Do you ever wonder if many of us have been brainwashed into believing that impoverished Blacks, men in particular, are solely to blame for much of the problems we face as a community? Civil rights lawyer and scholar Michelle Alexander’s tireless research indicated just that, as well as a heartbreaking ton of additional facts that are outlined in her latest book, The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

In the midst of a thriving law career, Ms. Alexander described an awakening of sorts. Rather than remaining an agent of ‘the game,’ she followed her instinct which led her to detect a larger, more sinister modus operandi of the criminal justice system that looked a lot like Jim Crow for the new millennium. According to Alexander’s findings, many of the tenets of the Jim Crow regime of the not-so-distant past are now accepted as fully legal  - “felon disenfranchisement laws” as she coins it.

Last year we looked at the staggering statistic revealing that more African American adults are under correctional control (in prison, jail, probation or parole) today  than were enslaved in the 1850 – a decade before the Civil War began. Additionally, in 2004 more black men were disenfranchised than in the year 1870. Alexander explains with sobering clarity, that when it comes to the war on drugs & the mass incarceration of black men, the criminal “justice” system is creating an under caste – not to be mistaken with under class. A caste, as she illustrates, is defined as a group of people defined largely by race that are relegated to permanent second class status by law.

During a speech at Riverside Church in New York City, the civil rights activist exposed what she called the biggest myth about mass incarceration: It is not driven by crime rates. In her words, Our prison population quintupled in 30 yrs, from 350,000 to well over 2 mil for reasons that have little to do with crime or crime rates. Crime rates have fluctuated over the years while the prison population (especially African American) continues to soar… Crime and prison population rates move independently of each other.”

As a matter of fact, Alexander claimed emphatically that there are more people in prison today, just for drug convictions, than were incarcerated for all reasons in 1980. Drug convictions have increased by more than 1000% since the war on drugs began. Incidentally, this battle has been disproportionately fought in poor communities of color – although it’s a proven fact that black and brown folks are no more likely to use or sell drugs than any other group.

Apparently there are many benefits arresting youth of color. For one, as Alexander explained, “federal funds flow to those state & local law enforcement agencies that boost dramatically the sheer number of people swept into the system.” The emphasis is does not lie with bringing to justice king pins or violent offenders (quantity not quality). The ‘war on drugs’ won public support in large part due to a massive propaganda effort kicked off by the Regan Administration which developed a ‘task force’ to publicize/demonize early victims of the crack era such as “inner city” crack babies, crack dealers, crack whores & crack related violence “in the hopes of making crack a media sensation.” This act, Ms. Alexander said, provided the rationale for these agencies to receive millions of taxpayer funds to carry out the fight.

As her findings indicate a collage of misery, an interesting fact is uncovered that paints black men of this caste in a positive light:

Although a black child born today is less likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born during slavery she cited a study studies that have found that black fathers that have lived outside of the home (including formerly incarcerated dads), are more likely to be a part of their children’s lives more than any other group.

It’s not a new revelation. In fact, her claim (& that of Michael Eric Dyson) that contradicts the enduring stereotype of the absentee black father was published in the HuffPo 2 years ago – and expanded on in more than one of her enlightening lectures.

Bearing witness to endless debates on who’s to blame for the deterioration of the community, doesn’t it always seem to come down to black men (despite a national law enforcement presence which demonstrates a low regard for folks of color)? Can the work of scholars like Michelle Alexander have a positive effect how we perceive the most troubled in our community, or can we expect more of the same?

Dig Ms. Alexander at Harlem’s Riverside Church…

And on Democracy Now

  • Tonton Michel

    Great research by Alexander and the author of this article for pointing this out. I am afraid that this will fall on deaf ears in a country that is now making money on the incarceration of POC. I hope the book includes solutions and a plan of attack against the justice system.

  • Toppin (Formerly Known As Just Sayin’)

    Cut black men some slack??? How about cutting black men off completely!?!

    Stop coddling black men and HOLD them responsible for THEIR ACTIONS.

    It ain’t the white man. It ain’t the system. It IS them.

    I read this book some time ago and it was one of the most ridiculous books I’ve ever read.

    This author actually advocates for CRIMINALS as opposed to doing what the black community should have done a long time ago: abandon them in the criminal justice system.

    Black women like her make me sick.

    Then she goes on to say that these individuals should be able to get foodstamps and other benefits provided by TAXPAYERS.

    Let me get this straight: You break the law, become a convicted felon, ignore society’s social contract yet the taxpayers should pay for your groceries??? I think not.

    “Bearing witness to endless debates on who’s to blame for the deterioration of the community, doesn’t it always seem to come down to black men (despite a national law enforcement presence which demonstrates a low regard for folks of color)? “

    And doesn’t it always seem to be the truth!

