The United States is notoriously known as the “incarceration nation.” Michelle Alexander’s 2010 bombshell, The New Jim Crow, examined the explosive growth of America’s prison population in the past three decades—and how this growth relates to the racial disparity in imprisonment. There are now 2.3 million people behind bars, including one in nine young African American men. Although most drug users are white, three-quarters of those imprisoned on drug charges are Black or Latino. Rather than unintentional side effects, these racial disparities provide the key to understanding the prison boom. This talk explores the contradiction of an allegedly “color-blind” society whose justice system systematically and disproportionately targets people of color.
What is the New Jim Crow?