Date of Dialogue: 9-5-12
Description: We covered a great deal of ground during this conversation with Michelle sharing background from her internationally acclaimed bestseller The New Jim Crow, personal insights and motivators for her in her work, and her belief that restorative justice provides a powerful solution to many of the problems we currently face. This dialogue is packed with stats, facts, and inspiring all the way through.
Brief Bio: Michelle Alexander is an internationally-renowned author and lawyer. Her most recent book, The New Jim Crow, has gained global acclaim for its pinpointing of the very real yet hushed critical issue of racial profiling and mass incarceration. She has been featured in major media worldwide, including Moyers & Company, NPR’s Fresh Air, CNN, and many others.
Quotes/Highlights from Transcript:
“It wasn’t long into that work (with the ACLU Racial Justice Project) that I realized that even I, someone who cared a lot about racial injustice and thought that I knew a lot about our criminal justice system, that I was deeply misguided and in a lot of denial about the way in which our criminal justice system wasn’t just in need of reform but had become the primary vehicle for creating and sustaining racial inequality in our time.” (10:08)
“I think that what I’ve come to see and understand better in recent years is that the American dream is just not real for millions of Americans and its not a matter of not trying.” (15:45)
“It (restorative justice) is definitely not a pipedream. I’m so encouraged by the movement that is growing around restorative and transformative justice. I think that one of the reasons why it’s such a crucial part of the work to end mass incarceration and to break this cycle of caste like systems in America is because it helps provide an answer to, well, if we don’t have prisons, if prisons aren’t the answer then what, what are we going to do about the harms and people affected. I think there is kind of real harm that has to be acknowledged and addressed. People do violate each other’s rights, commit real crimes against each other that cause pain and suffering in our communities.” (55:29)
Michelle’s full bio: http://newjimcrow.com/about-the-author
More about The New Jim Crow: newjimcrow.com
Michelle’s joint interview on Moyers & Company with Bryan Stephenson (jus
t below) of the Equal Justice Institute):