Please summarize the article "Drug Policy as Race Policy: Best Seller Galvanizes the Debate" by Jennifer Schuessler.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This article appeared in the New York Times in March of 2012.  You can read its full text at this link.  The article discusses the reaction that a book entitled The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is getting in the United States.  This book was written by Michelle Alexander, a professor of law.

Alexander’s book claims that the American government’s policy on drugs constitutes a new version of the segregation that was once prevalent in the South.  She argues that the number of black men who go to prison is so great that it does a tremendous amount of harm to the black community.  Men who have been imprisoned have a very hard time living regular lives after they get out because of all off the barriers that are set in front of people who have criminal records.  Alexander argues that the drug laws were created at least in part as what the article calls

a deliberate effort to push back the gains of the civil rights movement

The article discusses the way that this message has been received.  It says that Alexander’s message is being well-received even outside the black community.  It says that even conservative whites are being drawn to its message.  This is in part, the author says, because of the high costs of maintaining mass incarceration rates at a time when violent crime is declining.

Overall, then, this article is a summary of Alexander’s argument along with anecdotes that argue that her message is getting through to people outside of the black and liberal segments of the population.

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