    No doubt…the hoodrat population has played a part in this mess too, but let’s be real here…as someone who works in the criminal justice system…and someone who KNOWS most of the young men in the criminal justice system aren’t coming from a fatherless background (yes, it is true…at least here in Georgia…stop spreading the myth…as this article points out)…I can safely say black men’s poor leadership as men is what got the black community in this hole.

    These “men” aren’t out here trying to get drug dealers out of their community. Instead they BEFRIEND THEM! Protect them! If not for law enforcement, the law, the white man, whatever, black urban communities across this country would STILL be riddled by gang warfare, crack houses and crack cocaine.

    I’m here to tell you delusion people that the “war on drugs” was REAL and it was not a “war” on innocent people! It was a war on the filth taking up space in poor black communities. We should be HAPPY to get rid of these CRIMINALS.

    I mean what does it say when black boys WITH fathers are ending up in jail/prison? That is what I saw when I was working in corrections. And most of them weren’t in there for “small” non-violent crimes either.

    I blame black men for their destruction. Forgetting cutting them some slack…I say cut them off.

  • Toppin (Formerly Known As Just Sayin’)

    Last year we looked at the staggering statistic revealing that more African American adults are under correctional control (in prison, jail, probation or parole) today than were enslaved in the 1850 – a decade before the Civil War began.

    I just wonder…when people write/repeat the above statement do they ever think about the reality that there are MORE African American adults living in this country now than there were in 1850???

    With that said it makes perfectly good sense why there are more African Americans NOW under correctional control than there were enslaved in 1850.

    If I’m not mistaken, post civil war, there were only a little over 4 million black people in this country. It was probably a little less than that in 1850. Compare that to today with a population said to be a little over 40 million.

  • Wow!

    Thank you Clutch for posting this. I will be picking up this book during my lunch break to day. Of course despite this ladies credentials someone nincompoop with motive other than healing and improvement of black people will try to debate the reality that is painted here. Great work expanding the discussion.

  • JoJo

    @ Toppin

    Well said!

  • apple

    These comments gone be good! *grabs popcorn and comes back in an hour*

  • I got sense!

    You raised some very good points and I have to say that while I don’t believe we should cut black men off all together I definitely can’t cut them any slack either.

    As you pointed out, there are lots of people who had a two parent upbringing (married or not) and the kids still end up in jail. I think the main thing that people are forgetting is that it’s apart of life. Everyone can’t be CEO, everyone can’t be a business owner, everyone can’t go to college. And please understand when I say “can’t” I mean they don’t have the desire, determination, self discipline, and control to do it. Every has the opportunity and ability but not everyone wants to take it. I don’t feel sorry for them. They made their choice. 50 years ago I would have sympathy because we were still trying to get basic rights but today in 2012 with computers and the entire world at your fingertips there is NO EXCUSE! They can post videos on youtube of fights but can’t google after school program, library, community center, low income programs? Sure, they can but they don’t want to that. I know some will probably say it’s the parents fault. Kids aren’t going to choose to do that. WRONG! High school kids are planning for college and they are just as young and immature. Kids get on the internet and do some of the dumbest stuff. Use the same tool to google job, youth camps, etc. They know better they just don’t want to do it.

    Some people want to get money but don’t want to have to listen, follow rules, adhere to a hierarchy (meaning you have a supervisor you can’t talk to them any kind of way and be disrespectful), work their way up the ladder, pay dues, etc. They want it quick and fast. I know there are people in jail who genuinely got caught up, as in wrong place wrong time (I know a couple people who got locked up by just being in the same car as someone who had just robbed a lady and had no idea but was in the car when the police caught them), falsely accused and set up but the MAJORITY of black men in jail are in there because they broke the law. Whether someone chooses to have sympathy for them, cut them some slack or cut them off all together the facts remain the same. If you commit a crime you are going to jail/prison and in a society where black people but especially men are hated it seems to me that you would do the opposite of what they wanted you to do. Now they literally are slaves and are treated like animals. They voluntarily made themselves slaves of the system. No one caught them or sold them like our ancestors. It’s just that simple and these men knew this BEFORE they broke the law so they decided what future they wanted by the choices they made. I can’t have any sympathy for them.

  • Rastaman

    “He, who controls the present, controls the past. He, who controls the past, controls the future.” George Orwell

    So few of people of color know enough about the history of race in America that they are prone to believe whatever propaganda they are fed as to why the mass of Black people are in the social and economical positions they currently hold. There is no understanding of the social, legal and economical forces that are engaged in a concerted effort to maintain a de facto racist society.

    The wonderful thing about historical perspective is that it allows viewers to see beyond their own experience. One of the drawbacks of youth is that you are often convinced that what you see is what it is….works like The New Jim Crow allows us to better connect the dots and hopefully grasp how the world is working to make us less equal. This is a scholarly work that exposes what is happening in our community when we start by having the police arrest six year olds on our schools because of a tantrum. We are acting as cogs in a system that is dedicated to the further disenfranchisement of our communities through their zero tolerance, mandatory minimums, three strikes and other draconian laws designed to criminalize our youth and weaken our communities.

