I was reluctant to read “The New Jim Crow” Michelle Alexander's book at first, being incarcerated myself, I thought what could I learn? How much more injustice in America could I stand to ponder and read about. I am living this moment in prison inside a race based lockdown and the courts and system don't care. I know and live inside the mass incarceration of black and brown people, and it's not hidden or a secret. I've lived it first hand as the prison system has grown in California and become more racist, program less, unforgiving and cruel since the nineteen seventies. What could I glean from this book?
Well, immediately, I looked into the mirror and saw and felt every word on each page of her book, and it broke my heart, but not my spirit. I saw how the courts, prosecution, law enforcement, politicians and American media set up this so called war on drugs and crime as a smoke screen for their true intention which was and is the New Jim Crow - - to incarcerate, bog down and enslave as many black and brown people as possible. Thereby marking, branding the young people for life. They may as well had gotten a branded iron and put it on the sides of the youth's faces. Even people who get out of prison physically are set up for failure.
The courts and government don't care if lockdowns or roundups of people of color are based on race and color of skin, it's as welcome as the morning sun. The courts say racism or race based actions are harmless error. Often the courts are saying in essence that if you don't use the word “nigger” out loud or say out loud an action based on race it's fine to lockdown blacks and harass them just because of skin color.
You may not see the hanging trees that line the roads of injustice across America, all the way to the Supreme Court, but hanging from those trees are black men, young and old. When a system of justice is shown over and over again to be racist and unjust and the courts say, well, just a harmless error, and prove it, it is like telling a man with both legs chopped off that they are still there.