The Meaning of Freedom: And Other Difficult Dialogues written by Angela Davis explains her personal experiences growing up in Birmingham, Alabama during a time of racial segregation, capitalism and an unjust prison system. With the use of her personal experience and scholarly research, activist Davis investigates the institutionalized biases that support the criminal justice system in order to identify potential reforms that could result in a more just and equal society. In the chapter “The Prison Industrial Complex”, Davis highlights the relationship between the criminal justice system and people of color/immigrants. Several issues are addressed such as fear of crime and the reality of prisons, creation of public enemies, conditions which produce the prison industrial complex, structural connections and …show more content…
While a member of the Communist Party, Davis accepted a teaching position at UCLA but was fired before her first class. She received threats from persons in California and other countries. Other instances include a disestablished welfare system and unemployment for women which results in them seeking jobs in the drug economy or sexual services. The formation of public enemies starts with the attacks on immigrants. The “anti-immigrant discourse effectively criminalizes people from other countries, especially people from the Americas and Asia, who come to the United States in order to make better lives”. Thirdly, when it comes to structural connections between young and black individuals it is based on the way capitalism has changed the world. Corporations are focusing on maximizing their profits to the fullest while ignoring the state’s laws. The conditions of working in such companies resemble slavery such as barely making minimum wage and unjust treatment of its workers. Thus Davis notes it is important that society does not shun the need to talk about
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Michelle Alexander argues in her introduction to the New Jim Crow that the racial caste in America has not ended and that it just has been redesigned. She highlights the ways that the justice system of the United States controls blacks through deliberately imposed legal restrictions. The United States has the leading incarceration rates in the world and most of the individuals involved with the country’s correctional system are African-American men. This essay seeks to discuss the author’s overall argument in the book. The essay will also discuss how the topics in the first three chapters of the book help Alexander develop this argument.
Analysis: Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" aims to bring attention to the racial caste system that exists within the American justice system, particularly in the context of mass incarceration of African Americans. Alexander argues that although America has moved past Jim Crow segregation laws, it has not moved past the racist system of oppression that existed during that era. Instead, a new caste system has emerged, with the American justice system serving as its primary mechanism for the maintenance of racial hierarchy. To support this thesis, Alexander details how the War on Drugs, initiated during the Reagan era, has resulted in an explosion of the prison population in America, particularly among people of color. She argues that the
The fourth chapter explores how the system of mass incarceration affects African American communities both during incarceration and after being released with the title of being a felon. The fifth chapter is where the author explains the title of the book, being the idea of how the “Age of Colorblindness” has created a world where the discrimination is harder to witness from the outside since it is under the disguise of the criminal justice system. This chapter also compares the potential for harm in the modern system to the harm that came from the Jim Crow laws. The sixth and final chapter explores the ideas of how the status quo in society makes it harder to dismantle the system of mass
Forced into Submission Brent Staples is living his life in constant worry and fear. Due to his tall and threatening appearance, people are often uncomfortable around him. And even though he means no harm, he leaves others terror-stricken. He could easily startle someone into attack mode. Resulting in him being forced into an obedient, unassertive lifestyle.
In her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, author Michelle Alexander explores complex themes of oppression, discrimination, and how the United States criminal justice system has been disproportionately affecting Black communities for decades. Alexander outlines and analyzes the rise and fall of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and mass incarceration, as well as the War on Drugs and how the prison system continues to put Black men in bondage. Alongside this, she explores the limitations that incarceration places on Black men, the impact this has on their lives, and how society can work to combat the system. The novel is particularly relevant to the field of community psychology, as it highlights several ways that incarceration has affected the well-being and communities of those in bondage.
Just as history has seen with communities of color are essentially discriminated based on the color of their skin or way of living. King speaks of how through discrimination it gave rise to the Nation of Islam because, the "movement [was] nourished by the contemporary frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination" ("Jail"). This coincides with how advocates trying to stop the injustice former convicts receive after being released because one should be able to be given an opportunity without having to worry about their past determining the new chapter they are trying to pursue. Illustrating how the prison system has allowed for ex-convicts to have to be the new face of discrimination and make it harder to integrate back into society. Thus, contradicting the initial purpose of prison being a rehabilitation center, but now has become a dehumanizing center for convicted criminals.
Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow examines America’s latest racial system. The newest racial system to Alexander is mass incarceration. In the third chapter, entitled The Color of Justice, the main focus is the criminal justice system and the War on Drugs.
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.
In the documentary “13th” directed by Ava Duvernay, focuses mainly on a recurring issue in society since the mid-1800’s. The documentary takes both sides and depicts the concerns and problems that many inmates face day to day. “13th” asks the question if African-Americans were actually ever truly “free” in this country. African Americans are considered free under their born rights but what “free” meant to myself through this film is, will they ever be treated equally compared to the rest of society. The opening minutes of the film started with a statistic that read, “One out of four African-American males will serve prison time at one point or another in their lives”.
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.
Davis also notes, the growth of the penal industry within the last three decades in particular, and the last century more generally, is also related to the backlash against emancipatory movements worldwide. In the United States, the end of slavery and the growth of civil rights of African American people were clearly related to the exponential growth of the rate of imprisonment of black people in America. Again,Davis argues just as the end of slavery was once seen as unimaginable, current thinking would have us all believe that it is impossible to imagine the end of
In The Meaning of Freedom, activist Angela Davis critiques the plausibility of democracy and collective freedom in the United States. By examining parallels between slavery and the carceral state, Davis contends that the two systems mutually characterize black people as disposable and compels them to incapacitation. Focusing on the two oppressive systems’ reliance on the maintenance of ignorance, Davis discusses how this ignorance is connected to America’s dominant sentiments of capitalism and self-interest, which, altogether, perpetuate cycles of abuse that disproportionately harm communities of color and lower-class peoples. As a result, this propels the creation of social hierarchies which, because it inherently cultivates inequalities, causes America’s classification as a “democracy” to be impossible.
Eduardo Mendieta constructs an adequate response to Angela Davis’ Are Prisons Obsolete? in his article, The Prison Contract and Surplus Punishment: On Angela Y. Davis’ Abolitionism. While Mendieta discusses the pioneering abolitionist efforts of Angela Davis, the author begins to analyze Davis’ anti-prison narrative, ultimately agreeing with Davis’ polarizing stance. Due to the fact Mendieta is so quick to begin analyzing Davis’ work, the article’s author inadvertently makes several assumptions about readers of his piece. For instance, Mendieta assumes that readers will automatically be familiar with Angela Davis.
Over 2 million people are currently being held in United States prisons, and while the U.S. may only hold 5% of the world’s population, it houses 25% of its prisoners. In the past few years, America’s prison system has fallen under public scrutiny for it’s rising incarceration rate and poor statistics. Many Americans have recently taken notice of the country’s disproportionate prisoner ratio, realized it’s the worst on the planet, and called for the immediate reformation of the failing system. The war on drugs and racial profiling are some of the largest concerns, and many people, some ordinary citizens and others important government figures, are attempting to bring change to one of the country 's lowest aspects.