Mass incarceration of African Americans, The Revised Caste System

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The issue of racial disproportion in the United States has been an ongoing topic in history since slavery. As Americans we are affected by racial injustices everyday. One may not realize how their own racial identity plays a part in their everyday life experiences. The dynamics of racial oppression and privilege with the United States is incredibly complex ranging from the time of establishment to present day. The present day racial inequality within the criminal justice system and incarceration rates has peaked in the United States over the last 30 years. According to the NAACP the number of incarcerated individual has quadruples from roughly 500.00 to 2.3 million people. In 2008 African American and Hispanics comprised of 58% of the prison population. The unfortunate truth is that men of color, specifically, young African American and Latino men face arrest and conviction at rates that surpass the arrests and sentencing of white men. At the current rates of African American incarceration 1 in 3 of every African American male born today can expect to spend time in prison through out heir life time. The mass incarceration of people of color has significant effects on society in countless ways; more than what are apparently obvious to most people. As a result of the racial injustices within American society a racial hierarchy is maintained, stereotypes are perpetuated, communities of color suffer from communal uncertainty, health, financial instability, and sociopolitical needs are not accurately represented nor met. The racially bias policies and practices of the criminal justice system are unjustly detrimental to the well being of many black and Latino communities, their possible prosperity, and to America’s progression as a whol... ... middle of paper ... ...ading guilty and accept lower sentencing then risk mandatory 5 to 10 years in prison for drug charges. The extreme sentencing has forced most defendants to become felons by default. Their now, criminalized status has left them stigmatized for the rest their lives. These individuals are no longer able to vote, receive government assistance or obtain legal employment in many companies. The label of convicted felon has automatically excluded the black male from several spheres of society, similarly to Jim Crow laws of the past. Works Cited Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2011). Human behavior in the macro social environment: An empowerment approach to understanding communities, organizations, and groups, 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning. Alexander, M. (2012). The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, New York, NY: The New Press.
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