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#1【学者论说 】   The New Jim Crow (By Michelle Alexander)            Go Back
The New Jim Crow

Michelle Alexander on "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness"


#2  The New Jim Crow             Go Back

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is a book by Michelle Alexander, a civil rights litigator and legal scholar. The book discusses race-related issues specific to African-American males and mass incarceration in the United States, but Alexander notes that the discrimination faced by African-American males is prevalent among other minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged populations. Alexander's central premise, from which the book derives its title, is that "mass incarceration is, metaphorically, the New Jim Crow."


#3  Re: The New Jim Crow             Go Back

Anyone who doubts the devastating impact of McCleskey v. Kemp on African American
defendants throughout the criminal justice system, including those ensnared by the War on
Drugs, need only ask Edward Clary. Two months after his eighteenth birthday, Clary was
stopped and searched in the St. Louis airport because he “looked like” a drug courier. At the
time, he was returning home from visiting some friends in California. One of them persuaded
him to take some drugs back home to St. Louis. Clary had never attempted to deal drugs
before, and he had no criminal record.

During the search, the police found crack cocaine and promptly arrested him. He was
convicted in federal court and sentenced under federal laws that punish crack offenses one
hundred times more severely than offenses involving powder cocaine. A conviction for the sale
of five hundred grams of powder cocaine triggers a five-year mandatory sentence, while only
five grams of crack triggers the same sentence. Because Clary had been caught with more than
fifty grams of crack (less than two ounces), the sentencing judge believed he had no choice but
to sentence him—an eighteen-year-old, first-time offender—to a minimum of ten years in
federal prison.

Clary, like defendants in other crack cases, challenged the constitutionality of the hundred-toone
ratio. His lawyers argued that the law is arbitrary and irrational, because it imposes such
vastly different penalties on two forms of the same substance. They also argued that the law
discriminates against African Americans, because the majority of those charged with crimes
involving crack at that time were black (approximately 93 percent of convicted crack offenders
were black, 5 percent were white), whereas powder cocaine offenders were predominantly

Every federal appellate court to have considered these claims had rejected them on the
ground that Congress—rightly or wrongly—believed that crack was more dangerous to society,
a view supported by the testimony of some drug-abuse “experts” and police officers. The fact
that most of the evidence in support of any disparity had since been discredited was deemed
irrelevant; what mattered was whether the law had seemed rational at the time it was adopted.
Congress, the courts concluded, is free to amend the law if circumstances have changed.
Courts also had rejected claims that crack sentencing laws were racially discriminatory, largely
on the ground that the Supreme Court’s decision in McCleskey v. Kemp precluded such a result.
In the years following McCleskey , lower courts consistently rejected claims of race
discrimination in the criminal justice system, finding that gross racial disparities do not merit
strict scrutiny in the absence of evidence of explicit race discrimination—the very evidence
unavailable in the era of colorblindness.

Judge Clyde Cahill of the Federal District of Missouri, an African American judge assigned
Clary’s case, boldly challenged the prevailing view that courts are powerless to address forms of
race discrimination that are not overtly hostile. Cahill declared the hundred-to-one ratio racially
discriminatory in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, notwithstanding McCleskey .52
Although no admissions of racial bias or racist intent could be found in the record, Judge Cahill
believed race was undeniably a factor in the crack sentencing laws and policies. He traced the
history of the get-tough movement and concluded that fear coupled with unconscious racism
had led to a lynch-mob mentality and a desire to control crime—and those deemed responsible
for it—at any cost. Cahill acknowledged that many people may not believe they are motivated
by discriminatory attitudes but argued that we all have internalized fear of young black men, a
fear reinforced by media imagery that has helped to create a national image of the young black
male as a criminal. “The presumption of innocence is now a legal myth,” he declared. “The 100-
to-1 ratio, coupled with mandatory minimum sentencing provided by federal statute, has
created a situation that reeks with inhumanity and injustice.... If young white males were being
incarcerated at the same rate as young black males, the statute would have been amended
long ago.” Judge Cahill sentenced Clary as if the drug he had carried home had been powder
cocaine. The sentence imposed was four years in prison. Clary served his term and was

The prosecution appealed Clary’s case to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed
Judge Cahill in a unanimous opinion, finding that the case was not even close. In the court’s
view, there was no credible evidence that the crack penalties were motivated by any conscious
racial bigotry, as required by McCleskey v. Kemp. The court remanded the case back to the
district court for resentencing. Clary—now married and a father—was ordered back to prison to
complete his ten-year term.

