In this stunning and incisive critique, civil rights lawyer-turned-legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it.
Alexander shows that, by targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control. In the current era, it is no longer permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans.
The old forms of discrimination – discrimination in employment, housing, education, and public benefits, denial of the right to vote, and exclusion from jury service – are suddenly legal once you're labeled a felon.
Alexander challenges the civil rights community, and all of us, to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.