Haley Scholars Fall 2013 Reading Groups
Commentators and general readers have discussed the value of Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow in shedding new light on the racial implications of the criminal justice system. She covers considerable ground and presents a body of compelling and at times dreadful evidence.
How, in brief, have your views changed or deepened as a result of reading her book? What, in particular, affected your thinking most and why?
My views of the unjust treatment of African Americans in the criminal justice system deepened as a result of reading her book. I knew African Americans have been treated unfairly in the criminal justice system through cases such as Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896), but I did not know the unfair treatment of African Americans still continued to this day.
The different scenarios that Alexander wrote about affected my thinking the most because it informed me of the severity of the unfair treatment of African Americans in the criminal justice system.
Overall my sense on African American injustice was broadened. Alexander's explanations provided me with more knowledge of the injustice of the criminal system for African Americans. In a way its frightening to know that your color can be the difference in freedom or imprisonment. Also knowing that although we are free from slavery there is still a bondage that we African Americans go through.
Michelle Alexander's book has provided me with more background of injustices suffered by African Americans. Alexander stated in her book that "As African Americans obtain political power and began the long march toward greater social and economic equality, whites reacted with panic and outrage." In many cases this is true, but it was not something I periodically contemplated. I wouldn't say my view has been changed, but I can definitely say it has been broadened.
After reading this book, Michelle Alexander made me realize how African Americans in reality are still not "equal". Made me realize that we are still discriminated against, just in a more complex manner. It gives me an uneasy feeling knowing that is in the world I live in today being a black man.
Before reading this book I believed that racial inequality was a thing of the past. After reading Alexander's views and points my eyes have been opened to the various ways that African Americans are discriminated against and the unfairness of the justice system. I think this book is just what African Americans need to get fired up about civil rights like we were before.
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