    The late August Wilson in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone alludes to the “peonage” history that many Blacks in the South experienced during Jim Crow. It is effectively been re-created in 21st century America.

  • Yb

    *Sigh* just another post for people to vent.

  • Dreaming

    Yea, no thanks. I won’t be cutting anyone any slack.

  • lovelygirl

    Toppin, sad to say, but I agree with you. Of course, all bm are not a lost cause, but too many are. And too many arent trying to change. The black community has no protection. Our women and children are like sheep living in lions’ dens. Bw are the heads and it wasnt meant to be this way.

    Im not married to a bm and when asked by bm and bw why I explain, as tasteful as possible, that I was/am no longer attracted to bm because too many have criminal backgrounds; are baby daddies; or dont have the ability (mentally and/or financially) to properly raise a family. For my husband, being the provider, protector, and a MAN comes easy to him.

    As a teacher, I find that most troubled black boys do come from fatherless homes. With mothers who have given up. And I am a firm believer that mothers can not raise boys to men.

    Concerning this article, the book, I a gree with Toppin, she’s just another person who wants to shift the blame. Also like many of our black ”leaders” sigh

  • grateful

    didn’t read the article, just came here for the comments…

  • QueenOfCastle

    In the interest of fairness, all the excuses makers for black women will be here for black men too.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    there is a multi billion dollars prison industry based on the incarceration of people of colour……

  • jamesfrmphilly

    it is the justice industry…….look at it that way and you will understand

  • jamesfrmphilly

    you ladies are very sad. such self hate is a shame.

  • Toppin (Formerly Known As Just Sayin’)


    Self-hate my arse…this ish ain’t self-hate…It’s called common freakin sense.

    Go sit your old arse down somewhere old man. Everybody that’s black ain’t your friend!

  • Yulez

    @ lovelygirl, cosign 110%

  • QueenOfCastle


    Im going to assume you are a black woman. Somene gave you a chance in spite of too many black women being fat, single mothers, bad attitudes having hood rats, with tattoos on their neck. Why cant you judge the black man as an individual when the state of black women wasnt held against you? Be fair.

  • Dreaming

    The ‘self-hate’ argument is tired and lame!

  • lovelygirl

    @ jamesfrmphilly

    how about the bm who self hate to the extent that they are not taking care of their children, selling drugs in our community, and in and out of jail so much doing a life sentence on installment plans

  • Trinasobad

    I think the Michelle Alexander has a valid point. It’s all about FAIRNESS. Yes black men are breaking the law and they are not the only ones but still the system caters to the incarceration of blacks and browns. After being in the system you become a permanent second class citizen with limited opportunities. So what do you do? You go black to doing what got you in the system in the first place. The system breeds more of the same instead of “rehabilitation”. No one is excusing the criminal acts. Break the law w/money and you get probation. Break the law w/brown skin and you get the max.

  • lovelygirl


    I know that all bm arent dead weight. But too many are. Is it 50%, 35%, or 20%, I dont know. But too many arent being the men we need. Too many lack an education and the ability to maintain a family. I can also say too many bw have effed up, as well. Im not making this up. How am I not being fair? I made it clear that all are not screw ups

  • tisme

    @Toppin I have to thank you for your post.As someone who came from a predominantly black neighborhood and actually had to live there,unlike the people saying cut black criminals some slack,I thank you for being on the side of innocent black people.

    Many of us decent, non-violent, hardworking, going to school to get our educations, black people have been in a position where we could NOT afford to leave our communities for good due to an increase in crime and sometimes violence.

    The only people there to protect us were the police.
    The reason why the neighborhoods became so violent and crime ridden was due to people cutting black criminals some slack.

    There were hardworking good people who had men who were criminals in their families and they allowed those men to live with them trying to help them out and they brought crime and violence to our community as a result.

    People who have the luxury to live in communities where most of the people don’t commit crime and certainly not violent crime should NOTeven be allowed to speak on the issue in my opinion.

    Once those men are out of jail those men likely won’t be living in their neighborhood.

  • QueenOfCastle

    A lot of half truths going around. Statisically and this is based on longitudinal studies and not anecdotal evidence from having worked in a corrections facilities, men with residential fathers have considerablly less crime rates than men with absent non residential fathers. Thats not even a debate. This meme being pushed by some black women that black men are hopeless criminally inclined is not backed up by evidence.

    Considering the incarceration rate of black men young and old, they are paying dearly for their mistakes and paying far more than say a white man who commits the same offence.

    Have no fear ladies, within the coming decades there will be a browning of the prison population because the Hispanics will play this drug game for keeps. Black men will be pushed out like they were pushed out from other employment opportunities by the influx of cheap labor.

    Lastly, it is a rather novel idea to provide income support to non violent drug offenders to get themselve son their feet. We give it to struggling single mothers dont we and lets face it, the detrimental affects on society caused by raising children in a poor one parent one is far worse than selling drugs to a consenting adult. They do that in many countries in Europe.