---from The New Jim Crow

#4  Re: The New Jim Crow             Go Back
Hillary Clinton Says She Agrees Her Role In Mass Incarceration Was A Mistake

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was pressed on her record on mass incarceration as First Lady at the CNN presidential debate Sunday night, ultimately saying she agreed it was a mistake.
Clinton has been hammered by Black Lives Matter protesters and African American writers over her advocacy for the 1994 crime bill, which is widely considered to have exacerbated mass incarceration by creating harsh sentences. In pushing the legislation, she invoked the racially-charged myth of “superpredators,” or the idea that young black people needed to be locked up because they were irrevocably violent and immoral.

On Sunday night, Clinton said she agreed with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who admitted last year that he had a role in worsening mass incarceration.

“I signed a bill that made the problem worse,” the former president said at the previous NAACP meeting in Philadelphia. “And I want to admit it.


“That’s why I am focused and have a very comprehensive approach towards fixing the criminal justice system, going after systemic racism that stalks the justice system, ending private prisons and ending the incarceration of low level offenders and i am committed to doing that,” she continued.

#5  Re: The New Jim Crow             Go Back

Once elected, Reagan’s promise to enhance the federal government’s role in fighting crime
was complicated by the fact that fighting street crime has traditionally been the responsibility of
state and local law enforcement. After a period of initial confusion and controversy regarding
whether the FBI and the federal government should be involved in street crime, the Justice
Department announced its intention to cut in half the number of specialists assigned to identify
and prosecute white-collar criminals and to shift its attention to street crime, especially druglaw
enforcement. In October 1982, President Reagan officially announced his administration’s
War on Drugs. At the time he declared this new war, less than 2 percent of the American public
viewed drugs as the most important issue facing the nation. This fact was no deterrent to
Reagan, for the drug war from the outset had little to do with public concern about drugs and
much to do with public concern about race. By waging a war on drug users and dealers,
Reagan made good on his promise to crack down on the racially defined “others”—the

Practically overnight the budgets of federal law enforcement agencies soared. Between 1980
and 1984, FBI antidrug funding increased from $8 million to $95 million. Department of
Defense antidrug allocations increased from $33 million in 1981 to $1,042 million in 1991.
During that same period, DEA antidrug spending grew from $86 to $1,026 million, and FBI
antidrug allocations grew from $38 to $181 million. By contrast, funding for agencies
responsible for drug treatment, prevention, and education was dramatically reduced. The
budget of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, for example, was reduced from $274 million to
$57 million from 1981 to 1984, and antidrug funds allocated to the Department of Education
were cut from $14 million to $3 million.

--- from The New Jim Crow

#6  Re: The New Jim Crow             Go Back

The message communicated by felon disenfranchisement laws, policies, and bureaucratic
procedures is not lost on those, such as Clinton Drake, who are effectively barred from voting
for life. Drake, a fifty-five-year-old African American man in Montgomery, Alabama, was
arrested in 1988 for possession of marijuana. Five years later, he was arrested again, this time
for having about $10 worth of the drug on him. Facing between ten and twenty years in prison
as a repeat offender, Drake, a Vietnam veteran and, at the time, a cook on a local air force
base, took his public defender’s advice and accepted a plea bargain. Under the plea agreement,
he would “only” have to spend five years behind bars. Five years for five joints.
Once released, Drake found he was forbidden by law from voting until he paid his $900 in
court costs—an impossible task, given that he was unemployed and the low-wage jobs he might
conceivably find would never allow him to accumulate hundreds of dollars in savings. For all
practical purposes, he would never be able to vote again. Shortly before the 2004 presidential
election, he said in despair:

I put my life on the line for this country. To me, not voting is not right; it lead to a lot of
frustration, a lot of anger. My son’s in Iraq. In the army just like I was. My oldest son, he
fought in the first Persian Gulf conflict. He was in the Marines. This is my baby son over
there right now. But I’m not able to vote. They say I owe $900 in fines. To me, that’s a
poll tax. You’ve got to pay to vote. It’s “restitution,” they say. I came off parole on October
13, 1999, but I’m still not allowed to vote. Last time I voted was in ’88. Bush versus
Dukakis. Bush won. I voted for Dukakis. If it was up to me, I’d vote his son out this time
too. I know a lot of friends got the same cases like I got, not able to vote. A lot of guys
doing the same things like I was doing. Just marijuana. They treat marijuana in Alabama
like you committed treason or something. I was on the 1965 voting rights march from
Selma. I was fifteen years old. At eighteen, I was in Vietnam fighting for my country. And
now? Unemployed and they won’t allow me to vote.

