The Champion

July and August 2011 , Page 61 

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Book Reviews

By Various Authors

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michelle Alexander
The New Press (2010)
Reviewed by Ryan Dull

In 1972, there were fewer than 350,000 people incarcerated in the United States. Forty years into the War on Drugs, that number has climbed to over two million, composed disproportionately of African American men. Conventional wisdom charitably holds that the disparity reflects crime rates. Problematically, drug use rates are nearly identical between Black and White men. In The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander argues powerfully that the criminal justice policies of the War on Drugs are fundamentally discriminatory, constituting a nationwide system of racial control unmatched since Jim Crow.

Recognizing that many citizens of “colorblind” America tend to respond to claims of institutional discrimination with skepticism, Alexander builds her argument methodically and definitively. She begins with a historical overvie

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