The Role Of Racism In Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow

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In Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, she details the truth of America’s premeditated racial crimes against non-Whites who live in America. With a legacy of white supremacy, Alexander makes it clear that America started out with racism at its core, before democracy was even born. Furthermore, this racist hierarchal society thrives off of dehumanizing African people, based on skin color alone. In addition, by America emphasizing that whiteness is superior in regard to those labeled as ‘others’/non-Whites, it shows that they aren’t superior in general, white supremacy needs the ‘other’ to compare itself to, in order to feel superior, thus its whiteness can’t exist in its privileged state without the ‘other’. If there were no non-White people …show more content…
Alexander notes that while Black and White people were unifying under the elite White planter class in America around the time of Bacon’s rebellion, the aftermath of that rebellion showed that the elite planter class decided to halt such unity. They shifted gears, and stopped “their heavy reliance on indentured servants in favor of the importation of more black slaves” (Alexander 24). This shift also resulted in importing more enslaved Africans who weren’t familiar with the English language, since such enslaved Africans “would be far easier to control and far less likely to form alliances with poor whites” (Alexander 24). Likewise, poor whites were given special privileges for simply being white, which would in turn further friction between Black and White people who were economically disadvantaged, by having poor whites treat Black people as subhuman. The white privileges they gained, didn’t change their economic status, but they had an outlet to express their own frustration in life and feed into propaganda that it was all Black people’s fault to feel better about themselves. These actions and mindsets lead to the basis of chattel slavery being racist in nature in America, before any laws spewing about democracy were …show more content…
Black codes came into play, which ultimately forced Black people back onto the planation to work, if they were found jobless or simply wandering, White people would lock them up. Even as freed Black people made progress during the Reconstruction period, they were greeted with hate, the influence of black codes and Jim Crow/convict laws enforced segregation legally and inequality in every aspect of society. Alexander states “clearly, the purpose of the black codes in general and the vagrancy laws in particular was to establish another system of forced labor” (28). Many racially driven hate groups formed during the aftermath of the civil war and beyond, that still terrorizes Black people today. Eventually the Civil Rights Movement occurred during the early 1950’s and late 1960’s, in which many gains were made for Black people, and non-Black people seeking gains in that movement. As people united prior to chattel slavery being racial in nature, and unified across racial lines during the reconstruction period, they did the same during the Civil Rights Movement. Many efforts were made by oppressed people and some from the privileged class to unite for the betterment of humanity/society, but like slavery and Jim Crow laws, a new system was created to again oppress Black/poor people. Mass incarceration was the next step in

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