In The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander develops a compelling analogy on how mass incarceration is similar to the Jim Crow era, and is a “race-making institution.” She begins her work with the question, “Where have all the black men gone?” (Alexander, 178) She demonstrates how the media and Obama have failed to give an honest answer to this question, that the large majority of them or in prison. She argues that in order to address this problem, we must be honest about the fact that this is happening, and the discrimination with the African American communities that is putting them there.
Starting in the 1890s, segregation laws known as the Jim Crow Laws dominated the United States, specifically in the South. These laws required schools, parks, libraries, forms of public transportation and even drinking fountains to be segregated into “Whites Only” and “Coloreds”. Although the Jim Crow Laws intended to treat blacks “separate but equal”, blacks received poorer conditions in their public facilities, were denied the right to vote and were treated with no respect from the whites (Jim Crow Laws). In Richard Wright’s essay, “The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch”, Wright describes his first-hand experience with these laws and the negative encounters he has faced just because of the color of his skin.
The New Jim Crow was published January 5, 2010 and is 312 pages in length. The book’s author is Michelle Alexander; she is a civil rights lawyer and legal scholar. She graduated from Stanford Law School and Vanderbilt University. In 2011 The New Jim Crow won the NAACP Image Award for best nonfiction.
This “war on drugs,” which all subsequent presidents have embraced, has created a behemoth of courts, jails, and prisons that have done little to decrease the use of drugs while doing much to create confusion and hardship in families of color and urban communities.1,2Since 1972, the number of people incarcerated has increased 5-fold without a comparable decrease in crime or drug use.1,3 In fact, the decreased costs of opiates and stimulants and the increased potency of cannabis might lead one to an opposing conclusion.4 Given the politics of the war on drugs, skyrocketing incarceration rates are deemed a sign of success, not failure. I don’t totally agree with the book (I think linking crime and black struggle is even older than she does, for instance) but I think The New Jim Crow pursues the right line of questioning. “The prison boom is not the main cause of inequality between blacks and whites in America, but it did foreclose upward mobility
Jim crow laws were created in the 1950´s when segregation became big. It was a law stating blacks could not go in the same places that whites did. It stated they could not eat,sleep and drink at the same places as white people. They were created to separate black and white people from even the slightest bit of contact. People though god put blacks on this earth to work like animals. They created a ¨Prison¨ for the blacks because they couldńt do a lot of stuff. They had restrictions for what they could work at, it was put up as a ¨Racial Barrier¨. The blacks were restricted.The KKK was formed in the 1860´s. It was formed as a social club of retired veterans.A group of considered confederate veterans made a group called the KKK. They were a worldwide
Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness goes into great detail on race related issues that were specific to black males, the mass incarceration, and how that lead to the development of institutionalized racism in the United States. She compares the Jim Crow with recent phenomenon of mass incarceration and points out that the mass incarceration is a network of laws, policies, customs and institutions that have been working together to warrant the subordinating status of black males. In this paper I will go into a brief examination of the range of issues that she mentions in her book that are surrounding the mass incarceration of black male populations.
Following the Reconstruction Era, Jim Crow laws were legislated between 1876 and 1965 which implemented segregation in all public facilities in mostly southern states in the United States. As a result, the first wave of the Great Migration occurred – of African-Americans from the South moving North. Chicago, Illinois was one of northern cities that experienced a high influx of southern African-Americans. Compared to other cities, Chicago was considered a more liberal city since it prohibited many segregation laws. In the year 1874, school segregation was outlawed in Chicago and in 1885 segregation in public facilities was outlawed. According to the U.S. census, in 1910, 44,103 African-Americans made up Chicago’s population. By 1920
Since the beginnings of the United States there has always been some form of racism, whether it be individual, institutional, or systematic. Racism can be defined as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior. In the US today this racism is seen in many forms from a simple comment to a violent action. Recent actions such as the Dakota pipeline and the new mass incarceration system have begun to show new forms of racism. The way the systems work and progress is tremendously depended on people of color and the discrimination towards them. The fact that both the Dakota pipeline and the mass incarceration systems hugely relays on those of color being oppressed and controlled is in its self a blatant act of racism.
