Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The New Jim Crow: Chapter 5

Haley Scholars Fall 2013 Reading Groups

"The absence of black fathers from families across America is not simply a function of laziness, immaturity, or too much time watching Sports Center. Thousands of black men have disappeared into prisons and jails, locked away for drug crimes that are largely ignored when committed by whites" (180). --Michelle Alexander

In chapter 5 of The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander mentions unawareness and denials concerning the severity of the war on drugs for black people. She addressed how the system works "to trap African Americans in a virtual (and literal) cage" (185). She also described how the current system links to the past Jim Crow era with its legalized repressions, while noting the limits of the analogy.

Of the topics Alexander addressed in the chapter, what did you find most important? Why? Please identify the page number for the concept or idea that you cite. 


Jamal Sims said...

"We know that large numbers of black men have been locked in cages. in fact, it is precisely because we know that black and brown people are far more likely to be imprisoned that we, as a nation, haven not cared too much about it" (181). I found Alexander's idea that African American men who are incarcerated are not looked upon with care. This was profound and troubling to me because this is exactly what deters the advancement of Black men. I feel the depiction of black men is displayed in a negative way for younger generations.

Nicholas M. said...

Alexander's notion that the war on drugs has given birth to mass incarceration is what I found most compelling. In particular, how the whites are treated in comparison to the African Americans during the criminal justice process. "White drug offenders are rarely arrested, and when they are, they are treated more favorably at every stage of the criminal justice process" (189).

I think that whites should not deserve to be treated more favorably , when they commit the same crime as African Americans. A sense of equality in the justice system needs to be establish.

Robert F said...

I found in interesting that there are basically laws that make the discrimination legal. These laws favoring the incarceration of Blacks. The series of laws are in place look like they are especially directed towards Blacks. Even if they are not affected directly they are experiencing the ripples of history, proving that this country still hasn't moved on completely.

Wole A said...

When Alexander spoke on (180) about Obama's fathers day speech it struck me because its true. We as African Americans have become adjusted to what society places us all. So we have become our own prisoners and always limit ourselves to what society says we can do.

Terry Taborn said...

"The War on Drugs is the vehicle through which extraordinary numbers of black men are forced into the cage"(185). I found not only this statement compelling but the whole "How it Works" section (185-18). I think that because of the poor quality of our justice system some black men have been forced into a life of crime. One mistake could send a man to prison and it will follow him the rest of his life. With no job opportunities and already being labeled a convict, they are more likely to turn to crime to make money. What's worse is people know this happens and it is still going on. Changes have to be made now or the cycle will continue.

Dj Sterling said...

"It is simply taken for granted that, in cities like Baltimore and Chicago, the vast majority of young black men are currently under the control of the criminal justice system or branded criminals for life. This extraordinary circumstance--unheard of in the rest of the world--is treated here in America as a basic fact of life, as normal as separate water fountains were just a half century ago" (181).

I found this statement to be the most important one. For me, it is a scary thought to think that young black men being trapped in the criminal justice system has just become the "norm" just like separate water fountains used to be in the past. Alexander states on (180) "the clock has been turned back on racial progress in America, though scarcely anyone seems to notice." This statement is true and if nothing is done, our society will continue to stay stagnant and not move progressively.