Professor Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, writes that a racial caste system existing in America reflect the Jim Crow laws that were "separate but equal" from the time of the Civil War until the passage of the Civil Rights Acts in the mid 1960's and which continue today. She is a graduate from Stanford Law School and Vanderbilt University and clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the United States Supreme Court and for Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Subsequently, she was on the faculty of Sanford Law School serving as the Director of the Civil Rights Clinic before receiving a Soros Justice Fellowship and an appointment to the Moritz College of Law and the Kirwan
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The rational organization of the Book, into six chapters, flows through the history of the transition from the "castes systems" of the slavery old Jim Crow to The New Jim Crow by mass incarceration. The process of the circumstances of arrest, the wide discretion of police, and the sanctioning of racism by "authorities" is very revealing. The book is well substantiating by statistical research and theory. The riddling of historical events to portray the circumstances and settings of the time periods it frames is extremely helpful. The penetrating observations as to political actions of politicians and there realities were discussed with objectivity.
The beginning chapter asks how we got to a place of social control through racial criminal sanctions. Relegating concerns of the "white poor" to preserve their status in the "pecking order" of our society by political means has been one method of continuing racism. The redefining of the hierarchy from the shifting of slavery to the more sophisticated mass incarceration has been another. Alexander, in her second chapter, "Lockdown", argues, systematically, the phenomenon