The Age of Obama as a Racial Nightmare
By Michelle Alexander
Posted on March 25, 2012, Printed on June 12, 2012

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Tom Engelhardt is away for several more days. He may not be answering emails until week’s end. But TomDispatch marches on with an updated TD classic, along with a new introduction by Tom. Nick Turse]

In March 2010, when TomDispatch first published a piece by Michelle Alexander, her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, had just been published. As I wrote then, it focused in startling ways on “a growing racial divide, one which includes the formation of a new undercaste in America that loses its normal rights at the prison gates and often never recovers them.” Her piece offered nothing short of a new way to look at racial oppression in this country in the twenty-first century — and in hardcover it would sell a mere 3,000 copies. But Alexander was a superb writer, had a compelling personal story (check it out on Timothy MacBain’s riveting 2010 TomDispatch audio interview with her), and something new to tell the world — and somehow (never discount miracles!), it broke through.

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