Join the conversation at the Book Discussion Group!
Explore the critically-acclaimed best seller, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" by Michelle Alexander. The September session will focus on chapters 4 and 5.
FREE | Open to the public | Ages 18 years+
New participants welcome...even if you haven't read the book!
Chapters 4 and 5:
In chapter four, Alexander focuses on the many challenges that people face once they have been released from prison. The formerly incarcerated are often stigmatized and the excessive denial of opportunities sometimes far outweighs the wrongs committed. Those released from prison on parole can be returned to prison for the most minor of infractions. Lynch mobs may be long gone, but the threat of police violence is present, and while the “whites only” signs may also be gone, new signs have gone up informing the public that “felons” are not wanted.
Chapter five provides an overview of Alexander’s central argument – that mass incarceration functions in a similar manner to the Jim Crow laws of a hundred years ago – while acknowledging the differences between the two systems. In the author’s view, both systems are “structured to lock [those caught in the system] into a subordinate position” and it is African American men who, like their grandfathers, who are disproportionately affected by Jim Crow’s latest iteration. Alexander divides this insidious system into three parts: the roundup, formal control, and invisible punishment.