The Slave Mentality in The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

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The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander is a very poignant piece. Throughout the work Alexander makes it a point to draw parallels between the current judicial systems implementation of declarations coming out of the executive branch and the lack action from the legislative branch to correct the overbroad execution that has ultimately lead to a disproportionate amount of Blacks currently incarcerated. The book was interesting to say the least. I feel as if Alexander did a proper job of laying the historical foundation down for the reader and describing that from the earliest time in American history the Black people were invited into the land merely as a compromise and because the Blacks seemed to be the most economic choice for the furtherance of their motives to develop the country. Alexander did not merely stop at the idea of just telling the reader the Blacks were a better economic move during the foundation of the country instead she went into depth about why other racial groups, such as the Native Americans and the poor Eastern European Whites would not be as easy to assert slavery power over.
The slave mentality is a reoccurring theme throughout this text. I find that Alexander may not even realize that she has done so but the brief explanation in the beginning about why the Blacks were the most ideal candidates for slavery actually helps the reader explain the Black exploitation that is illustrated throughout the rest of the book. Alexander goes from discussing slavery, post slavery, Jim Crow, lack of economic gain, the War on Drugs, labeling, blaxploitation in the modern day, the successful celebrity outliers (Oprah and Barack Obama), and the silence we have seen amongst the once vocal civil rights activists. I realized...

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... selfish, dangerous black man in their heads. This persona that they feel encompasses all black people. This very persona that leads white cops to approaching Black men with force, led to the disproportionate execution of the war on drugs, the disproportionate jail sentences, white women to cross the street when Black men approach, and people to fear Black people in general.
It would be nice to think that active steps, proposed by Alexander, to fight the systems that are currently in place will change the way the world looks at the Black race but that is entirely too idealistic. As long as the idea of a race as being animalistic/hyper-masculinized still exists, is still marketable, via music, media, or by their own people through Blaxploitation, society will cling to these ideals, no amount of civil rights activism or overturning of laws will change that fact.

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