America, the land of the free, but is that true? The book The New Jim Crow raises many questions and forces its readers to reconsider the way we think about our judicial systems. Michelle Alexander brings up 6 main themes that we need to consider, the first one being The New Jim Crow. This is the main theme of the author’s work. She believes that our current American system of mass incarceration due to the rise in drug related arrested, is an attempt to neglect people of color, the same way that the Jim Crow laws had targeted African Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries. The second theme is Denial and Ignorance of the American people. The only way we can shed light on this issue is to educate the people into thinking differently about civil rights. Media plays a huge role in
Michelle Alexander in her book, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" argues that law enforcement officials routinely racially profile minorities to deny them socially, politically, and economically as was accustomed in the Jim Crow era. She first supports her claim by chronicling America 's history of institutionalized racism and systematic disenfranchisement of African Americans. Then, she discusses America 's War on Drugs that disproportionately targets minorities and finally as she examines the hardship faced by felons she compares and contrasts Jim Crow Laws to mass incarceration. Alexander surmises that mass incarceration is designed to maintain white supremacy and sustain a racial classification system. Alexander 's book is relevant to my research paper because she provides evidence that the criminal justice system is rooted in racism and directly linked to the racist agenda of the white supremacist.
The United States holds the title as the highest prisoner population in the world. With African Americans account for less than 12% of the United States, they still make up a large portion of the U.S prison population. Black people are incarcerated at higher rates than whites, despite being equally susceptible to committing crimes as whites. The American prison and criminal justice system has a long history of racial discrimination towards African Americans which can be supported through examples of unjust laws, disproportionate incarceration rates among different races, the and cases of African Americans being unfairly persecuted for crimes they didn’t commit.
It provides you with plenty of new information regarding our justice system. Alexander uses information and statistics to support her arguments throughout the text. I agree with all the points that Michelle Alexander was making throughout the printed work. After reading this book, I have been more knowledgeable of the many challenges that past offenders have when returning to the community after being incarcerated. This book forces readers to address racial issues that we all see and hear about, but do not like to like to discuss. Michelle Alexander explains how our society uses Mass Incarceration to control those in the African American community starting with the War on Drugs. She discusses how slavery and Jim crow were used to control the African American community, and when those ideas became stale government officials were searching for a new way to control the community. Thus, Mass Incarceration became the new caste system. This book has opened my eyes in various aspects. I have a better understand of the justice system after reading this book that I have had from watching the news and other media outlets. Without reading this book, I would not have been aware of the impact that the War on Drugs had on African
Because of these rules that law enforcement officials have created, mass incarceration rates have sky rocketed. When the Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education (1995) released their survey, the noticed that 95 percent of people described an African American person to be a typical drug user and only five percent of people described the typical drug consumer to be of another race. Nonetheless, the people in the 95 percent range showed cognitive bias as a result of only 15 percent of African Americans in 1995 were drug users. Where as, the majority of the White race consisted of drug users. Alexander responds by saying, “There is no reason to believe that the survey results would have been any different if police officers or prosecutors have been the respondents” (2011, p. 106). Alexander, in fact, shows great evidence here by comparing the racial drug survey to our law enforcement officials today. Since the majority of colored people are in our jails today, this evidence and research back up the fact that African Americans and Latinos are targeted by law
In an interview with Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, she claims that mass incarceration is a new version of the Jim Crow laws that were initially enacted in the nineteenth and twentieth century. These laws were set into place in order to enforce segregation between black and white citizens. Jim Crow was supposed to have ended in the 1964 with the Civil Rights Act, however Alexander believes that current society has been using “the war on drugs” as a tactic to discriminate against black people thus continuing the ideas of the racial segregation. Though congress may have passed the Civils Right Act, that has not stopped society from racial profiling each other and discriminating as they see fit. Black citizens continue to face