Drake’s vote, along with the votes of millions of other people labeled felons, might have
made a real difference in 2004. There is no doubt their votes would have changed things in
2000. Following the election, it was widely reported that, had the 600,000 former felons who
had completed their sentence in Florida been allowed to vote, Al Gore would have been elected
president of the United States rather than George W. Bush.

--- from The New Jim Crow

#7  Re: The New Jim Crow             Go Back

Marijuana wins big on election night

Voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada approved recreational marijuana initiatives Tuesday night, and several other states passed medical marijuana provisions in what is turning out to be the biggest electoral victory for marijuana reform since 2012, when Colorado and Washington first approved the drug's recreational use.

Of the five recreational marijuana initiatives on the ballot, three passed and one more -- in Maine -- were leading at midnight in preliminary vote totals. A similar measure in Arizona was trailing with 68 percent of votes counted.

On the medical side, voters in Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas have approved medical marijuana initiatives. A separate measure in Montana that would loosen restrictions on an existing medical pot law is currently leading with only 30 percent of votes counted so far.


#8  Re: The New Jim Crow             Go Back

#9  Re: The New Jim Crow             Go Back
唉,几家欢乐几家愁。 周围一些老中欣喜若狂。

我女儿昨晚就哭了。She said, "this is not acceptable".

The Lady Vanishes

#10  Re: The New Jim Crow             Go Back





BBB wrote: (11/9/2016 12:14)

Last modified on 11/11/16 07:10

#11  Re: The New Jim Crow             Go Back


云天 wrote: (11/9/2016 21:42)
唉,几家欢乐几家愁。 周围一些老中欣喜若狂。

我女儿昨晚就哭了。She said, "this is not acceptable".

The Lady Vanishes


#12  Re: The New Jim Crow             Go Back

和谈 wrote: (11/10/2016 8:52)






#13  Re: The New Jim Crow             Go Back
历史重演。 Like Al Gore, Hillary also won the popular vote. Time to abolish the electoral college:


#14  Re: The New Jim Crow             Go Back
Real Time with Bill Maher: November 11, 2016 (HBO)

podcast Bill Maher episode #410

#15  Re: The New Jim Crow             Go Back

The first and arguably most important point is that criminal justice reform efforts—standing
alone—are futile. Gains can be made, yes, but the new caste system will not be overthrown by
isolated victories in legislatures or courtrooms. If you doubt this is the case, consider the sheer
scale of mass incarceration. If we hope to return to the rate of incarceration of the 1970s—a
time when many civil rights activists believed rates of imprisonment were egregiously high—we
would need to release approximately four out of five people currently behind bars today.13
Prisons would have to be closed across America, an event that would likely inspire panic in rural
communities that have become dependent on prisons for jobs and economic growth. Hundreds
of thousands of people—many of them unionized—would lose their jobs. As Marc Mauer has
observed, “The more than 700,000 prison and jail guards, administrators, service workers, and
other personnel represent a potentially powerful political opposition to any scaling-down of the
system. One need only recall the fierce opposition to the closing of military bases in recent
years to see how these forces will function over time.”

Arguably, Mauer underestimates the scope of the challenge by focusing narrowly on the
prison system, rather than counting all of the people employed in the criminal justice
bureaucracy. According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of
Statistics in 2006, the U.S. spent a record $185 billion for police protection, detention, judicial,
and legal activities in 2003. Adjusting for inflation, these figures reflect a tripling of justice
expenditures since 1982. The justice system employed almost 2.4 million people in 2003—58
percent of them at the local level and 31 percent at the state level. If four out of five people
were released from prisons, far more than a million people could lose their jobs.

There is also the private-sector investment to consider. Prisons are big business and have
become deeply entrenched in America’s economic and political system. Rich and powerful
people, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, have invested millions in private prisons.
They are deeply interested in expanding the market—increasing the supply of prisoners—not
eliminating the pool of people who can be held captive for a profit.

from The New Jim Crow

#16  The New Jim Crow             Go Back

我对mass incarceration是绝对反对。前段时间斯坦福大学那个强奸犯好象只在牢房里呆了几个月。他要是非裔,大概不会如此。


#17  Re: The New Jim Crow             Go Back

查了一下,The New Jim Crow 一书中文译作《新吉姆•克劳时代:色盲时代的大规模监禁》。应该已有中文版,但网上找不到中文pdf。 很想译了放在网上,可惜没闲。

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