Michelle Alexander’s use of “Jim Crow” is a viable and useful analogy to describe the current American criminal justice system and mass incarceration. I believe our criminal justice system does not truly define justice or fairness. Also, I agree on the fact that while old “Jim Crow” laws may be dead; the current justice system serves many of the same purposes of those laws. Today, mass incarceration is the biggest issue in our criminal justice system, for mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow.
“The New Jim Crow” is an article by Michelle Alexander, published by the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law. Michelle is a professor at the Ohio State Moritz college of criminal law as well as a civil rights advocate. Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law is part of the world’s top education system, is accredited by the American Bar Association, and is a long-time member of the American Law association. The goal of “The New Jim Crow” is to inform the public about the issues of race in our country, especially our legal system. The article is written in plain English, so the common person can fully understand it, but it also remains very professional. Throughout the article, Alexander provides factual information about racial issues in our country. She relates them back to the Jim Crow era and explains how the large social problem affects individual lives of people of color all over the country. By doing this, Alexander appeals to the reader’s ethos, logos, and pathos, forming a persuasive essay that shifts the understanding and opinions of all readers.
In her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander states that we still use our criminal justice system to “label people of color ‘criminals’ and then engage i...
Michelle Alexander asserts that mass incarceration in contemporary American society is the result of targeting African Americans in the “War on Drugs” and serves to maintain a racial caste system similar to the system that existed during pre-Civil War slavery and has been propelled by what Michael Cohen calls “Jim Crow political logic” of Southern
Years after the United States civil rights movement, the removal of formal segregation laws, and implementation of anti-racist policies, the American criminal justice system still fails to display the same reform. As one of the largest superpowers and industrialized nations in the world, the United States has not attained a “post-racial status,” defined as being a society in which race, although it remains a concept, does not influence individuals. The failure of the United States to attain “post-racial status” is exemplified in the criminal justice system by overwhelming evidence of disproportionate levels of crime, arrests, and incarceration that primarily affect minority populations. Past and present patterns of American society dealing with crime and the people involved committing crime show extreme racial disparity in terms of individuals’ predisposed environments that increase ones likelihood of being involved in the criminal justice system, the system itself that processes individuals, the encouragement of mass incarceration by mainstream society, and the effects these processes have on society.
Incarceration in the nation as gone up 500% since the 1970s a total of about 2.2 million are behind bars. With the increase rates of incarceration an increasing amount of uneven racial discrimination is at high rates for African American and Hispanic males. According to Mauer & King (2007) “The African ...
In the wake of President Obama’s election, the United States seems to be progressing towards a post-racial society. However, the rates of mass incarceration of black males in America deem this to be otherwise. Understanding mass incarceration as a modern racial caste system will reveal the role of the criminal justice system in creating and perpetuating racial hierarchy America. The history of social control in the United States dates back to the first racial caste systems: slavery and the Jim Crow Laws. Although these caste systems were outlawed by the 13th amendment and Civil Rights Act respectively, they are given new life and tailored to the needs of the time.In other words, racial caste in America has not ended but has merely been redesigned in the shape of mass incarceration. Once again, the fact that more than half of the young black men in many large American cities are under the control of the criminal justice system show evidence of a new racial caste system at work. The structure of the criminal justice system brings a disproportionate number of young black males into prisons, relegating them to a permanent second-class status, and ensuring there chances of freedom are slim. Even when minorities are released from prisons, they are discriminated against and most usually end up back in prisons . The role of race in criminal justice system is set up to discriminate, arrest, and imprison a mass number of minority men. From stopping, searching, and arresting, to plea bargaining and sentencing it is apparent that in every phases of the criminal justice system race plays a huge factor. Race and structure of Criminal Justice System, also, inhibit the integration of ex offenders into society and instead of freedom, relea...
In this book The New Jim Crow Michelle Alexander gives a look at history racism of African-Americans in relations to slavery and brings us to into modern day racism. Not racism as a form of calling people names or by the means of segregation which would be considered overt racism condemned by society but by colorblindness and by a racial caste system. Alexander argues African-Americans are being discriminated against in the form of mass incarceration. “Mass incarceration refers not only to the criminal justice system but also to the larger web of laws, rules, polices, and customs that control those labeled criminals both in and out of prison” (Alexander 2012, pg 14). Upon reading The New Jim Crow I believe African – Americans continue to be discriminated against in silent ways that are deemed acceptable by society and the criminal justice system.
Today, more African American adults are under correctional control than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began (Alexander 180). Throughout history, there have been multiple racial caste systems in the United States. In her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander defines a “racial caste” as “a racial group locked into an inferior position by law and custom” (12). Alexander argues that both Jim Crow and slavery functioned as racial caste systems, and that our current system of mass incarceration functions as a similar caste system, which she labels “The New Jim Crow”. There is now a silent Jim Crow in our nation. Mass incarceration today serves the same function as did slavery before the Civil War and Jim Crow laws after the Civil War - to uphold a racial caste system.
Alexander, M. (2010). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New
As Elie Wiesel once stated, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented” (“Elie Wiesel Quote”). Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow, which discusses criminal justice and its role in mass incarceration, promotes a similar idea regarding silence when America’s racial caste system needs to be ended; however, Alexander promotes times when silence would actually be better for “the tormented.” The role of silence and lack of silence in the criminal justice system both contribute to wrongly accused individuals and growing populations behind bars.
In the United States, the rate of incarceration has increased shockingly over the past few years. In 2008, it was said that one in 100 U.S. adults were behind bars, meaning more than 2.3 million people. Even more surprising than this high rate is the fact that African Americans have been disproportionately incarcerated, especially low-income and lowly educated blacks. This is racialized mass incarceration. There are a few reasons why racialized mass incarceration occurs and how it negatively affects poor black communities.
Alexander attempts to show by means of cultural and historical review, political decisions, enactment of legislation and statistical evidence from the time of the old Jim Crow laws, the retarded advancement of civil rights of young black men, and their mass incarceration. This occurrence produces a false reality and perpetuates the history of racial discrimination that exists today in America through a "caste system" by legal framework that disguising itself as the "War on Drugs." The practice of mass incarceration labels and demonizes those persons to the point that they lose their rights to vote, limits employment, are denied housing and educatio...
Michelle Alexander calls the contemporary moment of mass incarceration “the new racial equilibrium.” According to Alexander, “More African American adults are under correctional control today—in prison or jail, on probation or parole—than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.” Making up only 5 percent of the global population, the United States imprisons 25 percent of the world’s inmates. Modern histories of state violence, including police brutality and the mass incarceration of Black people, have not only significantly impacted the lives of African Americans, but also have informed the contemporary Movement for Black Lives.
“Show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again and that’s what they become” (Adichie, 2014). Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. Forman’s critique of the Jim Crow Analogy appropriately depicts the danger of a single story. While I agree with most of Michelle Alexander’s submission regarding mass incarceration, reading Forman’s critiques about Jim Crow analogy provided a wider horizon and a far more realistic potential at stopping the incalculable damage mass incarceration has inflicted on the US community. I found the following Forman’s critiques as his strongest and most valid arguments: