Saturday, October 6, 2012

The War on Drugs...a War on African Americans

It's almost time...our next meeting is this coming Tuesday October 9th at 7:00 p.m. , and it promises to be a hot one! As we read Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, it's helpful to look at U.S. drug policy, which results in so many arrests of young African Americans. National Public Radio aired this program in January, in which  All Things Considered host Guy Raz speaks with director Eugene Jarecki about  his film The House I Live In. Michelle Alexander can be heard in the interview.

You can also hear Ms. Alexander given an impassioned address to Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, in which she outlines the major themes of her book.

One of the sources Alexander quotes is Douglas Blackmon's Slavery By Another Name: The Re-enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. Although most of us know about "chain gangs" and the sharecropping system, Blackmon also highlights  a prison system designed to net as many black men as possible to provide free labor for companies and local governments across the South. As in Alexander's work, it's the intentionality that shocks, and provides the most disturbing and controversial moments in the book.

I look forward to exploring and debating Alexander and Blackmon's arguments with all of you this Tuesday!