The New Jim Crow

  • by Michelle Alexander
  • Narrated by Karen Chilton
  • 13 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination - employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service - are suddenly legal.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Shocking, Important and Brilliant

As a white Londoner now living in SoCal I witnessed the ‘war on drugs’ and the resulting boom in prison growth with a combination of disinterest and perhaps mild confusion. Many things confuse me about the US; like why poor working class white people vote against their own best interests so often, and why do people with so much economically in common not get along better. I experienced the phenomena of racism in America at a distant third hand. It did occur to me on occasion that the entire weird situation of race, colorblindness and the massive growth in the prison population could be seen as a massive socio political “Pelican Brief” style conspiracy… it couldn't be could it? Well, if this book is even only a fraction true that is precisely what this is.

This book proposes that what we have seen in the last few decades is exactly that. A conspiracy between right wing political elites to control a section of our society which had formerly been controlled by slavery then by Jim Crow. It’s an excellent example of evil flourishing when good people do nothing. If you are a member of the hard right this book will make your blood boil. It makes an excellent case against your core views and beliefs with extensive and detailed evidence for the case, which will likely send you running back to Fox News to get your reality reinforced. If you lean even slightly liberal or are just a busy middle of the road kind of person who has scratched your head about “those people” getting sent to jail in such large numbers this book will rock your world. Either way you should read this. I defy you not to have at least one “aha!” moment per chapter….this book will haunt you…it may even make you cry.

If you want to attempt to come to terms with what ‘the war on drugs’ unfair policing, mandatory minimums and the impact that so many people getting felony convictions for such minor crimes has had on our society this book will take you by the hand and lead you through the last hundred or so years of our history and open your eyes. The conclusion is as startling as it is depressing, every thinking person in our society should read this book…and perhaps we can then start to solve the problem it so disturbingly describes.
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- Tim

Recommended with a caveat

Michelle Alexander has put together a very well written and well researched book regarding the horrors of the drug war. She goes into great detail about how minority populations (primarily blacks) have been devastated by the unsuccessful war on drugs. She makes a few mentions of how poor whites have recently become affected by the same war on drugs ala "The House I Live In". However, her conclusions regarding the escalation of the war on drugs seem to be biased. She continuously blames "conservatives" for the war on drugs. They bear some blame, no doubt. But to be more accurate, it seems that Republicans (sometimes conservative) would be a better way to describe those who have caused the escalation. Furthermore, she places little blame on Democrats and usually makes excuses for those who contributed.

In the end, it's clear Ms. Alexander sees the world through a right vs left paradigm. But the truth is that when assessing responsibility for the drug war, a populist vs authoritarian, or libertarian vs statist view would be much better in assessing political blame. After all, a true conservative should believe that a small government is best. The drug war is a result of the exponential increase in the size of government. But again, I will continue to recommend this book to friends with that caveat.
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- Zach

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-03-2012
  • Publisher: Recorded Books