The Rhetoric of “Colorblindness” and the Reality of Racial Profiling and Mass Incarceration

WBAI’s Radio Building Bridges: Your Community & Labor Report
Monday, May 28, 7- 9 pm EST, over 99.5 FM
or streaming live at
http://www.wbai.org
Produced & Hosted by Mimi Rosenberg and Ken Nash
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A Two-Hour Special!
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
With Michelle Alexander, human rights activist, litigator, best-selling author and NY activists working to stop Stop & Frisk

Racism is rampant, as evidenced by the more than 685,000 stops and frisks within a 12 month period, of overwhelmingly African-American and Latino residents of this city.  African-Americans and Latinos are subject to profiling, harassment and criminalization by the NYPD’s practices. The Mayor’s and NYPD’s policing policies resulted in the killing of an unarmed Rahmarley Graham, 18 years old in his own home.The Stop and Frisk policies, the concentration on marijuana arrests, oftentimes the result of illegal searches fuel the frightening and unwarranted explosion in incarceration rates that are occurring throughout the country. And, mass incarceration, a major manifestation of institutionalized racism has permanent consequences. For, even after release those who have been behind the walls are stigmatized.  They are subject to exclusion from essential economic, and political opportunity – they become subject to a new “Jim Crow”.

Recently, Michelle Alexander spoke to an overflow, cheering audience at Harlem’s historic Abyssinian Baptist Church to announce the launch of the new paperback edition of “The New Jim Crow” which is now # 6 on the”N.Y. Times Bestseller List”.  She offered a bold and innovative argument that mass incarceration amounts to a devastating system of deliberate,racial control.  In her incisive critique, former litigator-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 blackmen and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary mechanism of racial control, even as it proclaims the principle of color blindness.  Just as it took a mass movement to destroy the Jim Crow system, Alexander argues that it will take a new mass movement to destroy the new caste system which she has labeled “The New Jim Crow”.  And this new movement is growing and being nurtured by Michelle Alexander.  And, her analysis of “The New JimCrow” is helping to build this movement.


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