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.
Being excluded from within the economy, cause a lot of self-esteem damage on the individual they, then starts to experience isolation, because of their criminal pass which gives them a stigma for life. Also being invisible within society not being able to get a job after criminal background check is done caused one to end up in poverty and cant provide for their family. Being an ex convict, trying to live an honest life and still struggling to make ends meet can lead to a relapse, which makes them go back to do the same thing to provide because they have no other means period. Race, however was the core part within the book, both Blacks and whites were used to show the differences in leniency being shown for them especially in the Mass Incarceration system, For example, Alexander explain that “ Human Rights Watch reported in 2000 that, in seven states, African American constitute 80 to 90 percent of all drugs offenders sent to
The United States have created policies in which it targets minority groups, but especially African Americans. Throughout the history of our nation, our government has an inferior complex of blacks in fear of rebellion from the lower to middle social classes. History tells us that people are willing to unite for a cause regardless of racial differences. Mass incarceration is a product of the Jim Crow Laws that plagued this nation after the civil war. The effects of being labeled a convicted felon is similar to the era before the civil rights laws were passed.
As a facet of that institutional racism Blacks are now forced to persevere the increasing trend of control by the US Criminal Justice System. Control by the USCJS includes the probation, parole, imprisonment, and death of Blacks. A study conducted by the Sentencing Project in 1989 found tat more than one-fourth of all Blacks between the age of 20 and 29 are under the control of the USCJS . This alarming figure becomes more so when you consider their are more Blacks in prison in this age group than their are all Blacks in college . This clearly reveals what is meant by the institutionalization of our Black youth.
The first chapter in The New Jim Crow called The Rebirth of Caste, Alexander talks about how even though slavery has passed and there are people still out there to keep our society divided. This was called racial hierarchy is a system of belief that some racial groups were either superior or inferior. The superior where considered the most powerful while this left the inferior at the bottom. As slavery left, the superior used the War on Drugs and mass incarcerations as a way to separate and control blacks once again but through the legal system. Alexander then comes into talking about the history before all this has happened.
“Jim Crow laws allowed African Americans to be legally segregated. From that point on, African Americans were treated worse than ever before.” Some historians say that African Americans were treated better in slavery (in the 1800’s) than under the Jim Crow laws. Before the Jim Crow laws, there was slavery. They were both backed by the idea of black inferiority; both were also dominated mainly by the belief of white superiority. But not everyone believed in white superiority, but in equality.
Additionally, Jim Crow laws are known as the former practice of segregating black people in America. Consequently, Steiker (2014) mentions, that modern day “Jim Crow laws” have presented negative effects towards Black Americans, such as, discrimination towards the right to vote, the right to serve on juries, to receive public benefits, to be free from discrimination in employment and housing and to earn wages free from garnishment as fees or fines. Steiker (2014) makes it known that it is imperative to note that a person who has been institutionalized has their basic human rights removed. Lawrence (2011) mentions that having 2.3 million people
The book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” (“The New Jim Crow”) hits on many significant points concerning the criminal justice system and the systemically racial elements that have been perpetuated through various laws. As argued in the book, the “War on Drugs” has been used to perpetuate racial discrimination against African Americans since the 1980s and the Reagan Administration. My personal reflection on the book comes from a legal perspective. Within the world of legal education little if any discussion is had concerning the impact of the law. There is intense discussion on what the law is and where the law could go but in terms of the impact of certain laws such as that within the “War on Drugs” I believe the mass incarceration of African Americans in relation to drug laws was mentioned twice at most and only in passing.
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.
The neglect of Negro history is harmful to African Americans because it deprives the race from their whole heritage. The oppressors would do this to tarnish the African background in order to keep the African race inferior. Woodson writes, “In history, o... ... middle of paper ... ...426). The mistrust led to trying to shut down their own people’s businesses using the whites biased and teachings. Black businesses which were run by the uneducated were not supported because they were not adequate to run a business.