More black men in US prisons now than were in chains in 1850 (and they can’t vote, either)

As Michelle Alexander notes, this trend is based on our preposterous “war on drugs,” and keeps the US prison-industrial complex booming (or, as it were, in the black).

And it’s also been a big help to the GOP in its ongoing crusade to disenfranchise the American majority, in order to impose their fringe agenda on the rest of us.


More Black Men Now in Prison System than Enslaved in 1850
By Dick Price

More African American men are in prison or jail, on
probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before
the Civil War began,” Michelle Alexander recenetly told
a standing room only house at the Pasadena Main Library,
the first of many jarring points she made in a riveting presentation.

Alexander, currently a law professor at Ohio State, had
been brought in to discuss her year-old bestseller, The
New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of
Colorblindness More Black Men Now in Prison System than
Enslaved in 1850. Interest ran so high beforehand that
the organizers had to move the event to a location that
could accommodate the eager attendees. That evening,
more than 200 people braved the pouring rain and
inevitable traffic jams to crowd into the library’s main
room, with dozens more shuffled into an overflow room,
and even more latecomers turned away altogether.
Alexander and her topic had struck a nerve.

Growing crime rates over the past 30 years don’t explain
the skyrocketing numbers of black – and increasingly
brown – men caught in America’s prison system, according
to Alexander, who clerked for Supreme Court Justice
Harry Blackmun after attending Stanford Law. “In fact,
crime rates have fluctuated over the years and are now
at historical lows.”

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