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The New Jim Cow

(Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)

By Michelle Alexander


The book attempts to show that the racist laws of the Jim Crow era are still alive today. Black people went from slavery, to the Jim Crow System to the Legal System of mass incarceration. Racism hasn’t died it has just adapted and changed to different types of systems that allows white privileges and all other races treated as inferior. There are hidden systems in place that keep people in categories. The Caste System is a social system put people in order from best to worst. The Radical Caste System is based on race and Hierarchy is a list of things in order from best to worst or highest to lowest. Just because there are a few successes amongst black people does not negate the fact that there is still a racial hierarchy in this country. The racist hierarchy of this country is kept alive by those in power appealing to the vulnerability of lower class whites that are trapped at the bottom of the American hierarchy.

The new system that whites empower is the legal systems & prison systems. They are systems of control and have been perfected, more resilient to challenge and capable of enduring for generations to come. More black men are imprisoned today than at any other moment in our nation’s history. Blacks today are still being discriminated against in the workplace, the housing market, being denied public benefits and suffering from police brutality. People of color are still suffering and trying to play catch up in this country that turns a blind eye on racial discrimination. America is in denial and really believes that non-whites have the same opportunities and benefits that are afforded to privileged whites. If America treats all of its citizens equally and fairly, would white Americans be willing to trade place with non-whites to receive lower salary, longer jail sentencing, unequal housing, higher interest loan rates and police brutality? Philomena Essed coined it so brilliantly when she said, “Racism today is not kept alive by huge historical events, it is perpetuated by the small things we say and do in everyday life.” We the people of these United States of American is keeping racism alive by design.

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