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The New Jim Crow Era - Michelle Alexander
Transcript of The New Jim Crow Era - Michelle Alexander
The New Jim Crow Era - Michelle Alexander
Birth of Slavery
The concept of race is a relatively recent development.
In the early colonial period, indentured servitude was the dominant means of securing cheap labor.
Initially blacks who were brought to this country were not all enslaved, some were indentured servants.
The growing demand for labor on plantations was met through slavery.
American Indians were considered unsuitable slaves.
European immigrants were deemed poor candidates for slavery.
Thus, plantation owners viewed African's as ideal slaves.
African Americans were deprived of many rights and treated very poorly during slavery.
Death of Slavery
Federal Civil Rights legislation protecting newly freed slaves passed during the Reconstruction Era:
Civil Rights Act of 1866
Ku Klux Klan Acts
Unfortunately, many of the new civil rights laws were proving largely symbolic.
Birth of Jim Crow
Southern conservatives lad a "Redemption" campaign to "redeem" the South
"Mischief" and vagrancy laws lead to arbitrary arrests and a market for convict leasing.
Thirteen Amendment loophole:
slavery remained appropriate for punishment for a crime.
"The criminal justice system was strategically employed to force African Americans back into a system of extreme repression and control..." (32)
Segregation: "As long as poor whites directed their hatred and frustration against the black competitors, the planters were relieved of class hostility directed against them." (34)
"By the turn of the twentieth century, every state in the South had laws on the books that disenfranchised black and discriminated against them in virtually every sphere of life..
.schools, churches, housing, jobs, restrooms, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, orphanages, prisons, funeral homes, morgues, and cemeteries
....the new racial order (was) known as Jim Crow..." (35)
Death of Jim Crow
The end of Jim Crow is disputed, but some say it ended around 1945.
NAACP legal campaigns
Brown v. Board of Education
"The blatant contradiction between the country's opposition to the crimes of the Third Reich against European Jews and the continued existence of a racial caste system in the United States was proving embarrassing, severely damaging the nation's credibility as the leader of the "free world". " (p. 36)
Smith v. Allwright
, in 1944 ended the use of the all-white primary elections. 1946 got rid of segregation on buses. 1948 voided real estate agreements based that racially discriminated against buyers.
"The Civil Rights Act of1964 formally dismantled the Jim Crow system of discrimination in public accomodations, employment, voting, education and federally financed activities." (38)
"Genuine equality for black people, King reasoned, demanded a radical restructuring of society, one that would address the needs of the bllack and white poor throughout the country." (39)
Birth of Mass Incarceration
More black Americans are under the control of the U.S. Correctional System than were enslaved in 1850,
a decade before the civil war.-
The House I Live In
Labeling an individual as a criminal or felon allows
employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps, and exclusion from jury duty.
Clinton endorsed a "three strikes and you're out" law that mandated life sentences for third time offenders and authorized $16 billion for state prison expansions.
This resulted in the largest increase in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history
"More than 2 million people found themselves behind bars at the turn of the 21st century
, and millions more were relegated to the margins of mainstream society, banished to a political and social space not unlike Jim Crow where discrimination in employment, housing, and access to education was perfectly legal, and where they could be denied the right to vote" (p.58)
Civil Rights Movement
""law and order" was first mobilized in the late 1950s as Southern governors and law enforcement officials attempted to generate and mobilize white opposition to the Civil Rights Movement (40)
"from the mid-1950's until the late 1960s-- conservatives systematically and strategically linked opposition to civil rights legislation...
civil rights protests were frequently depicted as criminal
rather than political" (41)
"in the 1960s, crime rates rose in the United States... street crime quadrupled, and homicide rates nearly doubled...
reports were sensationalized and offered as further evidence of the breakdown
"Between autumn 1961 and the spring of 1963,
twenty thousand men, women, and children had been imprisoned
1964 Harlem riots (41)
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (39)
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (38)
1968 Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. (41)
War on Drugs
Richard Nixon wanted "Law and Order" to prevail over what he considered to be "
public enemy #1," illegal drugs. Nixon declared a War on Drugs.
During the Reagan administration, funding for law enforcement went up and the funding for agencies responsible for drug treatment drastically fell. (p. 50)
The Anti-Drug Abuse Act:
authorized public housing authorities to evict any tenant who allows any form of drug related criminal activity on or near the housing unit
eliminated student loans for drug offenders
expanded the death penalty for serious drug-related crimes
imposed mandatory minimum sentencing laws for drug offenses
"One Strike and You're Out" initiative
was the toughest admission and eviction policy that HUD has implemented this took place under the Clinton admin. (p.57)