On Thursday, January 8, the Coming Together Amherst project hosted a screening of author Michelle Alexander’s 2011 talk before the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, NYC. Alexander is an associate professor of law at Ohio State University. She researched and published a book entitled The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (The New Press, 2010). Alexander argues there is a re-emergence of a caste-like system based on race in the United States which has resulted in millions of African Americans—especially young African American men—being locked up in prisons. Not only has this destroyed the lives of the up and coming generation of African American men, but the consequences have reverberated as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives and children grapple with the results.
What is the root of this campaign to incarcerate African American youth? The answer: politics. Alexander commands the dates, facts and figures to explain, to all who are willing to listen, how deliberate policies having to do with a politics of race shaped the New Jim Crow. The next question is how do we stop this?
You can listen to the Abyssinian Church presentation here.