  • tisme

    We also cannot forget that black men do not return favors very often.There is no need to be anything but indifferent towards the majority of them because even if the black male criminal does rehabilitate it does not mean that he will be of benefit to black women in any beneficial way.

    I also think, as Queen of New Castle stated, that many black women have their own issues to overcome.I think the energies of black women would be best focused on bettering themselves and finding new allies and developing working relationships with people that matter.

  • tisme

    I think you’re being facetious.Black women don’t need to waste time making excuses for black men.We are not here to make excuses for them.We are NOT advocates for black men in the same way YOU are not advocates for us.

    With all the issues some black women have there time would be better spent working on themselves and bettering their lives.Black men can make excuses for themselves or do whatever.We don’t have to do that.

  • iQgraphics

    if the majority of black children are raised in single parent (mother) households, whose to blame?

  • Anon

    Toppin’ I’m doing a holy dance right here right now. I just CAN’T with some of this. Bill Cosby was right about the poundcake. I wish more parents had taken note.

  • Anon

    “if the majority of black children are raised in single parent (mother) households, whose to blame?” —————-> In any FUNCTIONAL community, folks would look first for the father to protect and provide, so… take it for what you will.

  • tisme

    “lets face it, the detrimental affects on society caused by raising children in a poor one parent one is far worse than selling drugs to a consenting adult”

    I don’t know if this is true.I say this as a person that lived in a community that had drug addicts and dealers.The issue was far reaching and it touched the lives of EVERYBODY in the neighborhood.

    Not to mention the fact that MOST dope dealers are 90% of the time NOT ONLY dope dealers but many of them have OTHER issues and are altogether LAWLESS.

    I knew many drug dealers that were verbally and physically abusive to EVERYONE they encountered.They also carried illegal firearms to threaten people that were NOT even into drugs or any kind of crime for that matter.Some were pedophiles as well.

    Not to mention the fact that the drug dealers sold the poison that caused many women to become single mothers in the first place.Their husbands,kids fathers were out trying to score crack couldn’t keep a job due to addiction etc.Or those women themselves did drugs causing them to lose everything including their children.Not to mention people stealing from loved ones and stores to support the addiction etc.

    Then all the innocent lives lost,babies born to fathers and/or mothers that were addicts and we know that a man’s semen is affected by his lifestyle so even if the mother wasn’t a user the fathers health affected the baby.Plus higher taxes hiring EXTRA police officers and city workers that would have not been needed had it not been for the dealers in the neighborhood.

    I don’t know who cost us more but your comment is evidence that black women have enough stuff on their own plate to worry about rather than pardoning black men for whatever crimes that they more likely than not committed against someone black.

    MORE IMPORTANTLY it can also be argued that black women giving black men chances,along with very low expectations of black men, is what has so many black women as single mothers and the black community in the situation it is in.

    A lot of women who thought men could change are now single parents or have experienced abuse with men who have a deadbeat,criminal history, and/or a violent past.

    I think telling black women to give black men another chance increases the chance of those women being victimized by a black man.

  • Anon

    While I know it is fun to tease Queen (still rolling over a man picking a woman’s identity on the internet but whateves), you do realize he’s full of crap right?

  • QueenOfCastle


    Because it is arrogant as heck, thats why. For all the ills of black men, it isnt him on TV crying about not having a mate. Its black women. The ironic thing about you excluding black men from your dating pool because of stereotpes is that its black women who suffer the most exclusion- intra-racially and inter-racially. So get off your high horse.

  • Rastaman

    They can’t hear you bossman. Being black does not make them immune to the propoganda of the violent black male predator.

    What they don’t seem to understand is that Black females had an imprisonment rate nearly three times that of white females.The number of female prisoners rose at a faster rate (4.8 percent) then the number of male prisoners (2.7 percent). The percent increase in female prisoners was almost twice that of male prisoners.

    There is a finite number of black males to be incarcerated and black women are already being targeted by the system.

  • http://themodernmedicineman d-rhyme

    Facts. You call black men criminals. Well. Who killed. off the natives? Robbed blacks of
    labor. Stole this land. Raped your female ancestors. Drug dealing from necessity does not compare. I suggest some of you just turn in your black race card. You are an
    abomination to the human race not just the black one. God has punishment for those with no compassion for victims of brutal social conditions. I promise no heart will lead to a loss of heart – that is death.

  • QueenOfCastle


    “In any FUNCTIONAL community, folks would look first for the father to protect and provide, so… take it for what you will.”

    In a functional community women dont have kids by non husbands so…take it for what you will.

  • QueenOfCastle


    Youre completely off topic. Also, I never told black women to get hot in the pants for dope boys. The status and tax free money does all that.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    the system of white supremacy hates on us all………..

