Analysis Of ' The New Jim Crow ' By Michelle Alexander

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Adaptation of Racism In the first section of the first chapter of “The New Jim Crow”, Michelle Alexander talks about how “...racism is highly adaptable...” (Alexander 21) and how forms of it has been constantly repeating throughout history. She then goes on to say, “...similar political dynamics have produced another caste system in the years following the collapse of the Jim Crow-one that exists today.” (Alexander 21). The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t really accomplish much, so in an effort to make a change, the Civil War took place. After the Civil War, the Jim Crow laws emerged to restrict people of color. Accordingly, the valiant efforts to abolish slavery and get rid of the Jim Crow laws changed American society. After the collapse of these systems of oppression, there were periods of confusion that those who were for racial hierarchy took advantage of. Alexander then shows that each time a caste system falls, a new one needs to be built, and people, who often repeat history, replace the old system with a new one that is not entirely different. Now, although the current form of racism is less opressing than that of the time of slavery, it is still something that has a heavy influence. Additionally, even though our society continues to move on and adapt, racism has definitely been following along. Enslavement of the Powerless The second section of “The New Jim Crow” talks a lot about how people didn’t use to worry about skin color and race until recently. This is largely due to European Imperialism and the need for indentured servitude. Alexander then goes on to explain why Africans were chosen as the ideal slaves, because Native Americans were too ready to fight back and because there weren’t enough Europeans to ensl... ... middle of paper ... ...at crime rates weren’t increasing because of the Civil Rights Movement, but because of the “baby boom” generation. Additionally the president preceding these events did not help to better the situation of the people of color. For example, Richard Nixon, who was running for presidency during this unstable time, used the instability of the American people to his advantage and targeted mostly whites to vote for him. Therefore, Nixon was able to create yet another wedge between the races, but this time it wasn’t just blacks vs. whites, it was any person of color vs. whites. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton added to this wedge as well, by cracking down on drugs and crime which led to a spike of incarcerations of mostly people of color. Alexander then points out how this constant incarceration of communities of color set the ideal stage for the creation of the New Jim Crow.
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