look forward to securing a job in the criminal justice field while doing my part to lessen the pain of those incarcerated, and most importantly, those who are falsely incarcerated.

    I look forward to further researching and preparing my Criminal Justice final thesis on your book – The New Jim Crow.

    Thank you again for all of your hard work.

    Sincerely
    Stephanie Byrd Fair

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  10. I have tried my best to educate myself after I was released from prison in the late 1980s due to a drug conviction. After I decided that office work was not for me, and after attending college and obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, I have since worked as a successful educator as a science tutor as well as a elementary, middle school and high school teacher in private schools. I have been out of work since 2003, because I was unable to get my contract renewed at the private school I was working at which although is not under the auspices of the New York City Department of Education, this school receives certain funding which is dispensed by them. Despite my excellent employment record, a 4.00 grade point average earned from the pre-service training received from the New York City Teaching Fellows Program in 2005, I was unable to obtain employment in the New York City School system. I also paid for and passed all of the required NYS exams needed to teach in NYC. . I have also been marginalized out of other positions due to my incarceration record. Anything that requires certification or licensing, I am banned! I obtained a relief of disabilities which is not worth much when it comes to jobs which require licensing, i.e., teaching, nursing. What Ms. Alexander says is true, when you a conviction makes you excluded from certain rights and benefits of society.

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  11. Dear Ms. Alexander, I am the Treasurer for the Black Student Union at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Every year we host an annual Ebony Weekend on the third weekend in February. This weekend consist of workshops, lecturers, entertainment and keynote speakers. The theme for the weekend is always “Bridging the Generation Gap”. After reviewing your book “The New Jim Crow” we have decided to bring you to speak at our Ebony Weekend. We bring 250-300 college students from around the U. S. together to talk about the issues that face the Black Community and share ideas on how to go back into our communities and make a difference. We have made several attempts to contact you and we hope to hear from you soon as to find out if you are available to come and deliver the keynote address for our event. I can be reached at lewisv@uwplatt.edu or by phone at 414-524-9113.
    Sincerely,

    Veronica Lewis

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  12. hi my name is benell and i know for fact the it do happen like that i have work in a probiton office be for and just to see the young men get up in that bull ,we need to show all the young me that it is a batter way to go buy life

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