She points out that in some states, 80-90% of those sent to prison on drug charges are African American. This enormous discrepancy cannot be blamed either on black culture or “old-fashioned,” deliberate racism. Rather, much of the racial injustice of mass incarceration can in fact be attributed to unconscious bias. This is made worse by laws that may appear to be race-neutral on the surface, but in fact operate in deeply racist ways; this includes the one hundred-to-one ratio in sentencing recommendations for crack versus powder cocaine. Whereas there is little substantial difference between the two forms of cocaine, crack is more closely associated with black people—and carries sentences a hundred times longer than powder cocaine, which is generally associated with wealthy whites. Meanwhile, black people are often barred from serving on juries as a result of bizarre (yet ostensibly race-neutral) rules, meaning that many African Americans are tried by all-white juries.The deep racism of mass incarceration has been instituted through two broad steps: first, by giving law enforcement “extraordinary discretion” in who and how they approach, and second, by refusing to accept any charges of racism that do not identify a particular racist individual as the source of the problem. Alexander points out that anti-drug policy is particularly likely to be racially discriminatory because drugs are handled in a manner unlike any other crime. When an ordinary crime takes place, the victim (or someone acting on the victim’s behalf) alerts the authorities—the first step in the process of achieving justice. In the case of drugs, there isn’t a victim as such; both the buyer and seller of drugs have no incentive to call the police. Furthermore, most Americans of all races have violated drug laws at least once in their lives, and it would clearly be undesirable to put the majority of
Although incarceration has always been a problem, and has always been a racist system, it is not affecting more people than ever before—incarceration rates have been rising steadily and will continue to increase. One of the biggest parallels between the old Jim Crow and the new is that they both have defined the meaning and significance of race in America. However, one of the biggest differences between the two is that while Jim Crow seemed overtly race-based, but did have some key politicians who were in fact colorblind, mass incarceration is
In chapter two, of The New Jim Crow, supporting the claim that our justice system has created a new way of segregating people; Michelle Alexander describes how the process of mass incarceration actually works and how at the end the people that we usually find being arrested, sent to jail, and later on sent to prison, are the same low class persons’ with no knowledge and resources. These people commit petty crimes that cost them their
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is a non fiction book written by Michelle Alexander, a well known civil rights lawyer, is a book that every American citizen should read. Alexander’s book cover is of three metal bars and two strong black hands holding them tightly. The book spent multiple weeks on The New York Times bestsellers list and has a foreword written by Cornel West, he is a well known and respected social activist. The book discuss how the new system of oppression for people of color in the United States is mass incarceration. Jim Crow laws were a systematic way to segregate and discriminate against black people. The new systematic way to oppress black people is prison.
In her book “The New Jim Crow” (2010), Michelle Alexander, a civil rights lawyer and an activist in the civil rights movements, that many people think has long been concluded, argues that the results of prison go well beyond the walls of the facility and can even have a perpetual effect on a person's life. Alexanders exact words on page 142 are “ Once labeled a felon, the badge of inferiority remains with you for the rest of your life, relegating you to a permanent second-class status.” Alexander supports her claim by interviewing people and describing their experiences in prison and their life after prison. She also informs the reader of laws that make it harder for felons to not only get jobs, but also limits their access to housing, and
Alexander uncovers the system of mass incarceration. A system of laws, rules, policies, and customs that control criminals both in prison and out of prison. The book also highlights major themes and issues in society today such as racism, inequality, and social justice. Alexander uses statistics and legal citations to argue that the approach Nixon administered, which was more of a get-tough approach to crime, and Reagan’s declaration of the War on Drugs, has devastated African Americans. The main idea that Alexander tries to make is that beginning with slavery and continuing with Jim Crow segregation, mass incarceration places entire groups of people of color into discriminatory positions in society,
Throughout history, the rate of incarceration among African American men has been significantly higher than that of other races. Since the 1970’s, it seems that serving time in jail is the rite of passage for an African American male. One of the contributing factors lies in the disparities of sentencing in the Criminal Justice System, especially during the drug war. According to Western & Becky Pettit (2010), African Americans have always been incarcerated at a higher rate than whites. Laws were enacted from 1914 (The Harrison Act) that restricted the sale of heroin and cocaine, which were both legal and established the legal framework for intervention on drug policy. However; during the 1980’s and 90’s marked an unprecedented escalation
According to the Bureau of Justice Statics, in 1996 the African American incarceration rate was 1,574 per 100,000, seven times higher than the rate for Whites. Researchers have discovered that the war on drugs has led to the overcrowding of African Americans in the prison system (Lurigio & Loose, 2008). One of the reasons for the overpopulation of Blacks in America’s criminal justice system is because of the different sentencing laws between powder cocaine and crack cocaine. The United
The Labeling theory also addresses those who are already criminals who continue to be. Once someone commits a criminal act, he or she is remembered for it. Depending upon the act, others might see this person as lower or unwanted. In severe cases, they might even be feared in the community they live in. This is called retrospective reading, and is defined more in detail by Larry Siegel in his Criminology: The Core: