Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is an unflinching dissection of the racial biases built into the American prison system. Named after the laws that enforced racial segregation in the southern United States until the mid-1960s, The New Jim Crow argues that while America is now legally a colorblind society - treating all races equally under the law - many factors combine to build profound racial weighting into the legal system. The US now has the world's highest rate of incarceration, and a disproportionate percentage of the prison population is comprised of African-American men. Alexander's argument is that different legal factors have combined to mean both that African-Americans are more likely to be targeted by police, and to receive long jail sentences for their crimes. While many of Alexander's arguments and statistics are to be found in other books and authors' work, The New Jim Crow is a masterful example of the reasoning skills that communicate arguments persuasively. Alexander's skills are those fundamental to critical thinking reasoning: organizing evidence, examining other sides of the question, and synthesizing points to create an overall argument that is as watertight as it is persuasive.
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The New York Times bestseller and 'Bible of a social movement' (San Francisco Chronicle) Once in a great while a book comes along that radically changes our understanding of a crucial political issue and helps to fuel a social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Lawyer and activist Michelle Alexander offers a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status, denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights movement. Challenging the notion that the election of Barack Obama signalled a new era of colourblindness in the United States, The New Jim Crow reveals how racial discrimination was not ended but merely redesigned. By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of colour, the American criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, relegating millions to a permanent second-class status even as it formally adheres to the principle of colourblindness. A searing call to action for everyone concerned with social justice, The New Jim Crow is one of the most important books about race in the 21st century.
Wading through Many Voices brings together the voices of Latino/a, African American, Asian American, Native American, and Euro-American scholars to produce a dialogue of public theology: how faith-communities, divided by race, class, ethnicity, and gender, can find a common ground for life together.
A provocative, exuberant, and deeply researched investigation into Mark Twain’s writing of America’s favorite icon of childhood, Huckleberry Finn: “A boldly revisionist reading of Twain’s Huckleberry Finn…Twain’s masterpiece emerges as a compelling depiction of nineteenth-century troubles still all too familiar in the twenty-first century” (Booklist, starred review). In the “groundbreaking” (Dallas Morning News) Huck Finn’s America, award-winning biographer Andrew Levy shows how modern readers have misunderstood Huckleberry Finn for decades. Mark Twain’s masterpiece is often discussed either as a carefree adventure story for children or a serious novel about race relations, yet Levy argues, it is neither. Instead, Huck Finn was written at a time when Americans were nervous about “uncivilized” bad boys, and a debate was raging about education, popular culture, and responsible parenting—casting Huck’s now-celebrated “freedom” in a very different and very modern light. On issues of race, on the other hand, Twain’s lifelong fascination with minstrel shows and black culture inspired him to write a book not about civil rights, but about race’s role in entertainment and commerce, the same features on which much of our own modern consumer culture is also grounded. In Levy’s vision, Huck Finn has more to say about contemporary children and race that we have ever imagined—if we are willing to hear it. An eye-opening, groundbreaking exploration of the character and psyche of Mark Twain as he was writing his most famous novel, Levy’s book “explores the soul of Mark Twain's enduring achievement with the utmost self-awareness...An eloquent argument, wrapped up in rich biographical detail and historical fact.” (USA TODAY). Huck Finn’s America brings the past to vivid, surprising life, and offers a persuasive argument for why this American classic deserves to be understood anew.
From St. Louis to New Orleans, from Baltimore to Oklahoma City, there are poor and minority neighborhoods so beset by pollution that just living in them can be hazardous to your health. Due to entrenched segregation, zoning ordinances that privilege wealthier communities, or because businesses have found the ‘paths of least resistance,’ there are many hazardous waste and toxic facilities in these communities, leading residents to experience health and wellness problems on top of the race and class discrimination most already experience. Taking stock of the recent environmental justice scholarship, Toxic Communities examines the connections among residential segregation, zoning, and exposure to environmental hazards. Renowned environmental sociologist Dorceta Taylor focuses on the locations of hazardous facilities in low-income and minority communities and shows how they have been dumped on, contaminated and exposed. Drawing on an array of historical and contemporary case studies from across the country, Taylor explores controversies over racially-motivated decisions in zoning laws, eminent domain, government regulation (or lack thereof), and urban renewal. She provides a comprehensive overview of the debate over whether or not there is a link between environmental transgressions and discrimination, drawing a clear picture of the state of the environmental justice field today and where it is going. In doing so, she introduces new concepts and theories for understanding environmental racism that will be essential for environmental justice scholars. A fascinating landmark study, Toxic Communities greatly contributes to the study of race, the environment, and space in the contemporary United States.
