In fall 2014 I was apart of the course Hip Hop and Incarceration at Pitzer taught by Anthony Francoso. In this class we used Michelle Alexander’s novel, “The New Jim Crow” as a framework for much of our class discussions as well as a method of looking at the prison industrial complex. Part of the course was going inside Norco state prison and having class with some of the men there. While being inside the prison I was able to see how true Michelle Alexander’s words are. Much of why I am taking this course is because I was to continue to work with neglected communities as well as try to illustrate and teach other people about the way the United States prison system truly functions. I think its amazing that Ted included Michelle Alexander in their talks because due to their popularity I think what she discusses can reach more people who perhaps might have not previously thought much of mass incarceration.

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3 responses »

  1. cvillene6052 says:

    I was also glad to see TED’s endorsement of Michelle Alexander’s voice and work. I also thought it was interesting, though, that Michelle Alexander used the TED talk platform, which has been criticized for maintaining elitist boundaries around important, country-wide issues. It’s true that it reaches a huge audience, but at the same time, just looking in the audience at the talk itself, most everyone was white.

  2. mollyhaas16 says:

    I’m curious how people feel about this Ted Talk if there hasn’t already been a fire ignited — if they hadn’t, for example, been in a prison and taken a class on the whole system, or worked with something like Crossroads here in Claremont that helps incarcerated women get back on their feet. I’m curious if videos like this one have the ability to truly ignite a fire inside people or if it has to be a much more enveloping, 3-D, personal experience.

  3. I think more than every racism is not as explicit as it used to be which is why I believe society is constantly being plagued with this color-blind mentality. Most of the white supremacy, racism, and anti-blackness I have experienced is institutional, and it is very discouraging to me that big, white, corporations have the power to change but they won’t because of the money they are making, and the institution definitely isn’t allowing for different types of people to be running those corporations any time soon.

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