Why Mark Zuckerberg wants everyone to read 'The New Jim Crow'
Zuckerberg's book club, A Year of Books, has focused on big ideas that influence society and business. For his tenth selection, he chose a book, "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander, relevant to the current discussion on race relations within the legal system in the US.
Alexander is a law professor at Ohio State University and a civil rights advocate. She argues in her book that the "war on drugs" has fostered a culture in which non-violent black males are overrepresented in prison, and then are treated as second-class citizens once they are freed.
As director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Racial Justice Project in Northern California, the New York Times reported she "opened her eyes to the extent of the lifelong exclusion many offenders face, including job discrimination, elimination from juries and voter rolls, and even disqualification from food stamps, public housing and student loans."
"It's easy to be completely unaware that this vast new system of racial and social control has emerged," Alexander told the Times. "Unlike in Jim Crow days, there were no 'Whites Only' signs. This system is out of sight, out of mind."
Zuckerberg explains his latest book-club pick on his personal Facebook page:
This social justice book outlines the many ways the US criminal justice system discriminates against minorities, disadvantages them and prevents everyone from having equal opportunity.
I've been interested in learning about criminal justice reform for a while, and this book was highly recommended by several people I trust.
"The New Jim Crow" became a surprise bestseller when it was first published in 2012, and is currently the No. 1 seller in Amazon's criminology book section.
"A Year of Books" so far:
- "The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn?t What It Used to Be" by Moisés Naím
- "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined" by Steven Pinker
- "Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets" by Sud hir Venkatesh
- "On Immunity: An Inoculation" by Eula Biss
- "Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration" by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
- "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" by Thomas S. Kuhn
- "Rational Ritual: Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge" by Michael Chwe
- "Dealing with China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower" by Henry M. Paulson
- "Orwell's Revenge: The 1984 Palimpsest" by Peter Huber
- "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" by Michelle Alexander