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Six Steps Of Nonviolent Social Change Summary

Decent Essays
1. In what sense is Alexander’s book a contribution to nonviolent social change? Michelle Alexander’s book is a contribution to nonviolent social change in the sense that she educates readers about the reality of America’s mass incarceration and racial caste system. According to Martin Luther King Jr’s “Six Steps of Nonviolent Social Change”, the first two steps towards a nonviolent movement are information gathering and education; this is what Alexander achieves through her book. Information gathering is about understanding and collecting all vital information about the issues or injustices facing people or communities. Education focuses on informing others, including your adversary, about the issues; this step is imperative in minimizing…show more content…
Alexander writes, “Few Americans today recognize mass incarceration for what it is: a new caste system thinly veiled by the cloak of colorblindness” (p. 106). Colorblindness is part of the problem, it allows society to believe that racism has been solved, that we are now living in an era in which race does not matter. But race does matter, and it should, to deny it is to disregard an aspect of one’s identity intricately tied to their experience. Alexander writes that in the era of colorblindness, society recognizes racism only in context of explicit racism, such as a hanging noose or a blackface – a deliberate…show more content…
I don’t see race, not even my own. People tell me I’m white and I believe them because I just devoted six minutes to explaining that I’m not a racist...and that is about the whitest thing you can do.”
Colorblindness is the ideal that one is not influenced by racial prejudice, but it is just that, an ideal. In effect, the criminal justice system is also colorblind. Alexander writes that in the “era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race explicitly as justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt” (p. 21). If we can’t talk about race in order to address racism, how can we expect progress on this issue? “It is important to talk about race openly and honestly”, writes Alexander (p. 111), in this way, we can achieve color consciousness, the opposite of
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