' The New Jim Crow, By Michelle Alexander

1005 Words5 Pages
Alexander, Michelle. (2012), The New Jim Crow. New York; The New Press.

Introduction The war on drugs was used as a defense mechanism to gain social control over people of color through mass incarceration, thereby reincarnating a racial caste system in our country. Alexander defines caste as a “stigmatized racial group locked into an inferior position by law and custom. Jim Crow and slavery were caste systems. So is our current system of mass incarceration (Alexander, 2012). “The most obvious parallel between mass incarceration and Jim Crow “is legalized discrimination” (Alexander, 2012, p. 17). However, the success of the election of the first African-American President, Barack Obama, causes Blacks to believe that racism has been defeated
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She revealed her own personal experiences as a civil rights attorney and stories from others who are incarcerated. Alexander convincingly provided facts throughout her book to demonstrate the enormity of African-Americans that remain under correctional control from the war on drugs. For instance, “In less than thirty years, the U.S. penal population exploded from around 300,000 to more than 2 million, with drug convictions accounting for the majority of the increase” (Alexander, 2012, p. 6). This statistical data is relevant because it supports one of her main points that mass incarceration in the U.S. Criminal Justice System is the New Jim Crow that perpetuates racial hierarchy in the United States (Alexander, 2012). Additionally, Alexander’s objective for providing statistical data was to incite a new social movement about the racial disparities in the penal…show more content…
However, I believe there are also resemblances between educational reform and the New Jim Crow. The article on Education Reform in the New Jim Crow Era supports my idea. Education reform and the New Jim Crow both produce an underclass particularly aimed at African American males. Alexander states an underclass is more like an “undercaste-a lower caste of individuals who are permanently barred by law and custom from mainstream” (Alexander, 2012, p. 13). This is apparent of the school systems mainly in urban communities. The educational system now mirrors the criminal justice system. There are metal detectors and police officers in the halls. The editorial of the New York Times declared that “research tends to show that police in the hallways creates schools-as-prisons and students-as-criminals, increasing, rather than eliminating, the problems” (Retrieved from http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/16406-education-reform-in-the-new-jim-crow-era?). The culture of this environment hinders constructive learning and continues the cycle of racial social control through mass incarceration. As Wilson stated “lack of education prevent poor black residents from obtaining economic resources and improving class position because of the lack of access to good paying jobs” ( [Blog post]. Retrieved from
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