Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Oppression of African Americans

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The New Jim Crow
The New Jim Crow, written by Michelle Alexander, gives a brief history recount of the past caste systems that have oppressed African-Americans and proposes that today there is a new caste system. She suggests that today’s caste system is created by the U.S. criminal justice system by targeting black men and incarcerating them. In other words, she says that today’s racial caste is based on the mass incarceration of African-Americans.

She supports her claims by providing an abundant amount of evidence varying from Supreme Court decisions to legislation passed. She uses various court rulings to get her point across. Perhaps the most effective court decision she included was Clinton Drake’s case, a fifty-five-year-old African-American Vietnam veteran who was arrested for possession of marijuana. “Once released, Drake found he was forbidden by law from voting…”, Alexander says. This helps get Alexander’s point across in the way it lets us know the racism and injustice that exists in one of the branches of our federal government. She points out the extent to which African-Americans are oppressed and looked as less. She informs us that if you possess ten dollars of marijuana you can serve up to 20 years in jail, only of course if you’re an African-American. Even after accepting a plea bargain, Drake spent five years in jail and once released he found out he had bee stripped of his voting rights and in order to get them back he had to pay an incredible amount of money. This shows to what extent the government will go to keep the black man down.

In addition, Alexander informs us of operations directed by the DEA under the Reagan administration that have greatly affected the minorities, especially the African-Americans. Operation Pipeline trained officers to “use a minor traffic violation as a pretext to stop someone, how to lengthen a routine traffic stop and leverage it into a search for drugs, how to obtain consent from a reluctant motorist, an...
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