In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination - employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service - are suddenly legal.
©2012 Michelle Alexander (P)2012 Recorded Books, LLC
Literally the best book I've read in as long as I can remember. It's not that I don't have any disagreements with the author - occasionally I do. The main argument of the book, however, is so focused, thorough, and evidence-based that it literally changed my life.
This audio book was in all nothing short of mind shocking, presenting to the listener a life changing truth about the deep seeded racial indignity, human injustice, and moral turpitude blacks as a whole are subjected to in present day society.
By leaps and bounds , one of the most powerful audio books I have ever lent an ear to.
One of the most important books of this generation. A must-read (or must-listen) for anyone who is interested in data-driven, profound insights into how our country got where it is today with respect to race and so much more. I call upon all fellow white Americans to read/listen to this book and then act according to your conscience and the compelling arguments made by Alexander and her sources (and read beautifully by Chilton).
This is a great book. It's full of facts and information. A very well written book. It's great for all to read, but it will show how much race and economics drive our Criminal Justice system. This is one of my favorite books.
This was a great sequel to Slavery By Another Name. It's animportant book toward understanding our country. If Colin Kaepernick's critics read this and opened their minds to the realities of this nation maybe some of that energy could be directed toward the necessary work of healing and change instead of the pointless exercise of finger pointing and judgement.
This book made me think. Though the language is accessible, it is a somewhat difficult read due to the subject matter. Alexander presents her message in a thoughtful and thorough manner. There were moments that seemed a bit biased; however, she often followed those moments with the counter argument or clarification that she was not condoning criminal behavior. I would recommend this book to anyone as an opportunity to open their minds and consider the issues of race that are present in America today.
Professional librarian type, amateur historian.
I knew the book was going to make me mad, but I didn’t think my annoyance would be with the author, but the system. I don’t like either.
Where do I start with why I think someone else should have written the book. Someone less defeatist, with her woe are us attitude, would have been better. To battle the problem you don’t need Eeyore always saying well that strategy was tried but now it’s closed off and we can’t do anything. She adds an extra layer of depression that undermines the impetus for change. If you suffer from depression stay away from this book.
There are facts I don’t argue with but the author’s interpretation of them is annoying, like her defeatism. She goes with the South as racist narrative, but the way that is played out seems to let the rest of the country off the hook. The ghetto as we know it in America is a very northern thing. The ghetto is mentioned and in parts is the focus but its geography gets forgotten. There are other things too, such as over and under crediting various players in the government and civic sphere.
When talking about what citizen rights that are lost when branded a felon she mentions jury duty and voting. Yes, serving as a juror is important, but very few Americans are dying to serve and lose a few days of work. Also all Americans are bad about voting. American turnout for mid-term elections, those times when voting for the locals who actually impact their day to day life (schools, local roads, etc) the turnout is less than 50%, lately 30someodd percent. A lot of people get by without voting or serving on juries. Democracy is more than being heard once a year.
Another problem with the narrative, is that it sacrifices coalition building at the expense of adding on the depressingness. She is preaching to her own choir using rhetoric that pushes aside accuracy to lob rocks at groups that could help with the problem, such as libertarians who are challenging the militarization of police or blacks in power. In her conclusions, she takes time to lash out at the choir. She’s dissatisfied with civil rights lawyers wanting them to be something other than what they are. She attacks civil rights gains obtained on “the cheap”. It’s cheap only because she didn’t buy it.
I am a historian and referring to certain groups simply as “conservatives” is horribly clunky if not inaccurate when talking about certain time periods, and like the thing with the South, it lets the left off the hook. She also uses the term “passing” during the actual Jim Crow era incorrectly. It meant “passing for white” not “coping”, which seems to be the word she needs to use. She might have dumbed down the language for a broader, non-academic audience, but as a result she sacrificed accuracy.
She also mixes the problems of African Americans with prison records and felonies with that of all African Americans, regardless of class or status. The author’s remarks regarding non-poor blacks or black “elites” is negatively all over the place. It might be a foreign idea that black middle & upper classes may want certain things for themselves, not just to impress or appease whites. She damns the black middle class for pushing for slum clearance and efforts to remove the black ghetto she spends most of the book complaining about. In regards to family matters, yes, child support is one of many burdens placed on men returning from prison, but it needs to be paid. She seems to want to enable deadbeat dads.
I have no problem with the narration. In the beginning there are male voices, an unknown and I guess Cornell West or someone reading as Cornell West. She sounds annoyed, and that’s okay. It might have added to my annoyance with the author.
I finished the book so my complaint could be complete.
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