Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13TH reveals shocking pattern of criminalization that surrounds black communities. The horrors of slavery are common knowledge, but what Americans need to understand is that the systems put in place in that era still effect black Americans, and racial issues were not solved with ending slavery. Police brutality, the prison industrial complex, and the portrayal of people of color in the media are issues that continue to plague our country. The title, 13TH, refers to the 13th amendment of the constitution, which abolished slavery and guaranteed freedom for all Americans. However, a loophole in the law strips convicted criminals of their freedom.
She claims that politicians like Nixon and Reagan first used racially coded language to sway voters which would lead to the drug war (Alexander 47). Alexander argues that the War on Drugs ignited this trend despite many people disputing her claim (102), blaming it on the decade on rampant violent crime. Her most venomous argument focuses on the racial bias in the legal system at all levels; she claims that the discretion of law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges allow for the mass incarceration of African Americans. The mass incarceration paired with racial bias and discretion allow for a segregation that affects impoverished African Americans most drastically by locking them in ghettos or prisons (Alexander 122). The most profound effect of this system is the metaphorical segregation of African Americans.
Both tried to hold blacks from being able to achieve the same as whites because we are viewed to be beneath them. Original “Jim Crow Laws” were actually legal at the time and justified in a way I guess because it was legal just not fair at all. The “New Jim Crow Laws” are not really legal or illegal it’s just a way to beat the original not being allowed anymore. These were things the government came up with to constrict what we can and cannot do. Both are forms of oppression and not only affect blacks but also other minorities as well.
Disguised Discrimination In Michelle Alexander’s speech on her book The New Jim Crow, she vividly describes the past forms of blatant oppression of minority groups, especially Latino, and even more so, African American men. Such political systems such as slavery and Jim Crow Laws, were discussed as government intended repression of African Americans. The War on Drugs is then blamed for unfairly targeting minorities, which results in staggering rates of Black and Hispanic arrests. She later relates the past direct forms of discrimination to today’s indirect forms, and informs her audience on how our present political system has a very similar effect to the Jim Crow laws. I feel she effectively and convincingly states her argument using clear and concise language.
Racial Discrimination in the U.S. Justice System Introduction In modern-day America the issue of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system is controversial because there is substantial evidence confirming both individual and systemic biases. While there is reason to believe that there are discriminatory elements at every step of the judicial process, this treatment will investigate and attempt to elucidate such elements in two of the most critical judicial junctures, criminal apprehension and prosecution. Criminal Apprehension Statistical accounts show consistent accord in that African Americans are disproportionately arrested over whites. What is much less lucid, however, is the real reason for this disparity. Both criminologists and political scientists alike have expounded remarkably polarized explanations for this phenomenon.
The system operates through our criminal justice institutions, but it functions more like a caste system than a system of crime control” (Alexander, 2012, p. 13) Alexander makes an important distinction in this book, too. That is that criminals are the new version of slaves for our country – but they are the black male criminals, not all criminals. The structural racism designed to relegate the black popula... ... middle of paper ... ...ere taken in the initial discussions of getting tough on crime in the late 1960s and early 1970s: the conservative side which argued that “poverty was caused not by structural factors related to race and class but rather by culture – particularly black culture” and the liberal side which argued that “social reforms such as the War on Poverty and civil rights legislation would get at the root causes of criminal behavior and stressed the social conditions that predictably generate crime” (Alexander, 2012, p. 45). The liberals were definitely onto something. The process by which we address crime must account for the intersectionality of our country relative to crime.
While some argue this movement’s purpose is to expose the realities of police brutality and how African Americans are often left powerless in the law. Others contend that this movement in an excuse for unjustified violence and the demonization of police. Subsequently, the death of Trayvon Martin is seen as the motive to construct a response to anti-black racism, similarly known as The Black Lives Matter movement. To clarify, Shaun King author of ‘Black Lives Matter opposes police brutality, not police’ states, “I believe that brutal police officers should be held to the highest ethical standards and find it deplorable that abusive officer after abusive officer in America is far too often set free without punishment” (King). The author uses powerful diction such as
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is a book by Michelle Alexander, a civil rights litigator and legal scholar. The book discusses race-related issues specific to African-American males and mass incarceration in the United States. Michelle Alexander (2010) argues that despite the old Jim Crow is death, does not necessarily means the end of racial caste (p.21). In her book “The New Jim Crow”, Alexander describes a set of practices and social discourses that serve to maintain African American people controlled by institutions. In this book her analyses is centered in examining the mass incarceration phenomenon in recent years.
Alexander then goes on to explain the system of mass incarceration. She goes on to talk about how black people are getting abused through the criminal justice system mainly
This case happened in the midst of police brutality towards minorities, unfair trials, and a rise of the extremist terrorist group the Klu Klux Klan. Moreover, the conditions of all black facilities were tarnished, and the conditions were evidently much worse than the white facilities. As Waldo, an educated historian who dedicated his life to the civil rights movement stated in his journal that discrimination “was huge during this time period, because the law specifically prohibited whites discriminating against blacks”. For this reason, the case changed the course in history, as it integrated whites and black in ways that were prohibited before. It is fair to infer that the case paved a way for minorities, protecting them under the judicial system.