The New Jim Crow Thesis

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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander published in 2012, is a 261 page book detailing how mass incarceration has become the new form of legalized discrimination. BACKGROUND A large cause for the writing of this book is that there is currently not much research or call for a criminal justice reform. According to Alexander the main goal of the book is to “stimulate a much-needed conversation about the role of the criminal justice system in creating and perpetuating racial hierarchy in the United States” (2012:16). Another premise for this research is that it is no longer socially correct to use race to discriminate against people, and Alexander argues that society as a whole is now using the …show more content…

This causes most laymen to not know or recognize the problem of colorblindness. Because the Jim Crow era is what we think racism looks like, it becomes easy for people to deny that it is still around today. The New Jim Crow operates from the War on Drugs in a seemingly race neutral fight. It begins with police being able to choose who they think should be stopped and questioned, continues into formal control where the defendant is put into prison or jail or put on parole or probation, then finishes with a time of “invisible punishment” which is when the ex-offender is barred from reentering society by norms and laws. 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

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