Thursday, May 26, 2011

The New Jim Crow

Hey y'all.  If you caught my recent post entitled: Your Dream Supreme Court Nominee, than you read about Goodwin Liu, the brilliant, progressive, Asian American Lawyer nominated by President Obama to the Ninth Circuit of Appeals.  Unsurprisingly Liu was filibustered and has since requested that his nomination be withdrawn making it unlikely that he will ever make it to the Supreme Court. It seems apropos that Liu, a progressive attorney with impeccable credentials, would be denied the opportunity to serve on the federal bench if you believe the assertions that Michelle Alexander makes in her book "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness".

Last weekend I had the pleasure of hearing Ms. Alexander speak at Riverside Church in Harlem the same church that Dr. King once spoke at. It might have been the greatest speech I've ever witnessed in person.  Michelle makes the claim that the analogy between the Jim Crow system of the South and the U.S. Criminal Justice System is not only appropriate but factually accurate.

If you have not read her book, please do.  Put it on the: "I'd be disappointed if I didn't read this in the near future" list and move it to the front of the line.  Than do me a favor and ask at least five other people to read it.  We need as many people as possible to see the criminal justice system for what it is, a system of segregation.

If you accept, Michelle's premise that the criminal justice system is the New Jim Crow, than you have to ask yourself some pointed questions.  What are you doing about it?  Are you sitting by while a Jim Crow System is occurring right under your nose? Does your lack of action amount to tacit approval? The question that I asked Michelle is: where is the back of the bus?  Or in other words where is the location for civil disobedience to protest this unjust system?  My answer is that the courtroom is today's lunch counter and ultimately the arena where this battle will be fought.

Let's shut this system down.

And on top of all of that you can watch the video of her speech right here:

1 comment:

  1. Great post, and thanks for posting the link to the speech!