Opening the Cradle to Prison Pipeline -- The Newest Jim Crow

Monday, April 15, 2013

In her brilliant book, The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander makes a compelling argument that young men of color in America are the victims of systemic and systematic racism, resulting in mass incarceration: the de facto 21st century version of the Jim Crow laws in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The most recent education news provides alarming indications that the "pipeline" from early childhood neglect to young adult incarceration is disappearing.

I don't suggest that the problem is going away. Quite to the contrary. We're simply skipping the intermediate steps of school segregation, racial profiling, economic injustice and neglected neighborhoods and sending young black children directly into the penal system. This may be slightly hyperbolic, but the latest manifestations of so-called "educational reform" are schools that might as well be prisons. It is a national shame.

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