The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander Essay

1334 Words 6 Pages
As Elie Wiesel once stated, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented” (“Elie Wiesel Quote”). Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow, which discusses criminal justice and its role in mass incarceration, promotes a similar idea regarding silence when America’s racial caste system needs to be ended; however, Alexander promotes times when silence would actually be better for “the tormented.” The role of silence and lack of silence in the criminal justice system both contribute to wrongly accused individuals and growing populations behind bars.
The first
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In this case, speaking up should not be feared; those under surveillance need to render the courage to stand up and tell police officers that they cannot unreasonably search belongings because these actions lead to unprovoked arrests and loss of fourth amendment rights.
Following through the process of the criminal justice system, after being stopped by police officers, many individuals remain innocent of committing any crime and walk away from the situation without further questions asked. However, at this point, silence is not the answer. Alexander notes regarding the unreasonable searches, “Hardly anyone files a complaint, because the last thing most people want to do after experiencing a frightening and intrusive encounter with the police is show up at the police station where the officer works and attract more attention to themselves” (Alexander 69). Therefore, these countless searches remain unheard of by many because the innocent are too scared to come forward and tell their stories. Perhaps if the silence is broken, word of mouth would prevent others from being unlawfully searched and arrested based on no suspicion. This is not the case though; nevertheless, it is known that “the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) trains police to conduct utterly unreasonable and discriminatory stops and searches” (Alexander 70). The use of such searches and methods to determine whom
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