  • jamesfrmphilly

    the system of white supremacy hates all black people.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    the amount of self hate on here is shameful

  • Tonton Michel

    Your right it is no longer separate industries operating independently of each other, there all tied together. Law enforcement, justice system, prison system, and the law makers. All have created cycle where they profit off the incarceration of the poor and people of color. Its a four headed monster that feeds off what it sows.

  • iQgraphics

    hey @james
    I blame the language used in this post.
    There are passive and negative connotations with “cutting slack” and “placing blame”
    What needs to be engaged is a fundamental understanding of cause and effect.

    The institution of certain laws were placed to effect a certain group of people to render them impoverished, powerless and/or fearful.

    Some have overcome the struggles due to an understanding of the system, some are brainwashed and fear the government and the systems placed upon us.

    The language in this post breeds discontent. We should not feel sorry or cut slack to the black man and we should not blame the system.

    I offer not blaming the system because it is what it is. it was set by the powers that be. Don’t blame it. Understand it. Use it to arm yourselves with knowledge on how to get over, around, through and eventually demand a new path.

  • Anon

    AGAIN, NAMI is a wonderful organization dedicated to mental illness. I hope that you reach the point where pretending to be a woman is not your main source of crying out to the world.

  •!/clnmike Tonton Michel

    “There is a finite number of black males to be incarcerated and black women are already being targeted by the system.” Thats because the systems goal has been to profit and subjugate the populace. To move from that to eradication you have to target women, they hold the history, they produce the population they hold the community together. To kill off any culture you have to go after women.

  • Dreaming

    “The greatest benefit will be that there will no longer be any black children born out of wedlock.”

    You’re right. There will just be more biracial children born out-of-wedlock to Black fathers.

  •!/clnmike Tonton Michel

    Oh yeah the language was definitely throwing blood in the water for the usual sharks. Got to wonder about the author’s intent.

  • Dreaming

    Black women, don’t cut Black men any slack. You don’t owe them a damn thing!

  • Kacey

    All this in-fighting between black men and black women reminds me of that Twilight Zone episode where there’s a blackout in a neighborhood, someone spreads a rumor that the blackout was caused by an alien invading the community and then hysteria breaks out as neighbor turns against neighbor – accusing each other of being “it” (i.e the alien) – and the community is destroyed. Meanwhile, the real aliens are standing at a distance watching the whole thing marveling at how little it took to get the whole thing started.

    I Wish I remembered the title of the episode because many of you need to watch it. Then again, you probably still wouldn’t get it.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    the system of white supremacy hates all black people and has set us up to fight each other. divide and conquer, willie lynch. the most radical thing that any black person can do is to stop hating themselves, stop hating black people and see the matrix for what it is.

    don’t hate the player hate the game.

  • Kacey

    Found it! It’s called “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”
    Thank you, Google! :)

  •!/clnmike Tonton Michel

    So whats this called? Trolls Are Due on Bitter Lane?

  • Elegance

    Yawn. Maybe if you weren’t carrying drugs then you wouldn’t have been arrested…no personal responsibility. Yes you are an innocent person carrying drugs that YOU KNOW ARE ILLEGAL but it’s not your fault you were thrown in jail…Maybe I should drive drunk, get caught, and blame the police for locking me up….

  • jamesfrmphilly

    police plant drugs and put innocent people in prison.

  • African Mami

    @ j-philly

    Oh mi gooooshhh!!!! Hey booooo. Meet me @ the train station Friday 2:00p.m. We gon have us some fruits, nuts, grains and veggies and then some gooood loving!!!!!!! MUAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  • Dreaming

    Cut the bullsh@t, James!

    I remember this one time I was in the city, waiting on a bus stop when I overheard a Black guy tell his friend, “Yo, we should rob a nigga!” The friend disagreed to the plan, so the friend who suggested committing the crime then changed his tune about it not being right.

    Another time, several years ago while on a bus, I heard two young Black men talking with each other about how they both would do two years in jail for a million dollars and what they would do with the money once they got out.

    I had an old friend who told me he sold dust and weed on the side because he didn’t want to “live off of a female”.

    I don’t want to hear sh@t about cutting Black men slack when they so easily put themselves in a position to get locked up!

  • jamesfrmphilly

    “I remember this one time I was in the city”

    i live in the city. i ride the bus most days. i have never heard such a comment.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    the level of black self hate on here is stunning.

  • Dreaming

    So because YOU have never heard a comment like that, it didn’t/doesn’t happen? I heard the comment when I was on a bus stop in the state that I live in.

  • Dreaming

    What is stunning, James, is the inability for you to contribute anything worthwhile to this topic and repeating the same sentence under every comment.

  • LemonnLime

    I saw that one! It was crazy! That Twlight Zone is on it sometimes for real.

  • Chic Noir

    I got sense! for comment made at 10:19am

    I got your point, well said!

  • Chic Noir

    You better bring a helmet and Vaseline because it’s probably going to get ruff up in here too.

