The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration of the Racial Undercaste Essay

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration of the Racial Undercaste Essay

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Throughout the semester, we have discussed many different issues that are currently prevalent in the United States, specifically those related to racial discrimination. One specific issue that I have developed interest and research in is that of institutionalized racism, specifically in the form of mass incarceration, and what kinds of effects mass incarceration has on a community. In this paper, I will briefly examine a range of issues surrounding the mass incarceration of black and Latino males, the development of a racial undercaste because of rising incarceration rates, women and children’s involvement and roles they attain in the era of mass incarceration, and the economic importance that the prison system has due to its development.
Michelle Alexander, in her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, examines the development of institutionalized racism following the war on drugs, and how it has created what Alexander calls a “New Jim Crow era,” or a racial caste in the US. Alexander describes this undercaste as, “a lower caste of individuals who are permanently barred by law and custom from mainstream society,” (Alexander, 32). Not only is this because of mass incarceration rates among black men, but extends to the effects that these branded felons must face beyond prison walls. By checking the well known box on any application, it has become legal for almost any institution or corporation to discriminate against a marked felon. Alexander notes that, “Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination – employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusio...


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... Jane Crow: Reproductive Rights in the Age of Mass Incarceration." American Journal Of Public Health 103.1 (2013): 17-21. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Apr. 2013.

Rios, Victor M. Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys. New York: New York University Press, 2011. Print.

Simmons, Michaela. "Voices on the Outside: Mass Incarceration and the Women Left Behind." International Journal Of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences 6.4 (2011): 71-83. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Apr. 2013.

Thompson, Heather Ann. "Why Mass Incarceration Matters: Rethinking Crisis, Decline, and Transformation in Postwar American History." Journal Of American History 97.3 (2010): 703-734. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Apr. 2013.

Vogel, Erin. “Roosevelt Students Lead Campaign Against Armed Police in Chicago Schools.” Red Eye [Chicago, IL] 28 Feb. 2013. Print.

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