Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The New Jim Crow: Chapter 4

Haley Scholars Fall 2013 Reading Groups

"Today a criminal freed from prison has scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a freed slave or a black person living 'free' in Mississippi at the height of Jim Crow" (141). --Michelle Alexander

In chapter 4 of The New Jim Crow, Alexander focuses on the many challenges that people face once they have been released from prison. Clearly, things do not magically change for the better after release. In fact, as Alexander shows, a stigma remains and excessive denial of opportunities occur that sometimes far outweigh the wrongs committed.

What aspect of the chapter were you most interested in? Why?


NIcholas M. said...

I was most interested in life after prison. Specifically, Alexander's comparison of a freed criminal to a freed slave. I don't think it is fair for her to make that comparison. In my book, a freed slave is nothing like a freed criminal. A criminal once had rights and made bad choices, which results in punishment. If that means losing rights, then so be it. A freed slave never had an opportunity to have a level playing field, in terms of rights. Therefore, a freed salve can't possibly be compared to a freed criminal.

Jamal Sims said...

I believe Alexander was right on with her comparison of the freed slave and the freed prisoner. I found her statement to be profound because freed individuals have a significantly less chance of getting a job that actually pays well enough to live a comfortable life. In relation to a freed slave, these individuals are looked down upon, treated unfairly, and do not have equal opportunity.

Robert F said...

After an ex-offender gets out they are somewhat stigmatized by society and that does not only reflect off them as a person, it also reflects us. If you think about it, we, the rest of society are denying them jobs, extra funds, and many other opportunities because they are "ex-offenders". Society could do better by attempting to look at life from the ex-offenders point of view. They are trying to be human while the rest of society is trying to dehumanize them.

Terry Taborn said...

I can see how Alexander made the comparison between a freed slave and a freed convict in how each of them have limited rights but that is the only way in which they are the same. A freed slave would continue to live a life of fear. Being a free man did not mean a job or a place to live. A freed convict can find work somewhere, even if it is just fast food or a low level position somewhere. In the world we live in today government housing is available and other organizations to help people who are having trouble making ends meet. A slave who was in bondage their entire life has absolutely nothing, just the clothes on their back if any. It is sad that the convicts who were just at the wrong place at the wrong time have lesser rights but you have to remember that most of these people are actual criminals and deserving to not have as much of a voice in society.

Wole Abraham said...

The life of a freed prisoner is very similar. They both are looked down upon by society and are limited automatically on what they can do. I feel that Alexander really dug deep about this in the chapter and it was for sure the most interesting part.

Jeremy H said...

I was most interested in the history she gave as a prelude to how inmates are scrutinized for they're wrong doings because of the past. Fredrick Douglas fight for equality was one without society to help support him and this is the same for freed inmates now. They are looked down upon, seldom trusted and lack the equal right they've earned upon their release.
Jeremy H