  •!/clnmike Tonton Michel

    “What is stunning, James, is the inability for you to contribute anything worthwhile……”

    You got to be kidding, really?

    You the Queen of irrelevant comments were nothing ever pertains to you are calling James out?

    You just sat up in here broad brushing black men off of what you heard on a public bus as if that is the place to be to find definitive authority on how black men think. A BUS!

    Dude is being nice by not responding to you.

  • Dreaming

    There is no ‘broad brushing black men’ when I, and many other people can go down a list of the behaviors and attitudes that are consistently displayed by Black men no matter the environment.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    @Dreaming : i am certain that you do hear voices……

  • jamesfrmphilly

    ok, go down the list please……get it off your chest

  • Whatever


    You are absolutely right!

  •!/TheKMichel K. Michel

    “There is no ‘broad brushing black men’ when I, and many other people can go down a list of the behaviors and attitudes that are consistently displayed by Black men no matter the environment.”

    Something tells me that isn’t going to be the “happy” kind of list…

  • Whatever

    It’s hilarious how many articles on here have black women demanding respect and crying out about being treated unfairly for simply being a black woman (whether it be not getting into a club, being excluded form a tv show or being called fat in the media) however, here the tables have turned and many are doing the exact same thing to black men.

    -Not ALL black men are dogs, deadbeat dads, drug dealers etc.

    -Not ALL black women are, loud, angry, baby mamas, obese etc.

    We can’t constantly complain about the media not giving us a break and then turn around and attack black men when one article states the same thing. Don’t fall into the trap…

  • Guulo

    Very important topic about civil rights and the undoubtable racial caste system in this country that overwhelmingly targets black men. Michelle Alexander is a brilliant woman. I am so glad that this work is out there for people to become informed. I read the book and have listened to her talks. Enlightening research to highlight this system of control.

  • Alexandra

    Some of these comments….:-/

    I don’t like the victim meme some Black people (men and women) like to push. I do believe there needs to be thorough investigation on the disproportionate number of Blacks affected by the system. After all these years this doesn’t even seem to be a concern to many Americans, and people rather believe that Blacks are just more inclined to criminal activity instead of questioning the motives of the criminal justice system. This misconception harms all Black people, male and female.

    So I applaud Ms. Alexander for trying to bring light to this issue. No, I’m not going to ignore that there are indeed criminals among the innocents. But the constant fear a lot of Blacks have about this ‘system’ has also bred a new-found code that harms many Black communities even more. Despite all of these conspiracy theories, why has no one mentioned trying educate more Black people about these risks? Educating

  • http://themodernmedicineman d-rhyme

    Dreaming is white. White supremacist at that

  • H

    I’m glad many of the repliers have sense. It’s the system rigged against us that is putting so many men of color in jail. *sarcasm* You know jail and welfare are not free. The man would be glad if we got it together. You all need to get off of that conspiracy. If you haven’t noticed, this country can’t afford to hold us down or rather support us. Taxpayer dollars go towards helping single mothers with food stamps. Housing is provided for low income mothers. Taxpayers have to pay for jail. White cops are the only reason these criminals don’t walk into your manless homes and take everything you have. Y’all need to wake up sometime soon.

    God I must have seen that self-hate comment at least 10 times in the past 2 days. That’s a shaming tactic that black people like to throw at other black people who confront them.

    I have no sympathy for non-productive members of society getting locked up black, white, male, or female. My parents didn’t cut slack for me when I did stupid stuff, and it worked. I grew up knowing there are consequences for bad behavior.

    She’s just another person cuttin’ the rug at the pity party.

  • http://themodernmedicineman d-rhyme

    Toppin and dreaming. The very people you belittle will be your masters soon. GODS
    law. No way you can be that mean and stupid without karma doing its thing. if you so meaness and stupidity that is what you become. Ugly from within begins to be your exterior if thar’s what you show all the time. Beauty likewise starts within.

  • Dreaming

    I guess you know more about me than I do.

  • Toppin (Formerly Known As Just Sayin’)

    Oh shut the phuck up already! Where the hell is this God of yours when you’re out doing wrong???

    Damn us CIVIL MINDED people for demanding that CRIMINALS not be cut any slack…after all how much slack are these people cutting society???

    Again shut the phuck up!

