• Apr 25, 2012

Michelle Alexander: “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”

  • 6:00 PM
  • Wasserstein Hall, Room 2019, Harvard Law School, 1585 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal.

Featured on the The Tavis Smiley Show, Bill Moyers Journal, Democracy Now!, and C-Span’s Washington Journal, The New Jim Crow has become an overnight phenomenon, sparking a much-needed conversation about ways in which our system of mass incarceration has come to resemble systems of racial control from a different era.

Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar. As an associate professor of law at Stanford Law School, she directed the Civil Rights Clinic and pursued a research agenda focused on the intersection of race and criminal justice. In 2005, Alexander won a Soros Justice Fellowship that supported the writing of The New Jim Crow and accepted a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. Prior to joining academia, Alexander engaged in civil rights litigation in both the private and nonprofit sector, ultimately serving as the director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California, where she helped lead a national campaign against racial profiling. Currently she devotes her time to freelance writing, public speaking, consulting, and caring for her three young children.

Alexander is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Vanderbilt University. She has clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court and for Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, and has appeared as a commentator on CNN and MSNBC, among other media outlets. The New Jim Crow is her first book. For more information, visit www.thenewjimcrow.com.

Co-sponsored by the ACLU of Massachusetts and the Prison Studies Project

Video

Event Photos