What are the principal criticisms of the 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander?

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Critics from the far left have claimed The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness supports the status quo by using a mainstream, white, middle-class theoretical framework and have dismissed it as a "white liberal consumer product." Joseph Osel, for example, claims that the author's language "misleads its readers, mystifying and obscuring the true coordinates of the problem" in order to hide the author's deeper allegiance to the current power structure. Careening from initial enthusiasm to outright rejection, these critics dismiss The New Jim Crow as "white capitalist bourgeoisie rhetoric, dressed-up as black social concern."

These critics suggest the book provides a cathartic release for white liberals without threatening the "oppressive hegemonic assumptions" of capitalism; a word the book fails to mention. The New Jim Crow, they claim, excludes the work of radical black thinkers and black power advocates. These left-wing critiques often reflect the basic assumptions of neo-Marxism, Critical Race Theory, or neo-Gramscianism.

Another principle critique is the argument that Alexander fundamentally misdiagnoses the incarceration epidemic as stemming from the war on drugs. The book Locked In, for example, points out that drug offenders are only a small minority of the prison population, and that the majority of those drug offenders are in prison for violent crime.

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In The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander reveals how the modern day prison system in the U.S. systemically oppresses African Americans, inflicting upon many a caste system that permanently relegates them to a lower class. A high proportion of black men in urban areas are either currently imprisoned or hold criminal records, a status which deprives them of the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury; it also affects education, employment, and housing opportunities. Alexander criticizes the justice system as a whole, the prison system in particular, and asserts that large-scale campaigns such as the War on Drugs unfairly target African Americans and impede justice. Although Jim Crow laws were banished in the 1960s, the system of segregation and oppression has simply reformed itself into the current prison system rather than disappearing altogether. This is evident through statistics cited in the book, including the fact that African Americans are convicted at disproportionately high rates compared to their white counterparts, allowing a system of legalized discrimination to disrupt black lives in what Michelle Alexander shows to be a modernized version of Jim Crow subjugation.

I'm interpreting this question to refer to the principal criticisms highlighted by Michelle Alexander in the The New Jim Crow, rather than criticisms of the book by readers. I hope the information is helpful as you delve into the subject matter, and I'm including a link below to the feedback page on the book's website, in case you are actually searching for reader responses.

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