The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander - Essay Example

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This paper aims to analyze Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness that looks at the problems faced by the Afro-American people living in the United States of America…
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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
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Download file to see previous pages In this book Alexander asks that, how, even after the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Bill, had the US government allowed such a brutal and merciless killing of the Blacks, for whom the government had earlier announced protection, thus involving sociological concepts such as racial and ethnic inequalities.
The policy of mass incarceration was enacted following a blatant historical presumption that black males who were poor were dangerous and they must be kept under control using conflicts and wars under the guise of drug control. This book places emphasis on the way in which African Americans face lesser opportunities and certain civil rights when they are freed from prison. The inmates return to a world which is actually unsupportive to their wants and needs and there is a complete suppression of the basic human rights, and so few survive and others return to where they were freed from, the prison. Very aptly quoted in the preface of the book were these lines by the author:
“This book is not for everyone. I have a specific audience in mind—people, who care deeply about racial justice but who, for any number of reasons, do not yet appreciate the magnitude of the crisis faced by communities of color as a result of mass incarceration.”
(Alexander, Preface).
Via the above lines she wishes to draw the attention of the American people and make them realize the enormity of the crisis. In the past, to establish an alliance and for purposes related to self interest the plantation owners used to maintain good relations with the poor whites and gave them certain facilities, while the blacks were duly sidelined. This has been termed in history as social bribing. Thus from this we can define race as certain common cultural characteristics that make individuals distinct from others while racism is a term which is defined by a person who believes in prejudice based on race, i.e. skin color tone etc. and believes in inferiority and superiority based on those. Racism has been present in America for a long time, and in this book Alexander puts forward the fact that how preconceived notions about blacks in America were wrong. She also points out how, based on those pre conceived notions and stereotypical thinking; the government had been depriving the Afro-American community of certain basic rights (Giddens, Dunier, Applebaum and Carr, 2010, pp 16-17). Empirical results show that African Americans were the majority of the inmates in Federal prison. Most of them were caught for minor offences, such as drug possession, rather than sales, which are comparatively a more grave matter of concern. The inmates have no such violent traits, under which grounds they had been imprisoned (Alexander, 2010, pp 131). Some facts which scream out the blatant truth can show what really had been happening in the US all this while in the name of reducing criminals. After so many years after the Civil War, studies show that in comparison to 1850, there is more number of African-Americans in jail today. Also in 2004, more African-American men were disenfranchised as per the laws, describing them as felons and hence robbing them of their basic fundamental rights. Many black fathers had been put in jail rendering the childhood of many young blacks devoid of a father. Similar to the Jim Crow era, a majority of African-American men have been tagged felons, and debarred form enjoying basic rights, such as right to vote, being ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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