Summary Of The New Jim Crow By Michelle Alexander

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The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander is known as one of the most important books of out time. This is a book that makes the reader appreciate the magnitude of the crisis faced by communities of color as a result of mass incarceration. As noted, this book is not for everyone. It’s for people who are interested in seeing the injustice that many people of color have to face in the United States. In this book, we will see many similarities about our criminal justice system and something that looks and feels like the era of Jim Crow, an era we supposedly left behind. The New Jim Crow is an account of a caste-like system, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied…show more content…
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
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