Essay about The New Jim Crow : Mass Incarceration

1699 Words May 24th, 2015 null Page
Michelle Alexander presents three intriguing arguments in The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. First, American society is repeating the outrages of the early Jim Crow laws in the contemporary “Drug War”; second, our country has a widespread dilemma of increasing mass incarceration numbers, and, finally, modern “colorblind” era thwarts multitudes of people from understanding or acknowledging racist undertones that exist beneath the elevated rates of mass incarceration resulting from America’s “Drug War”. Michael M. Cohen, author of Jim Crow’s Drug War: Race, Coca Cola, and the Southern Origins of Drug Prohibition, supports Alexander’s assertion that institutions of slavery and Jim Crow seem to disappear but are reformed in relation to the political and social conditions of the time (Alexander, p.21). Cohen provides historical background that strengthens Alexander’s view that 19th century Southern Progressivism was instrumental in shaping contemporary U.S. public policy as well as moral judgements about drugs and people of color (p. 77). Alexander has “a specific audience in mind - people who care deeply about racial justice” but do not fully realize the crisis mass incarceration has wrought on communities of color (preface). Alexander asserts that current society’s “War on Drugs”, realized via reformed Jim Crow era political strategy, targets black men and legalizes law enforcement’s use of mass incarceration to preserve a racial caste system.…

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