The New Jim Crow Essay

1052 Words Apr 13th, 2012 5 Pages
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 …show more content…
After getting the public support for his campaign, America saw an unprecedented rise in its incarceration rate, particularly among African Americans. The “ War on Drugs ” has had a disparate impact on the black community even though blacks and whites use drugs at approximately the same levels. This is achieved through a myriad of formal and informal practices. African-Americans are targeted and prosecuted at a much higher rate even though they are not statistically any likelier to abuse or sell drugs than the white population. The police have had a major role in how the effects of the drug war have been mostly concentrated in the black community. A major reason for this is because of the very nature of drug law enforcement. Normal crime involves an injured party or witness that reports it and asks for police action. In drug crime, both the buyer and seller have no interest in reporting the criminal activity and it is the responsibility of the police to actively search for violators. This allows police the discretionary power to decide in which communities they will search for drug activity and who they will apprehend. Even though the rates of drug abuse are similar in both the black and white communities, police have targeted black communities almost exclusively in their drug control efforts. The federal government has incentivized the drug related activities of local law enforcement through the disbursement of federal grants. The