A RIVETING, GROUNDBREAKING ACCOUNT OF HOW THE WAR ON CRIME HAS TORN APART INNER-CITY COMMUNITIES Forty years in, the tough on crime turn in American politics has spurred a prison boom of historic proportions that disproportionately affects Black communities. It has also torn at the lives of those on the outside. As arrest quotas and high tech surveillance criminalize entire blocks, a climate of fear and suspicion pervades daily life, not only for young men entangled in the legal system, but for their family members and working neighbors. Alice Goffman spent six years in one Philadelphia neighborhood, documenting the routine stops, searches, raids, and beatings that young men navigate as they come of age. In the course of her research, she became roommates with Mike and Chuck, two friends trying to make ends meet between low wage jobs and the drug trade. Like many in the neighborhood, Mike and Chuck were caught up in a cycle of court cases, probation sentences, and low level warrants, with no clear way out. We observe their girlfriends and mothers enduring raids and interrogations, "clean" residents struggling to go to school and work every day as the cops chase down neighbors in the streets, and others eking out a living by providing clean urine, fake documents, and off the books medical care. This fugitive world is the hidden counterpoint to mass incarceration, the grim underside of our nation's social experiment in punishing Black men and their families. While recognizing the drug trade's damage, On The Run reveals a justice system gone awry: it is an exemplary work of scholarship highlighting the failures of the War on Crime, and a compassionate chronicle of the families caught in the midst of it. "A remarkable feat of reporting . . . The level of detail in this book and Goffman's ability to understand her subjects' motivations are astonishing—and riveting."—The New York Times Book Review
The Organic Globalizer is a collection of critical essays which takes the position that hip-hop holds political significance through an understanding of its ability to at once raise cultural awareness, expand civil society's focus on social and economic justice through institution building, and engage in political activism and participation. Collectively, the essays assert hip hop's importance as an “organic globalizer:” no matter its pervasiveness or reach around the world, hip-hop ultimately remains a grassroots phenomenon that is born of the community from which it permeates. Hip hop, then, holds promise through three separate but related avenues: (1) through cultural awareness and identification/recognition of voices of marginalized communities through music and art; (2) through social creation and the institutionalization of independent alternative institutions and non-profit organizations in civil society geared toward social and economic justice; and (3) through political activism and participation in which demands are articulated and made on the state. With editorial bridges between chapters and an emphasis on interdisciplinary and diverse perspectives, The Organic Globalizer is the natural scholarly evolution in the conversation about hip-hop and politics.
Because researchers often treat baby boomers of color as belonging to one group, quality data on the individual status of specific racial populations is lacking, leading to insufficiently designed programs, policies, and services. The absence of data is a testament to the invisibility of baby boomers of color in society and deeply affects the practice of social work and other helping professions that require culturally sensitive approaches. Melvin Delgado rectifies this injustice by providing a comprehensive portrait of the status and unique assets of boomers of color. Using specific data, he grounds an understanding of boomers'financial, medical, and emotional needs within a historical, socioeconomic, cultural, and political context, resulting in tailored recommendations for meeting the challenges of a growing population. His research focuses on African American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American older adults and addresses issues of financial security, employment stability, housing, and health care, which are often complicated by linguistic and cultural differences. Rather than treat baby boomers of color as a financial burden on society and its resources, Delgado recognizes their strengths and positive contributions to families and communities, resulting in an affirming and empowering approach to service.
"Drawing on a range of local and personal accounts from the post-Reconstruction period, newspapers, and church records Bennett's analysis challenges the assumption that churches fell into fixed patterns of segregation without a fight. In sacred no less than secular spheres, establishing Jim Crow constituted a long, slow, and complicated journey that extended well into the twentieth century."--BOOK JACKET.
The African-American community represents a paradox of sorts. While collective success has been achieved in many areas, African-Americans still disproportionately suffer from a variety of social ills. The residual effects from years of slavery and exclusion from the major institutions of American life are still trenchant. Yet, there is hope. As we move forward into a new millennium, our greatest answers can be found by exploring the past. The Christian faith has served as a sustaining force that has been the backbone of this community for generations. This faith, along with a holistic commitment to family, political participation, education, and entrepreneurship, are the key to its future. The Way Out tackles this issue with a mature voice that represents a juxtaposition of faith and public policy. It rejects the culture of partisan gridlock, racial division, and religious cynicism by fostering a fresh and pluralistic discourse about the greatest solutions for our most pressing civic challenges. From the experienced policymaker to the common citizen wanting to make a difference, The Way Out provides tangible solutions through which we can all find ways to engage. It stands firmly at the intersection of religion, race, politics, and culture to light a clear path forward.