The New Jim Crow: Michelle Alexander on the Criminalization of Race in America

May 25, 2011

Earlier this May in New York, activists working to end mass incarceration in the United States organized “The New Jim Crow,” a conference inspired by the work of legal scholar Michelle Alexander.

In this clip from the conference, Alexander argues that racism has been given cover to operate within the supposedly colorblind criminal legal system. Through the disproportionate enforcement of loitering and drug laws in communities of color, the prison population has exploded. As a result, mass incarceration has systematically established a disenfranchised caste of young and low-income people of color, dividing families, entrenching stigma against formerly incarcerated people, and moving resources to the prison system and out of communities already experiencing profound divestment.

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