The “13th” is a documentary about the American system of incarceration and the economic forces behind racism in America especially in people of color. One of the claims that the author mentioned is that today incarceration is an extension of slavery. It is also mentioned that most of the time in society we are defined by race. In the documentary, we can see how African Americans are sentenced for many years since they are too poor to pay their fines or sometimes most of these people plead guilty to get out of jail fast. However, African Americans are separated from their families and also treated inhumanly in prisons just because they are of a particular race. Another claim is that African Americans are overrepresented as criminals in the news. Therefore, the news expresses “fear” to the white community toward black communities.
The book that I will be reviewing is called The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness by Michelle Alexander. This text was first copyrighted in 2010. The New Jim Crow can be purchased from all major book retail stores as well as popular websites such as Amazon for varying prices between $10-$15. It is possible to purchase this book for cheaper prices if the eBook is available. The ISBN number for this book is 978-59558-643-8. This book discusses social issues such as Mass Incarceration within our society.
People of all different races and ethnicities are locked behind bars because they have been convicted of committing a crime and they are paying for the consequences. When looking at the racial composition of a prison in the United States, it does not mimic the population. This is because some races and ethnicities are over represented in the correctional system in the U.S. (Walker, Spohn, & DeLone, 2018). According Walker et al. (2018), African-Americans/Blacks make up less than fifteen percent of the U.S. population, while this race has around thirty-seven percent of the population in the correctional system today. Along with African-American/Blacks, the Hispanic population is underrepresented at both the state and federal levels while the Caucasian/White population are underrepresented (Walker, Spohn, & DeLone, 2018).
Chattel slavery allowed for the white people to perceive slaves as property. However, once abolished we, the people, continue to believe that slavery is no more. However, we are wrong slavery occurs in prison. This prison industrial complex has allowed for slavery to continue. When society forces the individual to commit these crimes, and as a result the legal system deems legal bondage as punishment. Martin Luther King Jr's essay, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," argues that certain laws deemed just are unjust upon implementation because of how it comes degrading toward the human spirit and need to be opposed. Similarly, Michelle Alexander's excerpt, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness," details how prison has
The high incarceration rate of Black Americans has pervasive and chronically negative stigmas regarding the social and economic vitality of the Black American community, such as a lack of democratic participation and violence within urban communities (Burris-Kitchen & Burris, 2011). According to Forman Jr. (2012), some of 5 the negative affects of systemic racism of Black Americans born into the hip-hop generation who have been convicted include the ineligibility of public assistance programs such as health care, food stamps, public housing, student loans, and some employment opportunities. Additionally, many of the individuals suffering from the stigma of incarceration come from backgrounds of disadvantage such as single parent homes, low
In the eyes of Martin Luther King Jr., Justice within a society is achieved through the implementation of just laws. Furthermore, “just laws are regulations that have been created by man that follow the laws of God for man” (“Clergymen’s Letter”). Any law that does not correspond with the ideals of God and morality are considered to be unjust or a form of injustice. King identifies that injustice is clearly evident within the justice system. This injustice can truly be seen through the misconduct imposed toward the African American community. Michelle Alexander, similarly, points out the same truth that African American men are targeted substantially by the criminal justice system due to the long history leading to racial bias and mass incarceration within her text “The New Jim Crow”. Both Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Michelle Alexander’s text exhibit the brutality and social injustice that the African American community experiences, which ultimately expedites the mass incarceration of African American men, reflecting the current flawed prison system in the U.S.
The book “The New Jim Crow” Written by Michelle Alexander, Specifically chapter 5 compares and contrasts the two different eras of Jim Crow. When comparing the new vs. the old Jim Crow, the motives are similar, while their methods and means are different. The old Jim Crow is the blatant discrimination, exile, and removal of rights geared towards African Americans or people of color. While the effects are the same for the new Jim Crow, the methods of achievement are more ambiguous. The new Jim Crow utilizes incarceration to achieve their goals. Michelle alexander states in her book that “1 in every 14 black men was behind bars in 2006, compared with 1 in 106 white men” (61). The idea of incarceration, in this situation, mass incarceration is
Another component of the prison-industrial complex are courts. Our court system is overburdened with cases of poor people who cannot pay bail, as well as public defenders whose caseload are so large that it does not allow them to dedicate the proper amount of time to each case. Many times this results in a large number of public defenders pushing for defendants to take plea deals. This infringes on a defendant 's fifth amendment right to trial by jury (see appendix 1). Many of the people targeted by police for surveillance are those who later face time in court fighting for their freedom. Statistics show that Blacks are convicted and sent to prison at a much higher rate than whites although they commit crimes at virtually the same rate. Prisons tdehumanize inmates, disconnecting and isolating them from society (Herzing).
Martin Luther King Jr. said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy” (King, n.d.). If there ever was a man or women who stood in the midst of such challenge
In the New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander portrayed a strong and provocative evaluation of the mass incarceration in the United States. When writing this book Alexander wanted to achieve to bring up a much needed conversation of the role that the criminal justice system had in the creation of this new racial caste system as well as show how the consequences of being labeled a felon have simply redesigned the old Jim Crow. She aimed towards the audience of other civil rights activists who hope to work towards racial justice, those of which she believes will be skeptical of what she has to say. She used her own experiences as a civil rights advocate in the regions of racial profiling by law
In “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. states: “any law that degrades human personality is unjust” and that it is therefore our moral obligation to resist unjust legal systems. Unjust laws have been around since the beginning of our country, and we still have not been able to solve this basic conundrum; it can still be seen in contemporary issues that are occurring to this day such as Colin Kaepernick sitting during the national anthem. King’s arguments can be applied to most, but not all, aspects of the U.S. prison system because just laws are also present in the system. Current U.S. prisons are built on fundamentally degrading laws including the increase in punishment if one desires to go to court and people of color receiving
Prison is a dark, lonely and terrible place. A majority of people incarcerated are people of color. Mass incarceration is mainly concentrated on racial and ethnic minorities. In A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines, it is shown that no matter your background or your story, you will still be targeted because of the color of your skin. Brown assures that The United States has only five percent of the world’s population, but twenty five of the world’s prison population. This is a huge problem. Throughout history and research it is shown how this damages the community, families, society, and the people incarcerated themselves.
In the white man’s world, the strongest antagonist is an educated black woman, conscious of her value and power in society. Angela Davis is one of these black women. She was educated not only formally through schooling, but through experiences as an oppressed member of society. Davis illustrates how necessary knowledge of self, a sense of community, drive, and organizing are in the Freedom Liberation Movement. Angela Davis’s purpose for writing her autobiography was to preserve and validate the struggles, efforts, and intentions of the many men and women, including herself, educating future generations on the past, in hopes that they will continue the fight towards freedom that is not yet won. In her political autobiography, Angela Davis constantly models and reveals the ideologies supporting important models of resistance, crucial to making important political change. This empowers the oppressed youth of today, especially Black youth, to create a community, based on the commonality of their burning passions for equality and freedom. Davis