In Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow she states that there is a new racial caste system—mass incarceration—in America. Alexander argues that the prior racial caste system, Jim Crow, has not ended—it’s merely been redesigned. Alexander’s main argument is that in this current era of colorblindness, it is not permissible to discriminate on the basis of race hence mass incarceration labels people of color as criminals and then uses all the practices that were “supposedly left behind”. Alexander uses the term racial caste because mass incarceration, like Jim Crow and slavery, were systems that denoted a stigmatized racial group and forced them into a permanent inferior position by law. Likewise, upon getting released from prison, those who …show more content…
To build support for this war Reagan made sure to publicize this all over the media. It was a grand success. Images of “crack dealers” and “crack babies” were seen all over the news. These images of the purposed inner city life of people of color led to the war that is now known as the War on Drugs. In just a mere thirty years the incarceration population increased from 300,000 to 2 million. Shockingly enough the increase in those who have been incarcerated have been due to drug convictions. Drug crime was low when the war was declared—it still is. What’s changed is that Alexander points out that no other country in the world incarcerates so many of their racial or ethnic minorities. To back up the reasoning that people of color are specifically targeted, studies have shown that white youth tend to be more active in drug crime than people of color—but yet, who are the majority of those in prisons? Alexander explains that the reason as to why this current racial caste system is hidden is due to the popular notion that the U.S no longer engages in the same practices as Jim Crow and …show more content…
In this era of colorblindness, it is not acceptable to talk about race nor class. Conversations about class, Alexander argues, tend not to be talked about because one tends to see class as a reflection of one’s character. With that, the premise of American ideology is the idea that if one can work hard enough it is guaranteed that one will make it—AKA meritocracy. Hence, when one does not have the “proper discipline” nor “drive” to move from the lower to upper class—it is a reflection of one’s moral character. Alexander maintains that what is missed in this debate is that Blacks are not free to move up at all; yes they also do not have the same opportunities and are plagued by poverty, but they are prevented by institutions to move up. Just like prior racial castes, mass incarceration creates and maintains a racial hierarchy. Alexander notes how the notion of white supremacy rationalized the enslavement of Africans yet whites were so adamant about forming the U.S. under the ideals of equality, liberty, and justice for all. Similarly, the constitution was meant to preserve a racial caste system—slavery—while maintaining the rights of
“The New Jim Crow” Summary “The New Jim Crow” was written by Michelle Alexander based off of her experience working for the ACLU of Oakland in which she saw racial bias in the justice system that constituted people of color second-class citizens; Which is why the comparison had been made to the Jim Crow laws that existed in the nineteenth century. Alexander notes comparisons in white resentment, colorblind language, segregation in neighborhoods, legal discrimination, etc., while the difference are the lack of activism that is shown in response to these injustices. Goes over the entire history of slavery; Documenting the Civil War, the Jim Crow laws, and then the civil rights movement to the War on Drugs that Reagan, in 1980, began in order
Michelle Alexander - The New Jim Crow In “The New Jim Crow”, author Michelle Alexander argues that the war on drugs is just an excuse to target African Americans and keep millions of black people in poverty or in jail. Alexander thinks that racism is still very prevalent in today’s world. She believes that the criminal justice system uses the system of mass incarceration to control black people and exclude them from the political process. Many African American people are not allowed to vote because they have gone to jail and they are labeled felons for life.
In Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: The Age of Colorblindness, she argues that the debate on the war on drugs unfairly targets those of color; typically young, black men. She states how many African Americans have been in prison due to drug convictions and now carry the title of a felon with them for life. Alexander recognizes that the war on drugs was a policy with an attempt to crack down on drugs in certain communities, however, she still believes these policies target minorities. She supports this with the “stop and frisk” policy, which grants the officers with the ability to search individuals on their own natural “suspicion.” It is most obvious that poor black men are more likely to be stopped over white individuals.
