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. Broussard, B. (2015).
Her central thesis is that mass incarceration is “The New Jim Crow,” or the new system of control used by the government to uphold racial class in the U.S. This book will be helpful to my research because it directly discusses the topic of race and the criminal justice system. Amnesty International. (2003). United States of America: Death by discrimination
In Invisible Men, Becky Pettit introduces the theory that many Americans are seemingly “invisible” due to the fact that most national surveys, such as the Current Population Survey do not include incarcerated persons which lead to skewed statistics that are misrepresentative of the United States population. Pettit argues that the exclusion of inmates from national surveys creates discrepancies in United States economic, political, and social conditions. Further, Pettit argues that mass incarceration has hidden racial inequalities for many years. Throughout Invisible Men, Pettit develops her argument by presenting numerous examples that show how the rising incarceration rate has lead to the invisibility of African-American men in our current society.
First, I want to examine a particularly critical review of Alexander’s text by Joseph D. Osel. According to Joseph D. Osel’s, “while Alexander’s book claims to be concerned with exposing and describing the history and mechanisms of mass incarceration of the American ‘caste system,’ which affect the poor and people of color systematically and disproportionately, her work systematically, strangely, and empathically excludes these voices” (OSEL Whitewash). Osel goes on to contend that Alexander’s work provides the history of criminal justice and imprisonment with a “vast rhetorical and historical facelift where the most relevant and affected voices on the topic at hand are safely expunged from the discussion, from relevance, from history” (OSEL
Lastly, violence against black people was very prominent during the Jim Crow era. The statistics for the amounts of black deaths from violence is outrageous. Fremon wrote, “In 1890 until 1917, on average, two to three blacks in the South were illegally hanged, burned, or otherwise murdered every week” (Fremon 37). Two to three black people were killed every week. The amount of abuse was so much and was for random minor “crimes” and sometimes black were even falsely accused.
Is it fair that an African American man is sentenced up to life in prison for possession of drugs when Brock Turner is sentenced to only 14 years, later to be reduced to six months for sexually assaulting an unconscious women. The judiciary system are believed to have a high african american incarceration rate as a result of discrimination. At a presidential debate on Martin Luther King Day, President Barack Obama said that “Blacks and whites are arrested at very different rates, are convicted at very different rates, and receive very different sentences… for the same crime.” Hillary Clinton said the “disgrace of a criminal-justice system that incarcerates so many more african americans proportionately than whites.”
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.
Race is one the most sensitive and controversial topics of our time. As kids, we were taught that racism has gotten better as times has passed. However, the author, Michelle Alexander, of The New Jim Crow proposes the argument that racism has not gotten better, but the form of racism that we known in textbooks is not the racism we experience today. Michelle Alexander has countless amounts of plausible arguments, but she has failed to be a credible author, since she doesn’t give enough citations or evidence for her argument to convince people who may not have prior agreement with her agreement.. Alexander’s biggest mistake when it came to being a credible author was starting off the book with a countless number of claims without any evidence in her Introduction.
Even before our nation’s founding, people of color have been discriminated. Decades pass and the criminal justice system is still “racist” labeling people of color as criminal, meaning black equal criminals therefore is fine to discriminate people of color just because they’re criminals. In “The New Jim Crow” the system targets black men because they are associated with crime, meaning crime stands in for race. In the other hand, As Heather Mac Donald writes in her book “The War on Cops”, “The criminal-justice system does treat individual suspects and criminals equally, they concede. But the problem is how society defines crime and criminals” (154).
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.
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.
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.
Jim Crow was not a person, it was a series of laws that imposed legal segregation between white Americans and African Americans in the American South. It promoting the status “Separate but Equal”, but for the African American community that was not the case. African Americans were continuously ridiculed, and were treated as inferiors. Although slavery was abolished in 1865, the legal segregation of white Americans and African Americans was still a continuing controversial subject and was extended for almost a hundred years (abolished in 1964). Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South is a series of primary accounts of real people who experienced this era first-hand and was edited by William H.Chafe, Raymond
The United States has a larger percent of its population incarcerated than any other country. America is responsible for a quarter of the world’s inmates, and its incarceration rate is growing exponentially. The expense generated by these overcrowded prisons cost the country a substantial amount of money every year. While people are incarcerated for several reasons, the country’s prisons are focused on punishment rather than reform, and the result is a misguided system that fails to rehabilitate criminals or discourage crime. This literature review will discuss the ineffectiveness of the United States’ criminal justice system and how mass incarceration of non-violent offenders, racial profiling, and a high rate of recidivism has become a problem.
The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world with about 2.3 million people in prison. According to Vitanna.org’s statistics, an estimated one million of these prisoners are African American. 12.3 percent of the population is black, yet over 43 percent of America’s prisoners are black. This disparity is certainly unnatural, seeing as how African Americans are no more likely to be criminals than whites. Black men are overrepresented in prisons because of the unfortunately common stereotype that they are all remorseless criminals.