Michelle Alexander: The New Jim Crow

If, like me, you were privileged enough to be raised by someone who encouraged me to actually study and understand race relations as it really is and not fall victim to the national mainstream delusions, much of the conclusions reached by Michelle Alexander in “The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” is nothing new.  She, herself admits that one of the catalysts that brought this issue to her mind was a flier from a local community organization she saw at a bus stop proclaiming that “The Drug War is the new Jim Crow”.

Famous poet, Gil Scott Heron proclaimed almost 30 years ago that “the New World Order looks surprisingly like the Old World Order.”  I remember reading years ago in the Nation of Islam’s newspaper, The Final Call about the Prison Industrial Complex.

What Ms. Alexander brings to the discourse, and I’m basing this entirely on the talk below that I watched yesterday (I can’t buy the book until the next paycheck.), is a logical, empirical approach that I’m sure is a result of her years as a litigator.

In the end what Michelle Alexander contributes to the discussion on modern racial oppression is the evidence to counter popular white conservative arguments that somehow for black people to speak truthfully of our experiences is to wallow in victimhood.  The mainstream narrative of racism is that it’s a subjective, amorphous thing.  But “The New Jim Crow” points to its concrete expression not just in history but also in its modern manifestation.

I’m adding this video to my collection of multimedia files that I refer to when I want to give people something to think about but am pretty sure that they won’t pick up a book or magazine to read.  And though my Facebook friends may consider me a little preachy, I just feel I’m doing my part to expand the national conscienceness.


  1. Thanks for posting the video. Demos is a good group that we are trying to model The Springfield Institute after in some ways. I presented to their staff about Si in that very room. And the head of it, Miles Rappaport, lives in Hartford.

  2. […] Swandiver – Michelle Alexander: The New Jim Crow highlights a talk by Alexander about her new book and the civil rights inequities that remain in the U.S. through the loopholes provided in the prison-industrial-complex […]

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