Mass Incarceration

A Retrospective Review: “The ‘New’ Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander – Sounds More Like the ‘New Slavery’ | Columnists

This e-book evaluate is taken into account ‘retrospective’ as a result of I first learn and provided insights on it precisely 5 years in the past this month.  Nevertheless, current incarceration statistics germane to this e-book’s premise which I uncovered whereas researching a associated matter, means that The New Jim Crow, creator, Stanford Regulation grad, Michelle Alexander’s conclusions weren’t solely correct, however prescient.

Within the 13 years since this e-book was first revealed the circumstances reported on by Ms. Alexander that fashioned the idea of her dire narrative have severely worsened.  For African Individuals, the speed of incarceration has elevated, the whole quantity imprisoned nationally has grown, and extra ladies, males, and juveniles than ever are inmates. 

Most are functionally illiterate, portending continued ill-fated prospects for future employment, housing, training, public help, and voting, whereas the increasing gross labor exploitation prisoners are subjected to, with a whole bunch of hundreds compelled to work – actually – for pennies per hour or no pay in any respect for main companies.

Take into account this up to date knowledge:

  • African Individuals are 13% of the U.S. inhabitants and 38% of America’s Incarcerated
  • The speed of incarceration for Black vs white Individuals is 2,306 per 100,00 vs. 450 per 100,000, respectively
  • Black Individuals are incarcerated in state prisons at almost 5 instances the speed of white Individuals.
  • Nationally, one in 81 Black adults within the U.S. is serving time in a state jail
  • Estimates are that 3 % of the whole U.S. grownup inhabitants and 15 % of the African American grownup male inhabitants have been to jail
  • Individuals with felony convictions account for 8 % of all U.S. adults and 33 % of the African American grownup male inhabitants
  • 1 in 9 Black kids have a father or mother in jail, in comparison with just one in 57 white kids
  • Though solely 13% of America’s inhabitants is African American, 40% of incarcerated mother and father are Black
  • Black ladies are 13% of the nation, 30% of the ladies’s jail inhabitants, and 44% of ladies in jails
  • Forty-one % of incarcerated youths are Black

The context offered by these statistics will inform your perspective of my evaluation of The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander:

Two-hundred years in the past there was a 10-year-old Caucasian boy from New York Metropolis, Thomas D. Rice, whose starry-eyed dream was to get curtain calls on Broadway as an actor. Inside 20 years he’d outgrown Broadway and repeatedly crammed the live performance halls of London enjoying his signature ‘caricature’, that lazy, mendacity, shiftless, dimwitted minstrel in blackface, Jim Crow.

Rice may by no means have fathomed that two centuries therefore an African American feminine lawyer and scholar, Michelle Alexander, would pen a groundbreaking tome in regards to the circumstances of slaves’ future offspring, that for the second time because the Civil Battle, are being demoralized and indentured below an Apartheid system as soon as once more often known as Jim Crow.

The New Jim Crow is a exceptional e-book. Whereas it was initially revealed in 2010 and obtained quite a few accolades it was not too long ago within the information when prisons in New Jersey and North Carolina tried, and failed, to get it banned. It’s a scholarly work written in a conversational model with out sacrificing the intense tone of the subject material which instructions a radical tutorial evaluation carried out with meticulous documentation.

This e-book can be a peek into one African American lady’s private journey as she found and got here to phrases with a reality that she was not totally ready to confront.  Not solely does Alexander seem to battle with the character, scope, sophistication, and energy of the mass incarceration machine in America that’s relegating hundreds of thousands of Black males to an inferior ‘citizenship’ standing not seen for over half a century, she apologizes for being proper.

In her e-book’s introduction Alexander recollects an insightful remark made by an affiliate who adopted up the remark with a nervous giggle as if she weren’t fairly positive she wished to consider what she’d simply mentioned.  A few of Alexander’s pronouncements look like they could be adopted by an identical, inaudible giggle of her personal. Just like the Charleton Heston character in the film, Soylent Inexperienced, who bellows in terror, “Soylent Inexperienced is individuals!” Her misery is palpable.

The almost 20-page introduction to “The New Jim Crow” comprehensively lays the inspiration for logical persuasive arguments, painstaking methodology, and prefaces all the books chapters, offering signposts that makes for a learn that allows you to know the place you’re headed, with narrative that continues to enlighten and enthrall.

Michelle Alexander’s premise: whereas a few of us had been celebrating onerous fought victories from the Civil Rights period, and a few had been marveling at our accomplishments – in training, the professions, enterprise, leisure and sports activities, and others had been movin’ on up in politics and authorities,  the darkish highly effective forces that enslaved African Individuals for almost 65% of our time in America, oppressed us below Jim Crow for 25% of our time right here, and solely teased us roughly 10% of our time within the U.S. – because the 1960’s – with a semblance of full citizenship, there have been diabolical machinations behind the scenes working to reassert mass management and disenfranchisement over African Individuals, and who is aware of to what eventual finish.

Within the 20 years from 1980 to 2000 the U.S. jail inhabitants swelled almost 6600%, from 350,000 to 2.3 million.  There are presently almost 1 million African Individuals behind bars in America.  Not even our Black president noticed this coming, nor may he cease it.  “The New Jim Crow” is considerate, compelling, and farsighted.  It ought to be required studying for all American college students, however particularly African Individuals.

Alexander did level out that her matter was slender by design in comparison with the potential to increase into associated areas of consideration.  Nevertheless, there’s a pure companion piece to “The New Jim Crow” story that I’m disenchanted was not talked about in any respect on this e-book.

A major side of the “new” Jim Crow mass incarceration expertise for affected inmates is tantamount to the brand new slavery as nicely, the place the incarcerated are leased for labor – in six southern states for $0 pay – to a who’s who of principally Fortune 500 firms that exploit them.  Hundreds of thousands of Black fathers, sons, uncles, and brothers have the doubtful distinction of concurrently experiencing slavery and Jim Crow in 2018 – without end.  “The New Jim Crow” ought to a minimum of have alluded to this.  The vary of prisoner ‘pay’ amongst all 50 states is $0.14 to $0.63 per hour. Maybe Ms. Alexander would possibly expound on the subject of The New Slavery in a sequel.

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