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No More Shame! Defeating the New Jim Crow with Antilynching Activism's Best Tools
American Quarterly (2014)
  • Koritha Mitchell, Ohio State University - Main Campus

This essay identifies similarities between racial violence of an earlier time period, lynching, and its most efficient form today, mass incarceration, suggesting that today’s racial violence be met with tools used by previous generations. I call for a critical demeanor of shamelessness that allows targeted communities and their allies to avoid taking on the shame that mainstream discourse encourages them to accept. People of color are incarcerated in staggering numbers, but not because they are disproportionately guilty of violent or even nonviolent crimes. Given the extreme racial disparities, being caught by the nation’s criminal (in)justice system is simply not a reflection of one’s character, not a reason for shame. Americans of all backgrounds must educate and empower themselves to see that truth—because mass incarceration fuels an empire whose greed knows no bounds, as it insists upon practices that allow the elite to make pawns of everyone else.

  • prison industrial complex,
  • mass incarceration,
  • shame
Publication Date
March, 2014
Publisher Statement
Appears in AMERICAN QUARTERLY, a scholarly journal published by Johns Hopkins University Press
Citation Information
Koritha Mitchell. "No More Shame! Defeating the New Jim Crow with Antilynching Activism's Best Tools" American Quarterly Vol. 66 Iss. 1 (2014)
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