Last weekend, a Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia spotlighted what many say is the rising power of white supremacists, who feel newly emboldened under President Donald Trump. The rally came as civil rights activists have mounted an increasingly effective campaign asserting that America‚Äôs criminal justice system has become an inhumane instrument of racial oppression. On this episode, I talk to James Forman, Jr. — the author of a new book that explores the roots of that criminal justice system. He says the system emerged from both white conservative demagogues looking to stoke racial resentment — and also from African American leaders who were desperate to protect the gains of the civil rights movement.

 

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