Comparison Of Jim Crow Laws And Mass Incarceration In The New Jim Crow

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In The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander maps out the parallels between the old Jim Crow system and the new racial caste system of mass incarceration. There are many profound similarities between these two systems, such as historical parallels, closing the courthouse doors, and racial segregation.
There are many historical parallels between Jim Crow laws and mass incarceration. Both of these systems were made “due to a desire among white elites to exploit the resentments, vulnerabilities, and racial bias of poor and working class whites for political or economic gain” (Alexander 191). Segregation laws were made to deflect social tensions from whites to blacks. Another example is making laws more discriminative. “In the Jim Crow era whites competed by passing harsher laws to keep blacks in prisons. Currently legislators looking to make drug laws harsher to incarcerate more blacks and latinos.” The most obvious parallel between the Jim Crow laws and mass incarceration is the legalization of discrimination. During the Jim Crow era blacks were denied the right to vote by poll taxes, literacy tests, and grandfather clauses. The fifteenth amendment states “the rights of citizens of the United States to vote should not be denied on the account of race, color or previous condition of servitude” (Alexander 192). African Americans were not able to pay poll taxes or pass literacy tests, yet if a white male could not pass these hurdles he could still possibly be able to vote due to the
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