  • binks

    Agreed! I do believe that the wording was wrong for the article but the message and information is reasonable and very enlightening. As someone who used to major in criminal justice, I sat through a lot of lectures, seminars and listened to a lot of professionals within the CJ system (and not just black) talk about race and the America Justice system. I must be clear I’m NOT advocating for turning a blind eye towards people who commit crimes or “cutting them slack”, especially in our neighborhoods, but the fact is that the system is stacked against black and brown people despite if the crime is a misdemeanor or capital offense. And guess what T.P.T.B already knows this, it isn’t a secret or conspiracy, but they don’t care because their people aren’t getting marginalized by the system so why should they. I think the biggest argument that should be raised is if we are going to arrest people base on x, y and z crimes than why isn’t it FAIR and tough for all people not just for Shawn that is selling crack downtown but for Jim who is selling Meth in the suburbs too. Until the America justice system can address the problems within itself they can suck eggs…shrugs But as my dad always said, as long as we, black men in particularly, have their heads buried in the sand you can’t act surprised when you are railroaded. The rules and game has always been the same just different players pulled up to the table

  • John

    The only way this whole “conspiracy theory” idea that black people get locked up for being black can make sense is if NO ONE EVER EXPLAINED, OR TOLD THEM IT WAS ILLEGAL, TO DO ILLEGAL THINGS. So is that what this woman and everyone else is saying? That black people aren’t aware that selling drugs or burglary or assault are illegal? Because that in and of itself seems racist to me.

    You know the law, you break it, then you face the music, and this is COMING FROM A WHITE GUY, WHO HAS DONE TIME.


    Stop whining, get your act together, and do the right things, and here’s a huge surprise, YOU WON’T BE IN JAIL!!!

    oh and another piece of advice, maybe if your hip hop idols stop making it seem “cool” to be a bad guy, less of these kids would think it was “cool” to be a bad guy.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    there goes the neighborhood………

    when the white racists say the same thing as the self hating blacks that should be a clue.

  • H

    @John – Ah hip hop! Contrary to popular belief among non-blacks, many black people have spoken out about the evils of hip hop. We simply cannot stop artists and studios from producing crap that others will buy. There are black and white people demanding the violent music, and so the record labels supply. We, who care, keep our kids from listening, and that is about all we can do.

    I like to hold people accountable, but there are plenty of studies that show convicted black men are treated differently than convicted white men. Cocaine and meth are treated differently than crack. Studies have shown that an employer would be more likely to employ you with a record than a black man with no record.

    I think most black people definitely know that these men are in jail because they commit crimes, but what she says is important to note.

  • ExpatInSwiss


    I agree. I have several male cousins who are incarcerated and/or have extensive criminal backgrounds. Some were raised in impoverished areas. Others in middle and upper middle class areas. They chose to quit school and commit crimes. While their mothers worked hard and tried desperately to change their behavior, while at the same time blaming police and teachers for their sons’ downfall.

    My family is a prime example of ”raise the daughters, love the sons.” Majority of the women are multiple degree holders, property owners, travel the world. Majority of the men are baby daddies, h.s dropouts, jailbirds. When I was in college, asking for money was like pulling teeth. Have one of the boys get locked out…money for lawyers and bail is available and plentiful. REALLY!!. And Im so sick of hearing the system is to blame. Yes, I do agree that blacks get harsher sentences and that their records spoil their future, but WE know this. So if you make the choice to commit the crime, you have to do the time. We all know that our boys have issues with education, violence, lack of family structure so why do we continue the cycle of productng fatherless homes, impoverishment, etc and expect the govt and others to play their part, but we dont make changes.

    Black women having been holding down the fort and asking out men to take care of us and our children. But at the same time many black women (those educated and otherwise), while crying, ”We need you,” continue to have children and financially take care of the same men who are causing the most harm to our community. Black women dont get a pass either.

  • H

    @jamesfrmphilly – How many times have you used that term “self-hating”? It doesn’t make it true. Just because I don’t throw out the same tired excuses that you and your buddies have been serving up for decades doesn’t mean I hate myself. It means I see through your excuses. Y’all have been saying the same thing for years. Nothing has changed. Obviously your way of doing things isn’t working. It’s time for a new mentality.

  • kay

    After reading the comments all I’ll say is that I am done “caping” for black men in general. Only the few brothers I know are doing positive things in this world and love black people. I listen to rap musicians, athletes, actors and everyday males rush to throw insults at black women in general but then as soon as theyre in trouble who is the first group that they run to for support? Same black women they crapped on.

    Black men have to stand up for themselves and make changes amongst themselves. It is like how you keep defending a child who does bad things — does he ever learn, or does he just get spoiled and start having a sense of entitlement? Black women must stop rushing to the defense of black men and boys, (esp. while ignoring or throwing blame on black women and girls). Let them work this out on their own.

  • LemonnLime

    I’m gonna have to agree with the other comments. While I know there have been drug policies created to incarnate blacks at a higher number and the justice “system” is thoroughly unfair, that doesn’t negate personal responsibility which seems to be some not just the black community but Americans have a problem with as well. Sure there are those in jail for being at the wrong place at the wrong time and that is very much an issue but let’s not pretend that the majority of these people being locked up did absolutely nothing.

    We ALL know how unfair the system is so why would you be stupid enough to take the chance of getting involved? I have no sympathy for those who know the odds are against and yet they proceed to break the law and endanger their communities all to make a quick buck. It you can post YT videos of fights or you rapping, you can look up jobs, scholarship programs, and other programs to allow you to grow in a productive manner. Both men and women need to take responsibility for the situations they the created for themselves. You sell drugs, you go to jail its real simple. I know poverty this or that. I just have hard time hearing that considering how many of us came from poor or lower income families living in a time where laws stated blacks were 3rd class citizens and some how they managed to overcome all of that so their kids and grandkids could reap the benefits. And we ALL know they had it much harder. I’m not cutting anyone slack or making excuses for anyone that doesnt choose to do better for him or herself.

