by Loïc Wacquant
Is America's emerging prison state a revival or an extension of slavery? Is it "a New Jim Crow"? Or is it something arising out of those experiences, but significantly different, a brand new phase in the history of African America? Historian Loic Wacquant here argues that America's reliance upon prison as the principal way of dealing with the black poor marks a qualitatively new stage in the Black experience. First, he says, there was slavery, then Southern rural segregation, followed by the enclosure of the northern ghetto, which has now been succeeded by the world's first carceral state. Like slavery, Jim Crow and the ghetto, prison has come to define for many of us what it is to be Black in America.