I was blessed and troubled to hear Michelle Alexander speak at Northwestern University Wednesday night. My seminary, in collaboration with Northwestern, brought her to talk and she spoke about her book, The New Jim Crow. She gave a similar talk as the one in this video. I’m not sure if her talk the other night will be available yet.
Professor Alexander, last Wednesday, discussed her own early suspicions of calling what she’s investigated a caste system, before being personally changed after she, as a civil rights attorney, encountered story after story of young men being swept into the criminal justice system. She dedicated Wednesday’s lecture to Martin Luther King, Jr, and she told us to press for a social movement against the legal system that is so historically and frequently assigning young men (most of whom are men of color) into a new racial undercaste system called incarceration.
I’ve mentioned her book on the blog before. It’s probably the most memorable and distressing book I read last year. It’s one of the reasons why I’m intentionally reading less this year–in order for me to digest harder readings like Alexander’s. If you haven’t gotten The New Jim Crow, consider buying it or checking it out of your local library. It’ll give you much to think through. And it may change you.
Perhaps this video can appeal to your best self and whet your interest for the heavier work which is her book.