The New Jim Crow

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In today’s modern world, many people would be surprised to find out that there is still a racial caste system in America. After witnessing the election of a black president, people have started believing that America has entered a post-racial society. This is both a patently false and dangerous mindset. The segregation and stigma of race is still very much alive in our society. Instead of a formalized institution such as slavery or Jim Crow, America has found a new way to continue the marginalization of blacks by using the criminal justice system. In Michelle Alexander’s book “ The New Jim Crow”, she shows how America’s “ War on Drugs “ has become a tool of racial segregation and how the discretionary enforcement of drug laws has resulted in an overwhelmingly negative affect on its black population.

In the early days of colonial America, slavery was not as common as we would think. The primary method of securing the cheap labor needed to work the land was through the indentured servitude of both blacks and whites. As plantations grew bigger and needed larger amounts of labor, slavery became the preferred means of obtaining cost-efficient labor and also helped drive a wedge between poor whites and their black counterparts. After the Civil War and the outlawing of slavery, Jim Crow laws were established to maintain the system of racial hierarchy. These laws helped to perpetuate the disenfranchisement of blacks in the South and was regarded by many as a fair and equitable settlement to the question of racial integration in America. African-Americans were not satisfied with this overtly hostile system that infringed on their civil rights and worked hard to abolish this system of racial control. After the success of the Civil Rights Movement, American conservatives had to come up with a new system of racial control that would have to achieve its goals covertly and thus, the “ War on Drugs “ was born. Using crack-cocaine as the poster-child for his new war, Ronald...
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