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Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, examines how mass incarceration in the US serves as a new racial caste system in the “era of colorblindness.”

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Human RightsDrug Laws


About The Author

Michelle Schusterman

Michelle is a musician, writer, and teacher just trying to see the world while doing what she loves for a living. She's taught ESL in Salvador, Brazil and kindergarten in Suwon, Korea, and now she's a full-time freelance writer living in Seattle (just to keep the city alliteration going). She'll try pretty much any food once and believes coffee is its own food group.

  • Carlo Alcos

    Damn. It’s hard to argue those numbers. I suspect the defenders will come up with some rhetoric to justify this, but the disproportion is way too blatant. The US war on drugs needs an overhaul.

    • Luz

      Agreed, bro. And I don’t know, maybe I’m over-conspiring (wait, the article backs it up) but the end of one system is just the preparation of another, because they see gain from change, and make their methods look different. Keep all of their conspiracies hushed. It could be so deep that they’ll use methods like favoritism as a way to create an undercaste.

    • Stan The Man

      Overhaul?  No… it needs to end.  It is a failed policy that can never succeed and causes incredible harm on our society and the World.

  • Lukewarm 15

    lol  just dont do drugs and you wont go to jail

    • iprintall

      Really, that’s your solution? You do realize after food, sex and water the need to alter one’s state is something we are all born with. Perhaps you don’t, but the vast majority of people do. The numbers above clearly show that. . . and that’s only the people who get caught.

  • jmu21vt16

    you cant argue crime rates vs incarceration rates between countries and say the US having higher incarceration rates is a bad thing.  People commit crimes here, we catch them, they go to jail.  People commit crimes other places, they dont catch them, they dont go to jail.  How is it a bad thing to punish people who are caught doing illegal things?

    • Carlo Alcos

      The problem is that that is the “solution”, to just keep throwing people in jail, when obviously that isn’t working.

      • glorybe2

        Carlo you might want to consider that society has the power. If incarceration becomes too expensive or rehab becomes too great a burden we just might see a short trial followed by a rapid execution for drug possession or use. Miami got to about that point in the 1980s when some cops started killing drug users on the spot without arrest or trial. It got so bad that one group of twelve Miami cops started killing dealers so that they could make all the sales. One or two of those cops escaped arrest and I do not think they have ever been arrested. One was hiding in the islands near the Bahamas. There was also a big problem with honest cops being eliminated by putting drugs in their cars or homes and having anonymous tips phoned in. Dishonest cops do not like working with honest cops.

  • Starship_orleans

    If the incarceration methodology works, why is there still such a “high” level of crime?

  • Guest

    Slave-owners worship satan and bow to Belial. 

  • onlysky

    How appalling.  Thanks for the infographic, it’s enlightening in a very sad way.

  • Paul David Olson

    Great infographic.

  • Ora_Mi

    this is so troubling. I….

  • Anonymous

    Bullshit. I’m not even going to read the propaganda passed on by Media Matters because the first few lines explicitly display a manipulation of statistics. DC is almost all black so of course the drug addicts are disproportionately black. Not to mention DC has banned guns from law abiding citizens creating a criminal utopia. The rest of your sh! t article which was copied and pasted from the Huffpo can kiss my (small “r”) republican ass. That’s right the same party that emancipated the slaves and voted for the civil rights act even though you progressives voted lock-step against it.

    • John Rotolo

      you`ve got big time anger issues , hoss.the Republicans quit being for civil rights right after Reconstruction.Hence the Southern Strategy.if you`re implying that the current Republican Party has anything in common with the Party of Lincoln, you`re dumber than a bag of rocks. of course ,when you hide behind a screenname, you can say all the ignorant shite you want and hurl insults w/o fear of repercussions.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, crack was invented by the MAN to keep a brothah down along with AIDS and WMD’s. I bet U think 9/11 was done by them evil Jooos huh? You racist piece of crap you should have your wealth redistributed. Are you race baiters aware that saying “faggot” now qualifies as domestic disturbance and will get you all the punishments listed on this OBEY style double-plagarized poster? How do you feel about civil rights now? Fuckin hypocrite.

    • John Rotolo

      typical ignorant tea party rant. snot flying out your nose while you type your nonsense.

  • glorybe2

    Poor people are arrested far more often not due to race hatred but due to the fact that the crimes they commit are the easiest to detect. Crimes behind mansion walls are not in view of cops or the community. Crimes committed on sidewalks or parking lots are easily spotted. Cops can not search people in their mansions but they can search people on the street. A new tool is now in play. it is computerized, predictive policing. For example it is 3:14 in the afternoon. The computer says that address X is the most likely to have a crime occurring at about this moment so the cops blanket the area. The community that has the most issues will have the most cops at any given time. To people in a poor, black or brown ghetto this will feel like a racial insult. But in fact race never enters into the equation at all.
    In the 1980s some towns were so damaged by crack use that many strict laws were passed. But in my area in the 1950s 0r 1960s one joint would get you flushed down the crapper forever. One joint would get any kid permanently expelled from a school or college in many cases and the chance of being anything but a manual laborer for life pretty much evaporated as nobody was interested in hiring a drug user. It sort of worked as we simply had no dope in our schools at all.

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