Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York, NY: The New Press, 2010.
1. Why does the author criticize Obama’s speech about AWOL fathers?
2. What astonishing statistic does the author present about slavery in 1850 and Blacks in the correctional system?
3. Why does the author compare the disfranchisement of Blacks today with disfranchisement during 1870 and the Jim Crow era?
4. Look at the first two full paragraphs closely on page 176 above the section, “States of Denial”. Why is it now normal for so many people to view the mass incarceration of Blacks as non-disturbing or even necessary?
5. On page 177 in the last paragraph, Alexander states, “Denial is facilitated by persistent…racialized media imagery…” This is a very powerful and underestimated fact in the Black community! “Racialized media imagery” about Blacks which helps to put minds at ease about Blacks in prison through recurring stereotypes in the media (songs, videos, television) is often supported by Black students in this class. How have Black stereotypes impacted your life?
6. Look at the last sentence in the second paragraph on page 178: “The widespread and mistaken…” Why does Alexander argue that this is a misbelief and it keeps us in denial?
7. What is your personal definition of racism? Compare your definition to Alexander’s explanation of it beginning in the last paragraph on page 178 to the bottom of page 179. What did you learn from her discussion about racism?
8. In your own eloquent words, summarize the three phases of entrapment for Blacks which Alexander describes from pages 180-182.
9. According to Alexander on page 183, how has the criminal justice system changed from never operating as a system of comprehensive control over Blacks to one which manages and controls Blacks?
10. How are White drug offenders dealt with in the criminal justice system?
11. What is the connection between Jim Crow laws and conservatives during the 1970s and 1980s in the section called, “Historical Parallels”?
12. What are the similarities presented by Alexander to past and present discrimination waged against Blacks in the section called, “Legalized discrimination” (186-187); and the similarities to past and present political disfranchisement in the section called, “Political disfranchisement” (187-188)?