According to Michelle Alexander there is a new Jim Crow happening in America today but it disguises itself in multiple ways. The new Jim Crow refers to the criminal justice system and the way that it is used to control poor people of color. It involves mass incarceration because it is a form of social control used to oppress poor people of color, but mostly targets African-Americans. The U.S. Supreme Court has also contributed to the new Jim Crow by setting precedents that make it easier for trial judges to send black people to jail for the maximum sentence possible. Not only has the Supreme Court denied a black defendant equal protection when he is put on trial before a jury, but in juries as well but having black jurors struck for any ridiculous reason. Michelle Alexander is correct when she says there is a new Jim Crow because it happens in our court system each and
Jim Crow laws does not play a role really in today's time, but there is still some racial problems. Predominantly white schools sometimes have better education systems, and get paid more on a job than any other race. Sometimes mostly black/Hispanic (lower) communities look nicer than a community with mostly white or higher income communities.
Moreover, the facts that Alexander present in The New Jim Crow clashed with my view of the world in that although I appreciated the facts presented as the reality of what goes on in the world, it showed me that the through the laws enacted and through institutions, the society plays a role in creating and perpetuating the new caste system. This is evident when Alexander (2012) explains that the social racial control not only manifests itself through the justice system but also in the structure of the society, which is seen when those incarcerated have served their time and have been released from prison. She refers to Iron Marion’s “birdcage” metaphor to explain the lives of returning citizens and those on parole. The “birdcage metaphor
In the book The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, gives the reader a look at the history of racism. She begins her work by talking about her working experience at ACLU (The American Civil Liberties Union) in northern California. Once she started working there, she realized how the criminal justice systems had problems of racial bias. As a lawyer who disputed numerous cases on discrimination, she understood that there are many ways in which racial stereotyping can change the subject decision making process at any level of organization. Moreover she decided to shift her focus from employment discrimination to working with others and finding out how to eliminate racial bias.
Speaker: Alexander shares her experience developing her understanding of mass incarceration as a new racial caste system to display that it is not surprising if people do not recognize it initially and do not understand or agree with her argument because she, herself didn’t recognize these events occurring either. Presented in the introduction, Alexander states that “I reached the conclusions presented in this book reluctantly.” (Alexander 2) in addition “Ten years ago, I would have argued strenuously against the central claim made here— namely, that something akin to a racial caste system currently exists in the United States” (Alexander 2). During this time in her life she “clung to the notion the evils of Jim Crow are behind us” (Alexander 3), and the thought of the possibility of a new racial hierarchy in the United States never crossed her mind. In spite of this, she sees the clandestine working of a new system of control come forth before her eyes but, not others. That the issue of mass incarceration is seen, not as a racial justice concern, but as a criminal justice concern. As a result, “The attention of civil rights advocates has been largely devoted to other issues, such as affirmative action” (Alexander 9). She then states “My own experience reflects this dynamic” (Alexander 9).
Many Americans believe that slavery was ended when the 13th Amendment was passed. Sadly this is not the case. Michelle Alexander’s book called, The New Jim Crow, explains how the war on drugs and mass incarceration have created the next wave of racism and slavery. Her book is very interesting. At the beginning she talks about how this new form of slavery is based on “castes”. Michelle defines the term “caste” as, “a stigmatized racial group locked into an inferior position by law and custom”. One way that this new wave of slavery holds African Americans in an inferior position was by starting the War on Drugs. The author talks a lot about the War on Drugs and says that it is the cause of the mass incarceration problem and these new “castes” that have plagued the United States. Michelle brings up the word “colorblindness” a lot in her book. These laws that got put into place are said to be “colorblind”, however, African Americans are being taken advantage of so much in our current society. She talks about how African Americans are unfairly treated in every level of the Judicial System when it comes to the war on drugs. At the policemen level they are treated very poorly. The author talks about the statistics that show how unbalanced the stop and search rates are between African Americans and White people are. They seem to be always under suspicion when it comes to the police. I have black friends who have gotten pulled over for things I would never imagine me
“Some things never change” would say an adult after seeing something that reminds them of the ol’ days. It’s like a wave of nostalgia when they see the younger generation going through similar things like kids selling lemonade on the sidewalk, teenagers preparing for their prom, or adults pimpin’ out their Lowriders and 1955 Chevy Bel Air cars. It’s all good memories until they dig deeper into the good ol’ days and uncover some of the ugly truths that lay hidden. It’s also about recognizing that the Jim Crow laws existed and how discriminatory they were to the African American community. Today in age, it seems like nothing has changed because the discrimination hasn’t gone anywhere, but it’s making an especially big comeback with today’s mass incarceration.