  • Rastaman

    First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  • Mr Jay

    The book is well researched and brilliant I don’t know why the header-writer phrased it like they did except to use the dog whistle effect.

  • Sabrin

    Great article! I agree wholeheartedly!!

  • LMO85

    I CO-SIGN this message.

  • L

    You know, because of alot of the experiences I have had with Black men, many of them strangers to me, rap and hip hop music, I can admit I am very biased against Black men and try to avoid them as much as possible. Some Black men may not understand or want to believe it, but you all are not women dealing with Black men- This is my experience. I know this about myself and so always have a running argument in my head when I encounter Black men or have to deal with any issue pertaining to them, I being fair, objective,etc. I know my past experiences color how I feel about Black men and how I react to them, including how I react to this article.

    However, If a Black man treats me with respect and kindness I will do the same for him.

    Human nature is human nature…some will never go the criminal route no matter the circumstances and some will take the slightest excuse to rob, rape and murder. Black men are the same. Not excusing but Black people find themselves between a rock and a hard place alot of times….and with all of our myriad issues alot of us seem unable to get a grip on ourselves and our children.

    IMO,the fact is alot of Black people have abdicated their duty as Black people; Meaning, it seems like, no matter where in the world we are, LIFE just happens to us and we are blind sided and left with our mouths open yet again. Dont get me wrong-life is a crapshoot and no one knows what will happen in life and to their life but it seems Black people are always on the outside looking in, we have no safety nets.

    Whites have Europe and America to be powerful and their images are everywhere. Asians have Asia and alot of them who are not successful or feel stifled in America or Europe can go back to Asia and be powerful with their images everywhere in Asia. Indians the same. The difference between them and Blacks is theyve built their infrastructure. Their societies are not perfect and not everyone is happy but their infrastructure is built(they have a financial, mental,supportive,cosmology,etc infrastructure) and can expand and change to suit them. Africans from Africa have some of that but even there they seem to have no safety nets and seem to be on the outside looking in.

    This is magnified for Blacks here and because of our history we seem unable to get a grip. It seems Blacks have nowhere to be POWERFUL! and the good and bad that comes from that. We also seem to be content with that state….which in turn leads to alot of broken homes and communities and people, being prey to the prison industrial complex and crime. We cannot employ or feed ourselves and our people. We seem not to be able to educate, discipline, or have any sort of control over our children….but we can sit and complain and moan about not getting into the club, or not being on that tv show,not having our beauty acknowledged, being thrown in jail, and on and on.

    In short, we have abdicated our duty as Black people; As Africans. We have not built our financial, mental, educational,etc infrastructure; We have no place to be powerful…which leaves us and our children and people prey to everyone and everything.

  • Chic Noir

    Well said L.

    I think it’s important to note that many Blk people don’t really see themselves as part of “the Blk community”. They see themselves as Americans first then Blk second.

  • TheTuth

    “Although a black child born today is less likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born during slavery she cited a study studies that have found that black fathers that have lived outside of the home (including formerly incarcerated dads), are more likely to be a part of their children’s lives more than any other group.”

    No matter how many times this fact is repeated women will always ignore it.

  • Pingback: America's Black Holocaust Museum | Michelle Alexander’s Book May Give New Hope

  • Barbara2

    Based on my own family of what I see in both Georgia and Florida, your comments are so very TRUE.

  • marc

    the fact is, that culturally, both black men and women are involved in, as well as support and enable, some INCREDIBLY DUMB BEHAVIOR. for every weak-minded brother involved in selling drugs, you will find an equally weak-minded sister who will compromise their respect, dignity, and even physical safety, to support and enable this nonsense. lets face it, a young crack dealer in a late model car, will probably get a lot more attention from black women, than the brother who is riding the bus to and from a college campus. also too many black folk want to dress better, eat better, drive better, and live better, than a person who sacrificed 8 years in college, while these same folk, dropped out of high school, and treat any form of educational enhancement like the aids virus. i hear sisters complain like hell about black men, when these same sisters wont cook, wont clean, wont take care of their bodies, and cant keep their legs closed if their lives depended on it. brothers want to beef about black women, and yet, will chase booty calls even while engaged to get “married”. we as a people, have a true disrespect for doing things in a righteous, logical, and dignified manner. we are adults who function on the level of 8 year olds. a child does not always see the pitfalls, or dangers in what they want. they just know that THEY WANT WHAT THEY WANT, WHEN THEY WANT IT. I really don’t know the answer to these issues, but I know that it starts with keeping it REAL with ourselves in regards to our shortcomings.

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