Media and politician correlated the working white class against working African-Americans class causing cultural clashes. Politician Republican Bush Sr. used a racially driven ad of a black,escaped inmate killing a white woman against his opponent. From this image brought fear to the white voters and proved to be a successful tactic by the Republicans. With the War on Drugs rising so was the racial caste system of mass incarceration. “Sunshine gave way to darkness,and the Jim Crow system of segregation emerged-a system that put black people nearly back where they began,in a subordinate racial caste.
“(pg 20)We have things such as the no-knock warrants and the stop and frisk, the stop and frisk is conducted by police if they feel there is a suspicion or reason that you are carrying drugs, weapons or hiding something. This is all under the use of police discretion and that is where culture and race play a huge role because it’s all based on you and your looks.So because of that police are the first line into the criminal justice system In the book it mentions that whites and African – Americans use and buy the same amount of drugs but yet African – Americans are the ones being arrested, just because of their culture and skin color.Police determine who gets arrested, just like today you dont get a say. But back then police went to target hot spots, which are the poorer communities, where most drugs were held.As well not saying there isn’t activity in the rural suburbs but because they are more likely to be behind closed doors police are not in those areas as much as what some might call the “ghettos”.In the African American culture they are referred to live in the “ghettos” because that is where the lower income of the race lives.
Throughout history there has always been some way to use the color of someone’s skin or there culture to discriminate against them. It seems like there is no end to these racial caste systems, there was the Jim Crow, and now there is a new less formal Jim Crow focused on African American and Latino men. When prisoners are let free, they have very little money and often nowhere to sleep. Prisoners returning back “home” are typically the poorest of the poor, they are lacking the ability to pay for private housing and routinely denied public housing assistance. It is the type of assistance living which could provide some much needed stability and security in their lives. For them “going home” is more a figure of speech than a realistic option specifically for African-Americans. “Aside from ?guring out where to sleep, nothing is more worrisome for people leaving prison than ?guring out where to work.” (p.
145). This lack of opportunity and support is a major reason why people keep going back to jail and for the same offences. It’s like a vicious cycle that these people have to face over and over again.
Since they have no money, they go into selling drugs again to make a income.Then they get arrested, since the three-strike rule was inacted by Texas in 1974, other states since then have followed. These harsh laws result in more people being imprisoned for much longer sentences than needed. People can be locked up on charges as well that they are forced to plead guilty. This is the cycle of these cultural expectations is reinforced time and time again.The “birdcage” is a metaphor that Alexander uses to explain the life of ex-cons and parolees.
This metaphor explains how even though they are out of jail, they are still excluded from society and seen as second and third class citizens because of their culture and where they were found.However, they hold a person back from living an everyday life because of that. One example is, major thing that these ex-cons can’t do is live in assisted living situations. Without that option, and place to go,people are forced to live in inadequate housing in the ghetto. “Con?ned to ghetto areas and lacking political power, the African American poor are convenient targets….The enduring racial isolation of the ghetto poor has made them uniquely vulnerable in the War on Drugs. What happens to them does not directly a?ect – and is scarcely noticed by – the privileged beyond the ghetto’s invisible walls. Though white youth are more likely to use and carry drugs …it is here …that the drug war has been waged with greatest ferocity…Black and brown youth are the primary targets.
” (p. 122).In order for these ex-cons to live again they have to be able to make enough money to afford to live in a good house in a safe neighborhood, which many can not do. They are denied jobs every time because of the rights the employers have.However employers have the right to ask whether a job applicant has ever been to jail, as well has the right to refuse to hire them if they have.
It almost seems the only thing an ex-con or parolee can do is to go back to jail and repeat that cycle. “Once labeled a felon, the badge of inferiority remains with you for the rest of your life, relegating you to a permanent second-class status.” (p.
139). Ex-cons and parolees are stopped more often by the police and turned away by employers because they have been to jail. When a police officer passes an African American or a Latino man on the street, he often assumes that this man has been to jail before and will do a background check on them. If the police officer finds out that the person has been in jail, he can arrest them for a small misdemeanor. Then if this is a third arrest, the three-strike rule can apply in many states.
Examples of these vulnerable individuals are — single mothers or children in the foster care system—who, because of lack of resources and opportunities, have no option except to turn to crime in order to survive.By framing her argument in the context of the legacy of slavery, Alexander shows how African-American populations are particularly vulnerable to being caught in the criminal justice system through no fault of their own. Finally the book is not only concerned with the way in which non-criminals are mistaken for criminals because of racism; as well as cultural expectation.
It also seeks to change the way that criminals themselves are perceived and treated.Alexander argues: “Criminals, it turns out, are the one social group in America we have permission to hate. In ‘colorblind’ America, criminals are the new whipping boys.”(pg 141) Although there is evidence that many people who are either not guilty or barely guilty of serious crimes are incarcerated, it is also true that many incarcerated people have committed serious crimes. However, Alexander argues that this is not a reasonable excuse for the unjust and cruel way in which they are treated because of their expectations from their culture and how they were raised. The stigma of crime does not change the fact that criminals are people with human rights, and much of The New Jim Crow is dedicated to exposing the way in which these rights are violated in America.