A New Racial Caste System In The New Jim Crow By Michelle Alexander

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In The New Jim Crow, published in 2010, American writer and civil rights activist Michelle Alexander argues that a new racial caste system was born in the United States after the death of Jim Crow. A system that was caused by the war on drugs, which was created in 1971 by President Ronald Reagan, as well as the Fourth Amendment. Alexander conveys her argument that the war on drugs, and the government's disregard for the Fourth Amendment, led to the unfortunate birth of mass incarceration using logical and ethical appeals. In the beginning of the excerpt, Alexander discusses the Terry v. Ohio decision and how it limited the effectiveness of the Fourth Amendment when it comes to drug crimes. The Fourth Amendment declares that unreasonable searches …show more content…

Pretext stops are often used by officers as a manipulation tactic to get drivers to consent to drug searches. They will use “minor traffic violations as an excuse—a pretext—to search for drugs, even though there is not a shred of evidence suggesting the motorist is violating drug laws” (Alexander). If a person is stopped by the police on a pretext, once that person “consents” to the search, they lose all of their power and the police now have free rein to search that vehicle. By doing this, it makes it a lot easier for police officers to arrest more …show more content…

The more people they arrest for drug crimes, the more money they get to buy random resources for their department. With the money they had “the overwhelming majority of state and local police forces in the country had availed themselves of the newly available resources and added a significant military 90 components to buttress their drug-war operations” (Alexander). This means that the war on drugs invented an unfortunate cycle between the American people and the police departments. The police were going to keep arresting the American people so that they could keep getting money to supply their

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