The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
I heard a snippet of a radio interview with Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.It sounds like a fascinating book with an important argument. The brief clip I heard talked about the different penalties for cocaine versus crack-cocaine. A person has to hold 100 times the amount of cocaine to be sentenced in the same way as a person holding crack-cocaine. Recently, the Senate passed a bill to reduce the disparity to 18:1. Alexander argues that Whites are more likely to be arrested for cocaine possession, while African-Americans are more likely to be caught with crack-cocaine. As a result, African-Americans are more likely to be incarcerated. Having the status as a past felon disqualifies them to vote, and so the drug laws act as a “color blind” way to keep blacks from voting.

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