Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The New Jim Crow: Introduction

Haley Scholars Fall 2013 Reading Groups 

"This book is not for everyone," Michelle Alexander writes in the preface to The New Jim Crow. "I have a specific audience in mind--people who care deeply about racial justice but who, for any number of reasons, do not yet magnitude of the crisis faced by communities of color as a result of mass incarceration."

At one point, Alexander notes, observers predicted that prisons might fade away. However, "far from fading away, it appears that prisons are here to stay. And despite the unprecedented levels of incarceration in the African American community, the civil rights community is oddly quiet" (9). She later notes her central position that "mass incarceration is, metaphorically, the New Jim Crow and that all those who care about social justice should fully commit themselves to dismantling this new racial caste system" (11).

Based on the topics that Alexander begins presenting in the introduction to make her case concerning the magnitude of the crisis, what drew your attention most? Why or how so?


Unknown said...

From the introduction, I took a very simple understanding from it. I inferred that the author was saying, never give up on something that gives you difficulties. Hence the creation of Stewart Wolf.

Nicholas M. said...

The fact that she mentioned "mass incarceration is, metaphorically the New Jim Crow." She makes it seem like the justice system is giving harsher punishments to African Americans just because they are African Americans.

Although, that may be true in some cases. The majority of crimes committed by African Americans are given "politically correct" punishment. If you get caught selling drugs, you do some jail time. It's as simple as that. It just so happens that the majority of individuals being caught are African Americans.

My advice to put an end to this "mass incarceration" of African Americans is for African Americans to not put themselves in situations that would cause them to deal with the justice system.

Jamal Sims said...

After reading the introduction I assumed that Alexander's focus was on the injustices encountered by African Americans. Examples the author used include voting rights, mass incarceration and racial inequality. I found this to draw my attention the most.

Joshua Jones said...

It was clear to me that the introduction was geared towards the problems that African Americans face. Throughout the intro the author showed some of the injustices such as voting rights, mass incarceration, and racial inequality.

Dj Sterling said...

The idea that "mass incarceration" is the New Jim Crow is what attracted my attention the most. I've never looked at incarceration to be a major factor of the racial issues that are still going on in America today. The way Alexander introduced her proposal intrigues me to see what details she brings out to back up her claim.

Robert F said...

The author is speaking of "mass incarceration" because she feels like African Americans are being target just because they are African Americans.

What I think is people who live below poverty tend to commit crime more often, therefore it is more vigilant in that area. At the same time the majority of those areas are predominantly African American because of where they were born. Most feel like they are just playing the cards they are dealt.

Most of the time it isn't their fault on where they were raised. People will always want to support themselves and possibly their family, even if that means breaking the rules. Nobody chooses to live in dangerous areas below the poverty level it just happens to be that way. Stuck in a never ending. Something new will have to be implemented if change is to be expected.

Terry T said...

I believe that Alexander makes some good points in the introduction about how the justice system is corrupt in that more African Americans are in prison. I agree that it seems African Americans are targeted more often than other races but I do not agree with her view of felons losing their rights. All felons, black or white, have lost some of their rights.

I don't believe the justice system was put into place just as a way to imprison African Americans. If African Americans are more sought out than other races then, yes, they will be the majority of felons.

There is no easy solution to the problem of "mass incarceration" because some crime must be committed for them to be sent to prison. As a society we should not try to change the justice system but to keep the crimes from being committed in the first place.

Wole Abraham said...

After I was able to read the Introduction the area of where she talked about "mass incarceration". I began to realize how much racial injustice is still present in our legal system. I truly feel that until our justice system is changed there is no real justice for African Americans.