The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander tries to advance intellectual dialogue regarding mass incarceration in the United States. Alexander does this by carrying out a historical analysis of the process in which the correctional system controls African Americans through intentionally selected, and systematically sanctioned legal limits. In fact, the United States incarceration rate is not at peak by coincidence. Moreover, it is not coincidental that Black men and women make up the majority of this number. According to Alexander, this problem is a consequence of the “New Jim Crow” rules, which use racial stratification to eliminate black individuals in the legal sense. Black people and a small number of the Hispanic community face racial stratified laws when they face the justice system. This paper will support the claims that race is a major factor in the incarceration of black men in the United States, which includes the Jim Crow system, the slave system and the drag war. This process will also involve analyzing of some of the arguments presented within the book.
In The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Modern Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, the author argues the legal system doing its job “perfectly” well—the United States has simply replaced one caste system, the Jim Crow laws instituted in the 1880s and designed to oppress recently freed black slaves, for another—a system which uses the War on Drugs, which was instituted in the 1970s, to imprison, parole, and detain people of color, keeping the majority of minorities in the United States in a permanent state of incarceration. This an important issue because it affects the everyday lives of people around the nation. Alexander looks in detail at what economists normally miss—the entire legal structure of the courts, parole, probation and laws that effectively turn a person who may have done the crime into a person who is unworthy or “incapable” of rehabilitation. Alexander does a wonderful job of telling the truth, and blaming the right people, who can be liberal or conservative, white or black, who inflict this injustice on others. Alexander’s writing, however, does lack a structure that the reader can follow, which ultimately weakens her overall case.
Racism in the United States has not remained the same over time since its creation. Racism has shifted, changed, and shaped into unrecognizable ways that fit into the fabric of the American society to render it nearly invisible to the majority of Americans. Michelle Alexander, in her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness shatters this dominantly held belief. The New Jim Crow makes a reader profoundly question whether the high rates of incarceration in the United States is an attempt to maintain blacks as an underclass. Michelle Alexander makes the assertion that “[w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it” using the criminal justice system and colorblind rhetoric. (Alexander 2). The result is a population of Black and Latino men who face barriers and deprivation of rights as did Blacks during the Jim Crow era. Therefore, mass incarceration has become the new Jim Crow.
The third critical book review for this class takes a look at “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander published in 2012 by the New York Press. This book analyzes the problem with the incarceration system in the United States today that unfairly affects the African American community. This incarceration system is continuing to separate families, strip men of their freedom, and effectually make them into second class citizens upon release from prison as “free” men. She even describes that those who are convicted of these crimes are “relegated to a racially segregated and subordinated existence” (Pg. 4). Michelle Alexander is not only a published author but is also an active Civil Rights activist all while currently employed as an associate professor of law at Ohio State University. It is a very interesting read that coincides with where our class discussions have recently been. It argues that we as a country have not ended racial discrimination but just transformed it into a new type of caste system. It is an eye opening book that created an uncomfortable feeling while reading due to my level of ignorance on this topic prior to taking this class. I believe that this book will serve as an important narrative into fixing the race problems in this country because it brings to light what needs to be fixed. If any progress is made it will be because of books like this that expose the problems but starting to fix them will be the next step.
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.
Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, examines mass incarceration in the United States, why the criminal justice system works the way it does towards minorities, the detriments associated with mass incarceration as it relates to offenders, and much more. In the introduction of her book, Alexander immediately paints the harsh reality of mass incarceration with the story of Jarvious Cotton who is denied the right to vote among other rights because he, “has been labeled as a felon and is currently on parole” (1). Other information Alexander presents in her introduction are her qualifications as an author of the book, and gives a brief summary of each chapter and how each one is laid out. Her qualifications are she is African-American civil rights attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and is also an Associate Professor at the University of Stanford Law School. From a critical standpoint, Alexander seems very qualified to write on the topic, being part of the marginalized group and also being an expert in the legal field of which the topic covers, enhances her ethos to where one could consider her an expert in mass incarceration topics, as they relate to African-Americans. Overall, the introduction of her book does a great job starting out giving a stark reality of topic at hand, giving brief statistical references about mass incarceration in the United States, and giving an outline for her book.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is a book by Michelle Alexander, a civil rights litigator and legal scholar. The book discusses race-related issues specific to African-American males and mass incarceration in the United States. Michelle Alexander (2010) argues that despite the old Jim Crow is death, does not necessarily means the end of racial caste (p.21). In her book “The New Jim Crow”, Alexander describes a set of practices and social discourses that serve to maintain African American people controlled by institutions. In this book her analyses is centered in examining the mass incarceration phenomenon in recent years. Comparing Jim Crow with mass incarceration she points out that mass incarceration is
In today’s modern world, many people would be surprised to find out that there is still a racial caste system in America. After witnessing the election of a black president, people have started believing that America has entered a post-racial society. This is both a patently false and dangerous mindset. The segregation and stigma of race is still very much alive in our society. Instead of a formalized institution such as slavery or Jim Crow, America has found a new way to continue the marginalization of blacks by using the criminal justice system. In Michelle Alexander’s book “ The New Jim Crow”, she shows how America’s “ War on Drugs “ has become a tool of racial segregation and how the discretionary enforcement of drug laws has
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness was written by Michelle Alexander to expose the truth of racial injustice in the system of mass incarceration through the comparison of the racial control during the Jim Crow Era. She reveals how race plays an important role in the American Justice System. Alexander argues about the racial bias, particularly towards African-Americans, immanent in the war on drugs as a result of their lack of political power and how the Supreme Court tolerates this injustice.
Racism is a thing of the past, or is it? Michelle Alexander’s, “The New Jim Crow,” main focus is on mass incarceration and how it occurs in an era of color blindness. Alexander also focuses on the social oppressions that African Americans have suffered throughout the years, until now. In this essay, I will discuss how the system of control was constructed, Alexander’s compelling historical analysis, and if the current system would be easier to dismantle. I would like to start by delving into how the system of control was constructed.
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
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.
The book, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander is about the mass incarceration of African Americans in the criminal justice system. It depicts individuals who were arrested on drug crimes. Because these individuals are labeled as criminals, it becomes difficult for them to find work, housing, and public assistance. (Alexander, 2010) The themes in this book include denial and ignorance, racism and violence, and drugs.
The New Jim Crow is a book that discusses how legal practices and the American justice system are harming the African American community as a whole, and it argues that racism, though hidden, is still alive and well in our society because of these practices. In the book, Michelle Alexander, author and legal scholar, argues that legal policies against offenders have kept and continue to keep black men from becoming first class citizens, and she writes that by labeling them as “criminals,” the justice system and society in general is able to act with prejudice against them and subordinate black Americans who were previously incarcerated, on probation, or on parole, by limiting their access to services as a result of their ‘criminal status’ and therefore, further degrading their quality of life. The New Jim Crow urges readers to acknowledge the injustice and racial disparity of our criminal justice system so that this new, more covert form of racism in society can be stopped.
Michelle Alexander expresses in The New Jim Crow that blacks are being profiled and thus are being incarcerated or harassed more frequently than any other racial group in the United States. Although this statement is partially true, Alexander misses the fact that in recent years, other racial groups have been affected by the same unjust profiling done by authorities. Recently, overall police brutality and racial profiling has seen an increase in the United States population. Furthermore, unprovoked or inappropriate use of force by authorities has sparked conversation in America racial profiling and incarceration rates in the country. Due to this, claiming that Jim Crow laws or ideals continue to be present towards only one race is not appropriate according current circumstances. Despite vast evidence, Michelle Alexander’s contends racial profiling is specifically targeting young African Americans while data supports a massive increase in police brutality and jail populations in other racial groups as well. It is important to look at current incarceration rates throughout the entire country compared to overall ethnic makeup in order to effectively analyze the new Jim Crow in the United States.