Sunday, June 5, 2011

From European Dissent

In case you have missed hearing the powerful voice of Michelle Alexander, author of 'The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,' here's an opportunity to listen to, and watch, an hour long speech she gave recently at Riverside Church in NYC. **

The video is in 4 parts, each about 15 minutes long, so you can listen to each part of her presentation separately.

Prof. Alexander begins by explaining that the racially profiled War on Drugs, and its resulting mass incarceration of African Americans, and later Latino/as, was part of the 'Southern Strategy' created by Republicans in the 1980's.

The goal of the Southern Strategy was to recruit millions of poor, working and middle class white Southerners from the Democratic into the Republican Party. The method: manipulate the racialized southern white resentment of African American political and economic gains of the 1960's and 1970's. The media frame: Imagine every young Black man as a 'drug dealing criminal;' every Black woman as a 'welfare cheat.' every formerly incarcerated person as a 'dangerous felon.' The solution: bust 'em, lock 'em up, throw away the key, or punish 'em for a lifetime.

Dr. Alexander asserts that the result of this successful 30 year campaign is a new 'racial caste system' - a New Jim Crow.

The New Jim Crow involves the destruction of families and communities of color; state budgets that put more money into incarceration than education; hundreds of thousands of people denied the right to vote, get a job, find affordable housing, get food stamps or an education by public policy and law; and a (mostly white) electorate supporting police state practices in communities of color in the false belief that locking people up will make uncaged people 'feel safe.'

Michelle Alexander calls for a mass civil and human rights movement -- multi-racial, multi-class, grounded in love for each person as a human being -- to end the New Jim Crow and its racist foundations. She recommends public education as a way to help build that movement. So please check out the video at:

In solidarity,
sharon martinas