In her article “The New Jim Crow,” Michelle Alexander powerfully argues that the American prison system has become a redesigned form of disenfranchisement of poor people of color and compares it to the racially motivated Jim Crow laws. She supports her assertions through her experiences as a civil rights lawyer, statistical facts about mass incarceration, and by comparing the continued existence of racial discrimination in America today to the segregation and discrimination during the Jim Crow laws. Alexander’s purpose is to reveal the similarities of the discriminatory and segregating Jim Crow laws to the massive influx of incarceration of poor people of color in order to expose that racism evolves to exist in disguised, yet acceptable forms
In Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow, she analyzes the use of the War on Drugs to not truly be against crack, but those of a minority; as well as considering the shift of using race to describe and discriminate in the Criminal Justice System, and in society. On top of the switch of who is able to define someone as colored, the Criminal Justice System is in a sense, the new Jim Crowe, seeing that the system affects those in the minority groups more than those who are not. It used to be that the everyday person could describe a person by their race or skin tone, which would then group minorities by their described race. Grouping these people made discrimination stronger, especially when history of how these people were treated is
In 1995 Bill Clinton escalated the seriousness of drug crimes by establishing the “three strikes, you’re out” policy, The “three strikes, you’re out” policy declared that any person with three violent crime charges would be put on trial for a life sentence, moreover it stated that any drug felony is equivalent to a violent crime. So, with possessing marijuana, crack, or cocaine being reclassified as a felony, these minor drug offenses could turn into a lifetime sentence. From 1983 to 1989 the American prison system increased from 14,301 inmates to nearly 40,000, a 180% increase. For race, by 1989 the arrest rates for whites was 365 for every 100,000 while for blacks the rate was 1,460 per 100,000, thus the incarceration rate for blacks was four times higher
It is a well known fact that history repeats itself. This entangling cycle of repetition can be witnessed in the constant racist and prejudice state of American society. In The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander is able to bring to light the mistake people have been making through the process of repeating history, this mistake being the repeated use of racism and prejudice to successfully segregate society in order to accomplish a goal. Accordingly, during the time of slavery, a white lower class man by the name Nathaniel Bacon started a rebellion, uniting the poor whites and the blacks against the white elite. In response to this, the white elite used the repeated tactic of segregating whites from blacks and in their vulnerable state, gave
ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY Alexander, M. (2012). The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Rev. ed.). New York, NY: The New Press. 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.
Slavery is over therefore how can racism still exist? This has been a question posed countlessly in discussions about race. What has proven most difficult is adequately demonstrating how racism continues to thrive and how forms of oppression have manifested. Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, argues that slavery has not vanished; it instead has taken new forms that allowed it to flourish in modern society. These forms include mass incarceration and perpetuation of racist policies and societal attitudes that are disguised as color-blindness that ultimately allow the system of oppression to continue.
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 American prison system is flawed in numerous ways as both King and Alexander points out. A significant flaw that was identified is the injustice of specifically targeting African American men for crimes due to the racial stereotypes formed as a result of racial formation. Racial formation is the accumulation of racial identities and categories that are formed, reconstructed, and abrogated throughout history.
Over the decades, mass incarceration has become an important topic that people want to discuss due to the increasing number of mass incarceration. However, most of the people who are incarceration are people of color. This eventually leads to scholars concluding that there is a relationship between mass incarceration and the legacy of slavery. The reason is that people of color are the individuals who are overrepresented in prison compared to whites. If you think about it, slavery is over and African Americans are no longer mistreated; however, that is not the case as African Americans continue to face oppression from the government and police force.
In The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in The Era of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, she begins by points out the underlying problem in our Criminal Justice system. The problem being prioritizing the control of those in this racial caste rather than focusing on reasonable punishment and efforts to deter crime. Alexander begins by speaking of her experience as a civil rights lawyer and what soon became her priority after seeing a poster that mentioned how the war on drugs is the new jim crow when it comes to the application and outcome of it. As Alexander points out the correlation between the war on drugs and it being the new jim crow, she discusses the mass incarceration that is prevalent in our society and the number of African American
“The prison population has increased from 300,000 people in the early 1970s to 2.3 million people today. There are nearly six million people on probation or on parole. One in every fifteen-people born in the United States in 2001 is expected to go to jail or prison; one in every three black male babies born in this century is expected to be incarcerated” (Stevenson 15). For our society to function, we need to fix areas that are broken. One is the perception and treatment of African Americans.
Annotated Bibliography Alexander, M. (2010). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York: The New Press. Alexander opens up on the history of the criminal justice system, disciplinary crime policy and race in the U.S. detailing the ways in which crime policy and mass incarceration have worked together to continue the reduction and defeat of black Americans.